Ground lamb is perfect for a stuffed eggplant recipe. Slightly gamey lamb is mellowed some by the rich silky eggplant.
Smoked paprika and fresh herbs add ample flavor for a rather simple dish.
This stuffed eggplant recipe was born out of those conversations with some of my forward-thinking foodie friends about expanding the definition of soul food or at least get soulfoodies to be open to different ingredients.
To be free, I had to throw on some Digable Planets, and cooked this stuffed eggplant to this "Escapism" chorus...
"Get free, get free ya'll
Funk is you, funk is me, funk is us, funk is free
I think every mom and dad should say to their kids
K-k-kids be free
Be whoever you are and do whatever you wanna do"
STUFFED EGGPLANT INGREDIENTS
- Ground Lamb
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Cloves
- Red Bell Pepper
- Fire-roasted Tomatoes
- Kosher Salt
- Smoked Paprika
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Oregano
Prepare the eggplant by cutting it in half lengthwise. Score the flesh using a sharp knife but cutting a criss-cross pattern in each half.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the eggplant generously with olive oil and season with salt. Arrange each in a single layer in an ovenproof dish then roast 30 minutes until the flesh has softened all the way through. Set aside.
While the eggplant is roasted, prepare the ground lamb. Season the lamb with salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a heavy skillet. Add the ground meat and brown. Remove the cooked ground lamb to a paper-towel-lined bowl, set aside, and clean the skillet.
Stuffed Eggplant Serving Suggestions
You can enjoy this as a one-dish main entree. It's filling so I prefer to serve with a few lighter sides or salads like:
Expert Cooking Tips For Lamb Stuffed Eggplant
The actual recipe is a simple one. It's just a riff on stuffed peppers. The only real difference is in the prep of the eggplant. Whereas peppers are hollow but firm, with eggplant you are essentially removing the flesh which holds it intact.
- In order for it to act as a vessel for the stuffing, a layer of the flesh has to be left behind to maintain the necessary firmness.
- Removing the flesh can be a little tricky so carving the flesh in criss-cross fashion makes it easier to remove. Going heavy on the olive oil helps also.
- The skin is edible
- Be flexible with the ingredients. Don't feel married to ground lamb, as other meats work just as good. Same holds true for vegetables
- Use traditional eggplant for this recipe that are longer than round.
For similar recipes you might like try these:
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- 2 large eggplant halved lengthwise
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 12 oz can fire posted tomatoes
- ¾ lbs ground lamb
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 lemon thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano finely chopped
- Cut a line ¼ inch in from the edges of the eggplant halves, then score the flesh inside with a criss-cross pattern.
- Rub plenty of olive oil over the eggplant and season with salt. Arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Cook in preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the flesh has softened. Set aside leaving eggplant in the dish.
- Season ground lamb with salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat oil in heavy skillet and brown the ground lamb. Remove lamb to a paper towel lined bowl, set aside and clean the skillet.
- Heat oil in the cleaned heavy skillet, then add the onions, peppers and garlic, and saute over low heat 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat and add the tomatoes. Cook until the juices from the tomatoes have reduced some, then add salt and pepper to taste. Add the parsley and oregano to the onion/tomato mixture, then add the sugar.
- Scoop some of the flesh from the middle of the eggplant, leaving a shell around the outside to help hold the eggplant base in shape. Chop the scooped out section and add to the tomato mixture. Add the ground lamb and mix well. Pile the mixture into each of the four eggplant shells and sprinkle with additional black pepper and paprika. Arrange lemon slices on top. Add some additional olive on top and then dose with about ¼ cup of water.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes until soft. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve sprinkled with any leftover parsley and oregano.