Stuffed eggplant makes for a wonderfully healthy and filling meal complete with a lovely presentation. My stuffed eggplant recipe is ultra flavorful, prepared with lots of fragrant spices, then filled with lean ground beef, basmati rice, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of spicy garlic tahini sauce!
Eggplant, The Perfect Piece of Produce to Stuff
Eggplant is one of my all-time favorite pieces of produce to cook with. I've always thought of it as a vegetable, since it's typically used in savory dishes, but here's an interesting little fact: eggplant is a part of the nightshade family, and actually considered a fruit—go figure!
When it comes to eggplant, I love to cut it into chunks and drizzle it with a touch of olive oil, plus some herbs and spices, and caramelize until charred and soft (perhaps with some tomatoes) to make a chutney fit for this delicious spiced Moroccan chicken wrap.
I also love eggplant sliced, breaded and lightly fried for use in eggplant parmesan, or even gently stewed with lots of colorful vegetables and olive oil for this savory ratatouille, perfect with crusty bread.
But one of my all-time favorite ways to enjoy eggplant is as stuffed eggplant, filled with lots of warming spices, lean ground beef plus basmati rice, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs, all drizzled with a super flavorful spicy tahini sauce—absolutely mouthwatering!
My Recipe for Stuffed Eggplant with Garlic Tahini Sauce
Part of the joy of preparing a recipe like stuffed eggplant is that the sky's the limit when it comes to ingredients.
You can go completely vegetarian, or you can add a little of your favorite ground meat. I like ground beef, but ground chicken or turkey works terrifically, even ground lamb.
And it's up to you whether you'd prefer to use rice, quinoa, farro, barely, or another type of grain as part of the filling.
Mixing and matching filling ingredients for your stuffed eggplant is the fun and creative part. And for me, I love the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine (the warm spices and other interesting ingredients like tahini), so I created my recipe for stuffed eggplant with that flavor profile in mind.
For my stuffed eggplant recipe here, I'm sprinkling in some warm spices such as ground cumin, coriander, a pinch of cinnamon, plus paprika for color and kick. I'm also adding to the mixture some chopped cherry tomatoes for juiciness, and fresh herbs like mint and parsley for a fresh note.
And since stuffed eggplant can always benefit from a delicious sauce drizzled over top to tie the flavors together, I used a little of that tahini to create a savory and spicy garlic tahini sauce with a kiss of lemon.
Here's a sneak peek at my stuffed eggplant recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my spicy garlic tahini sauce and set that aside.
- Next, I season and roast my prepared eggplant until tender.
- While the eggplants roast, I prep my filling.
- Once the eggplant has roasted, I place the eggplant onto a serving plate, spoon equal portions of the savory filling into each hollowed out cavity of the eggplant, and drizzle generously with the spicy garlic tahini sauce.
- I garnish with extra herbs before serving.
by Ingrid Beer
This warming stuffed eggplant is filled with basmati rice, lean ground beef, tomatoes, herbs, plus a spicy garlic tahini sauce!
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 524 calories per serving
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Stuffed Eggplant Ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 eggplants, cut in half length-wise and center scooped out leaving about 1” border all around
- Olive oil (about 4 tablespoons, divided use)
- Black pepper
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- ½ pound lean ground beef (or turkey, chicken, lamb, or sausage)
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 ½ cups cooked basmati rice
- ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves, plus a couple extra leaves for garnish
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped pistachios (optional)
Spicy Garlic Tahini Sauce Ingredients:
- ½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons tahini paste
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or your desired amount)
- 3 tablespoons water
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your spicy garlic tahini sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Preheat the oven to 400°, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To prepare your garlic tahini sauce, adding all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a dish, and set aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Next, gather and prep all of your stuffed eggplant ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- In a small ramekin, combine the paprika, coriander, cumin and cinnamon, and set this aside this seasoning mix for a moment.
- Place the four eggplant halves, flesh-side up, onto the baking sheet, and drizzle about 3 tablespoons of oil (total) over the flesh side of the cut eggplant, and sprinkle over about ⅓ of the seasoning mix from your ramekin, plus a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper.
- Place into the oven to roast until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 35 minutes.
- While your eggplant is roasting, prepare your filling by placing a pan over medium-high heat, and drizzling in about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once hot, add in the diced onion and saute for a few minutes until tender, then crumble in the ground beef and cook that for a few minutes with the onion.
- Add in the remainder of the seasoning mix, along with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper, the garlic and the red pepper flakes (if using), and continue to cook until the meat is cooked through.
- Add into this ground beef mixture the cooked rice, the chopped cherry tomatoes, the chopped parsley and mint, plus the pistachios (if using), and fold together to combine. Keep warm.
- Once the eggplant is tender, fill each roasted eggplant cavity with generous, equal portions of the warm filling, and place onto a plate. Drizzle over some of the spicy garlic tahini sauce, and garnish with extra mint or parsley, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for my Stuffed Eggplant recipe:
- What kind of eggplant to use: Use traditional eggplant for this, and look for ones that are medium-large and rather longer than rounder. Traditional eggplant are easier to scoop and fill, and make for a pretty presentation.
- Choose your protein: Ground beef is my choice for this, but feel free to use turkey, chicken, spicy or sweet sausage, or even ground lamb, another great option.
- Vegetarian stuffed eggplant: Feel free to leave out the meat completely if you'd prefer to go the vegetarian route. You could also sub tempeh or ground soy.
- Other filling options for stuffed eggplant: I use basmati rice for my filling, but you could also use brown rice, quinoa, barley, or couscous, anything that you prefer!
- Where to find tahini: Tahini is a sesame paste used in middle eastern cuisine, similar in consistency to almond or peanut butter, and is typically found with those nut butters. But if you can't find it, just leave it out and the sauce will still be super flavorful.
Hungry for more delicious recipe such as this one? Check out my Stuffed Acorn Squash, my Ratatouille, my Grilled Eggplant Parmesan, my Warm Eggplant Dip with Yogurt, or my Spicy Chickpea Stew with Eggplant!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with even more love!