I grew up an Italian household and stuffed eggplants were one of my favourite dishes growing up. As part of our ‘special occasion’ menu or as a side dish to a simple pasta meal, whenever my mother made her stuffed eggplants, you were quick to take your share before they were all gone. I remember they also worked great as a make-ahead dish or as a leftover the next day (if they ever made it there).
My late mother’s recipe is nowhere to be found so I decided to tap into my taste memory and try to recreate her traditional Italian recipe. As I started to recreate the recipe, I approached it like a traditional Bolognese. I wanted those rich flavours paired with the silky roasted eggplant – I thought the combination would be magical, and that’s exactly the result I got from it. Pure decadence, if I may use that word to describe a savoury dish, that’s what I feel when I eat these stuffed eggplants.
We have this dish as our main course, served with soup or salad, but it is also great as a side dish, too. I’ve even tossed the leftover filling into a pasta to act as a Bolognese-ey, eggplant-ey sauce – it is magically delicious!
I was paired up with a fellow food blogger, Fareen over at Food Mamma for the Rethink Beef Global Recipe Swap. I got her recipe for Mayai Mani (a Beef and Egg Casserole dish). This recipe was right off the bat, perfect for me and my family because we absolutely love eggs on anything. Also, the ingredients were all really accessible, and most we already had on hand already – making this a perfect last-minute dinner recipe! The egg yolk mixed with the rich spices and the beef was magical. My family ate it with some fresh naan bread, and we couldn’t stop dipping and eating it! I’ve put Fareen’s recipe for Mayai Mani below – you must try it!
Makes 10 small or 6 large stuffed eggplants. Serves 10-12 people
5 small (or 3 large) globe eggplants
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper Filling
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb Canadian ground beef
Roasted eggplant flesh
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup mozzarella, grated
Basil leaves, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Carefully cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, score the flesh of the eggplant with deep diagonal cuts, about one inch apart, being careful not to cut through the skin of the eggplant. Place the eggplant halves flesh-side up on a parchment–lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the eggplant halves in a preheated oven and roast for about 30-40 minutes (larger eggplants will take closer to 40 minutes). Roast until the skin of the eggplant looks collapsed and puckered and the eggplant flesh no longer looks spongy (you can use fork to check). Also, leave your oven on, you will need it for the next step.
Let the eggplants cool for 10 minutes and then use a spoon to scoop out the roasted eggplant flesh. Put the flesh into a sieve set over a bowl to drain any excess water, being sure to leave the skin of the eggplant in-tact (the eggplant shells will hold the filling). Set the eggplant skin aside on the parchment-lined baking sheet while you make your filling.
Chop onions, pepper and garlic and set aside. Heat a large, deep skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil to the skillet. Add onions, pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and break apart with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the filling until the beef is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate throughout filling. Next, add the drained eggplant flesh and fold it into the ground beef mixture, using your spatula to break apart any larger chunks. Fold in Italian breadcrumbs and then freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to incorporate into the filling. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
Remove the skillet from the burner and using a spoon, carefully spoon the filling into the eggplant skins until all of the filling is used up. Distribute the grated mozzarella evenly over the stuffed eggplants and bake in a 400 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven until the cheese is melted and slightly golden, about 6 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with freshly torn basil leaves.
Cook the ground beef on medium heat. When the meat is half cooked, add the onions and tomatoes. Add the spices and continue cooking until the meat is completely cooked and all the water has evaporated. Add lemon juice and salt. Add a handful of chopped cilantro to the ground beef. Once you have a dry mixture, take the meat off the heat.
Grease an 8” x 8” dish.
Beat one egg and pour half of it on the bottom of the dish.
Add the ground beef mixture.
Make four indentations and add one egg into each depression.
Pour the remaining egg mixture on top.
Sprinkle with dried parsley and paprika.
Cook the casserole at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the eggs have cooked.
I am a mom, wife and self-proclaimed renegade as well as a digital content producer with a specialization in food media. My love for food has blossomed into National television appearances and my little passion project, Daily Tiramisu! My passion for food stems from the creative process of taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary! I hope you enjoy how my ideas have become fun and easy dishes for you all to create in your own kitchens -- Want to read more about me? Click ABOUT in the menu!
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