Greek Stuffed Eggplant (Papoutsakia)

Greek

Greek Stuffed Eggplant (Papoutsakia)

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Prep

10 minutes

Cook

1 hour 30 minutes

Yield

4

This stuffed eggplant recipe is known as papoutsakia in a Greek kitchen and it's stuffed with delicious meat filling and topped with a creamy bechamel sauce. You'll love it!

This stuffed eggplant recipe is going to blow your mind. Technically it’s called Papoutsakia in Greece, and translated to “little shoes” because these eggplant halves are adorable when stuffed with the delicious meat and bechamel sauce. They are similar to Moussaka but these are more eggplant-heavy and are way easier to make.

Knife and fork cutting into Greek stuffed eggplant

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Greek Stuffed Eggplant

  • Quick Prep: This recipe only takes 10 minutes to prep, although the cooking time is longer, I promise that the end results will be worth it
  • Comforting: This traditional Greek dish is the ultimate comfort food and makes a perfect main course or side dish for the holiday season

🍲 Ingredients

Eggplant – Eggplants are full of nutrients and antioxidants. It is full of cancer-fighting properties, and can even help reduce your risk of other diseases too. It’s incredibly versatile. Add it to casseroles, pasta sauce, stir-fries, stews, or blend it into dips.

Spices – The spices are essential in this stuffed eggplant recipe. They add so much flavor and really bring the dish together.

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Ground Beef – Ground beef gives this eggplant dish a heartiness and a protein kick. If you aren’t a red-meat lover you can swap this out for your favorite ground meat or plant-based option

Side view of stuffed eggplant being cut into on a plate

👩‍🍳 How to Make Stuffed Eggplant

Prep the eggplants:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplants in half and skor the flesh diagonally.
  2. Season the eggplants with lots of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Place the eggplants on a parchment-lined baking sheet, flesh side down, and bake for 25-30 minutes until softened and golden brown – you can also test the doneness by piercing them with a fork and they should be fork tender.
  3. Set aside the flesh side up on the baking sheet. Scoop out the inside of each eggplant gently, leaving about 1/4-1/2 inch of flesh inside of each.

Make the meat sauce:

  1. While the eggplants are baking, make the meat sauce: Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the ground beef, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, and cook for about 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
  4. Stir in the garlic, spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dried basil, allspice) and bay leaves until incorporated. Next stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste, and water and bring to a boil. Once simmering, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Stir in shredded parmesan cheese at the end and set aside.

Make the bechamel:

  1. Whisk the 2 eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Make the bechamel by adding butter to a medium frying pan or pot over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until a paste forms.
  3. Stir in the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking constantly after each addition to make sure the sauce doesn’t get lumpy. Continue whisking and add in salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in whisked eggs, whisking quickly to combine and make sure the eggs don’t get lumpy. Put back on low heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, and continue whisking – the sauce should be smooth and sort of consistent with a cheese sauce. Set aside.

Bake the eggplants

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the eggplants back on the baking sheet. Divide the meat sauce between the eggplants and then spoon the bechamel sauce over each one.
  2. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until they are a bit golden brown around the edges.
  3. Remove from the oven and enjoy as a main dish with a side of our Greek salad or our homemade pitas
Knife and fork cutting into a stuffed eggplant

🪄 Tips and Tricks

  • Sauce: If you want to whip this up even quicker, use marinara sauce for your meat sauce
  • Eggplants: To cook the eggplants quicker, score them beforehand
  • Bechamel: If you don’t have time to make a bechamel, you can just crumble some feta cheese on top. Not AS good but still delicious


🗒 Substitutions

  • Meat: You can swap the ground beef in this stuffed eggplant recipe with another ground meat such as ground turkey, chicken, or a plant-based option. Ground lamb can be excellent as well
  • Tomatoes: You can use canned or fresh tomatoes in this recipe. Whatever is in season or you have on hand
  • Red Wine: If you don’t have a bottle of red wine open, you can use broth, red wine vinegar (use 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water so it’s not too vinegary), you can also use something like tomato juice in its place


🗒 Best served with

👝 How to Store Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

🤔 Common Questions

Is eggplant good for you?

Yes! It’s full of antioxidants like vitamins C and A, which help protect your cells. It’s also super versatile and can be added to so many recipes.

How to pick a ripe eggplant?

When looking at an eggplant, look at the stem and cap. You want to make sure both are green and fresh. If they are faded in color, that can mean it’s spoiled or on their way out.

Greek Stuffed Eggplant (Papoutsakia)

5 from 4 votes
This stuffed eggplant recipe is known as papoutsakia in a Greek kitchen and it's stuffed with delicious meat filling and topped with a creamy bechamel sauce. You'll love it!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Greek
Servings 4
Calories 553 kcal
I’m Your Mommy Now

Your Greek mommy that is. 😍 Step into my kitchen to learn how to make yummy Greek food. 🍽️💃

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium-sized eggplants

For the meatsauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion diced
  • 1 small carrot diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 450-500 g (1 lb) lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 oz can diced or whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded

For the bechamel

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Instructions
 

Prep the eggplants

  • Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplants in half and skor the flesh diagonally.
  • Season the eggplants with lots of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Place the egg plants on a parchment lined baking sheet, flesh side down and bake for 25-30 minutes until softened and golden brown – you can also test the doneness by piercing with a fork and they should be fork tender.
  • Set aside flesh side up on the baking sheet. Scoop out the inside of each eggplant gently, leaving about 1/4-1/2 inch of flesh inside of each.

Make the meatsauce

  • While the eggplants are baking, make the meatsauce: Add olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the ground beef, stirring occasionally to break up the meat and cook for about 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  • Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan. Cook it for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
  • Stir in the garlic, spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dried basil, all spice) and bay leaves until incorporated. Next stir in the diced or whole tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes crush them up a bit when added to the pot), sugar, tomato paste and water and bring to a boil. Once simmering, turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer with the lid on until the sauce has cooked down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir in shredded parmesan cheese at the end and set aside.

Make the bechamel.

  • Whisk the 2 eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Make the bechamel by adding butter to a medium frying pan or pot over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until a paste forms.
  • Stir in the milk in 1/2 cup increments, whisking constantly after each addition to make sure the sauce doesn’t get lumpy. Continue whisking and add in salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in whisked eggs, whisking quickly to combine and make sure the eggs don't get lumpy. Put back on low heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, continue whisking – the sauce should be smooth and sort of consistency of a cheese sauce. Set aside.

Bake the eggplants

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the eggplants back on the baking sheet. Divide the meatsauce between the eggplants and then spoon the bechamel sauce over each one.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until they are a bit golden brown around the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy as a main dish with a side of our Greek salad or our homemade pitas.

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.6g | Protein: 45.3g | Fat: 21.6g | Saturated Fat: 10.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8.2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 192.6mg | Sodium: 2011.1mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 24.8g
Review This Recipe Let us know how it was!
Christina Mentis

5 stars
I made this , this past Sunday. It was absolutely delicious! I’ve never made it before. What do you do with the scooped out eggplant? I added it to the meat mixture. Is that correct or should I have used the eggplant for another recipe?

Maria Koutsogiannis

You can do that! I usually just eat it with any leftover sauce and meat!!

Kim

what happens to the eggplant you have stopped out? you do not mention what to do with it…

Maria Koutsogiannis

It’s eaten with any leftover bechamel and meatsauce. I don’t waste food, thanks for asking and not assuming.

Jedidjah

5 stars
YUMMY! made this tonight and served it with some spanakorizo. made some changes to make it vegan, but it worked perfectly! this is definitely going in our dinner rotation!

Maria Koutsogiannis

awe bless you thank you so much hunnie

Deb Z

Hi Maria,
Can you veganize this? Bechamel sauce….flax eggs?

Maria Koutsogiannis

NO!!! Use my “How to Make Bechamel Sauce Recipe!” and my Vegan Meat Sauce! It will be PERFECT!

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