Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini and topped with Orange Pomegranate Salsa

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini is full of Turkish flavors and topped with an Orange Pomegranate Salsa. A simple and satisfying weeknight meal, this recipe comes from The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen cookbook.

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini and topped with Orange Pomegranate Salsa
Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini is full of Turkish flavors and topped with an Orange Pomegranate Salsa.

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini is topped with a bright Orange Pomegranate Salsa on black slate board.

You know when a recipe is a keeper when your family asks you, almost immediately, to make it again. And when again comes around, they repeat the request, without hesitation. I’m not going to beat around the bush today. After all, it’s Monday, and I’m guessing that you’re trying to figure out if this stuffed eggplant recipe is worth making.

The short answer is YES.

There’s a thing that I’ve noticed about family favorites — these recipes are the ones with soul, where the flavors just work together, and you can’t help but wonder if there’s a little extra ingredient called love that somehow gets poured in, that makes it magically delicious. I’ve found this soul with a Mediterranean twist in my friend Samantha Ferraro’s new cookbook, The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen — and I speak from the heart when I tell you her recipes are full of life and layers of flavor that truly reflect her heritage and upbringing. I can taste the influence of her travels, and her book is one you’ll want to cook from cover to cover. Between you and me, there aren’t that many cookbooks that excite me in that way.

The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen Cookbook

If you love eggplant as much as we do, I can’t urge you enough to add this Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini to your weeknight arsenal. Turkish flavors infuse the meat and eggplant with fragrant cumin and Aleppo pepper, creamy tahini binding it together into a what can only be described as comfort food. Ground beef makes it utterly rich, but I’ve also made it a few times using turkey, to see how that would fare, and to lighten it up a bit — it is still delicious, and I’ve added a few notes in the recipe below on that.

Orange Pomegranate Salsa in a bowl.

But what truly elevates the dish, is an orange and pomegranate salsa. While optional, the salsa adds so much brightness and crunch, I honestly feel that it is a must, and can be whipped up as the eggplant bakes in the oven. Quite honestly, this is a weeknight meal that will surprise you and one that you will crave again and again.

Just ask my family. They’ve already asked for me to make it again next week!

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini is full of Turkish flavors and topped with an Orange Pomegranate Salsa. A simple and satisfying weeknight meal, this recipe comes from The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen cookbook.

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini and topped with Orange Pomegranate Salsa
5 from 2 votes
Print This
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword eggplant
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 597 kcal

Ingredients

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini

  • 2 medium eggplants cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 medium-sized tomato seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (see notes below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Orange and Pomegranate Salsa for serving (optional, but highly recommended)
  • finely chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Orange and Pomegranate Salsa

  • 3 medium blood oranges (or substitute navel or cara cara oranges) peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped roasted beets cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 small serrano or fresno pepper seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or as needed

Instructions

Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  2. Using a small paring knife, cut the eggplant flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the inside of the eggplant. This will help hold the filling. Chop up the removed eggplant flesh and set aside.

  3. Drizzle a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until mostly cooked through. Make a space in the center of the pan and add the onions. Cook together until the onions are softened, another 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Add the chopped eggplant and garlic and cook everything together until the eggplant softens and the garlic is cooked. Use a large spoon to help break up the eggplant and meat so it becomes one homogenous mixture.

  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, Aleppo pepper, paprika, and salt and stir everything together. Taste for seasoning.

  6. Arrange the eggplant shells on a foil-lined baking sheet, stuff the meat mixture inside the eggplant and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the eggplants are cooked and deepened in color.

  7. Serve with tahini and top with orange pomegranate salsa and cilantro, if desired.

Orange Pomegranate Salsa

  1. Add the oranges, pomegranate, beets, pepper, garlic, honey, oil, cilantro, and salt to a bowl and stir to combine. Place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Weeknight Mediterranean Kitchen (Page Street Publishing, 2018) by Samantha Ferraro.

Liren's Notes:

This recipe is an absolute hit with my family and I've made it quite a number of times since the first cook. I love that it can also be made with ground turkey for a lighter option. If you choose to make it with ground turkey, do it with 1/2 breast and 1/2 thigh meat, and add a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce to give it a more beefy flavor.

Aleppo pepper is rich in flavor and about half as spicy as red pepper flakes. It can be challenging to find these days, so if you have trouble sourcing Aleppo pepper, substitute with 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or even cayenne pepper.

Samantha's Tip: When picking out an eggplant, look for the smaller, younger ones that are far less bitter and less seedy. Also, make sure the eggplant has a nice smooth outer skin with no visible dents or bruising.

Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Eggplant with Meat and Tahini
Amount Per Serving
Calories 597 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47g 72%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 592mg 25%
Potassium 703mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 26g 52%
Vitamin A 8.8%
Vitamin C 11.3%
Calcium 8.2%
Iron 24.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Comments

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  1. Linda

    I can see why this recipe is a keeper. It has all my favorites in one serving! And dinner can be done in 40 minutes. Yum!

    Reply
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