Stuffed Eggplant

James Beard

Author and Educator

“Hollowed out, stuffed, and baked vegetables represent one of the best ways to use up leftovers—cold meat, cooked rice or other grains, a few mushrooms, some bread crumbs, whatever you have around. Half the fun is making up your own combinations. Good stuffing candidates include; zucchini, green peppers, onions and tomatoes. When baking eggplant or zucchini, there should be some water in the dish to create steam and keep the shells soft.” –James Beard


  • 4 medium eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked rice or cooked cracked wheat
  • 1 1/2 cup ground cold lamb
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs


Halve the eggplants lengthwise and cut around the inside with a sharp knife or a grapefruit knife, about 3/8 inch from the skin, then scoop out the pulp with a spoon, leaving a 3/8-inch layer around the sides and bottom of the shell. Chop the pulp and set aside.

Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until limp and golden. Add the eggplant pulp and sauté for 5 minutes, until it has cooked down and some of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the rice or cracked wheat, lamb, parsley, nuts, tomato paste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend well, stir in the beaten eggs, and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Fill the eggplant shells with this mixture. Spoon a little of the remaining oil over the filling and sprinkle the tops with the bread crumbs. Arrange the stuffed shell in a large baking dish or pan and add 1/2-inch hot water.

Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven. If the stuffing seems to be getting too dry on top—it should be brown but not too crisp—baste it with a little oil or with melted butter. Serve one half eggplant as a first course or 2 halves as a dinner main course.


4 to 8 servings