Saturday, July 6, 2024



Individually sized, about 8 ounces each.

The little garden just keeps coming. Now it’s eggplant. My go-to dish for using eggplant is pisto, a summer vegetable stew (recipe for pisto is here ). But these eggplants are so perfectly sized, I can’t resist stuffing them. 

This stuffing is with meat, which could be ground beef, pork, lamb, chicken or a combination of any of them. For a vegetarian version, substitute well-drained cooked lentils for the ground meat.  

Pre-cook the eggplant shells in the microwave. Finish the stuffed shells under the broiler.

Serve the stuffed eggplants hot, room temperature or chilled.

Stuffed Eggplants
Berenjenas Rellenas

You can cook the eggplants in a microwave (about 4 minutes) or bake them in a 350ºF oven until soft, about 30 minutes. That can be done in advance. You need a simple béchamel sauce to nap the eggplants. That, too, can be made in advance. Once stuffed and ready, the eggplants need only 5 to 10 minutes under the broiler to gratin the tops. 

Use any ground meat--beef, pork, lamb, chicken or a combination of two of them. The grated zucchini is optional; it helps keep the stuffing mixture moist (and uses up a surplus of garden zucchini).

Score the eggplant and microwave.
Serves 8 as a starter or 4 as a main dish.

4 eggplants, each about 8 ounces
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 pound ground meat
½ cup grated zucchini (optional)
¼ cup white wine
1 cup grated tomato pulp (2 medium tomatoes)
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Béchamel sauce (recipe follows)
Thinly sliced tomato
½ cup grated cheese
Basil sprigs to garnish

Remove the calyx (spiny leaves) from the eggplants, leaving the stem. Cut them in half lengthwise, cutting through the stem. Place them cut-side down on a plate and cover them with plastic wrap. Microwave on High for 4 minutes. Leave the eggplants in the microwave a few minutes more. They should be soft when tested with a skewer. Remove and let them drain cut-side down in a colander. Repeat with remaining eggplants

Scoop out flesh with a spoon.

When eggplants are cool enough to handle, use a spoon or melon ball cutter to scoop out the flesh, leaving a shell. Chop the flesh and set aside. Leave the shells in a colander to drain.

Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onions and garlics until softened. Add the ground meat and fry until it loses its pink color. Add the grated zucchini, if using, and the chopped eggplant. Cook 2 minutes. Add the wine and tomato pulp. Season with salt, pepper, and chopped basil. Cook 20 minutes until all the liquid is cooked away. Stir in the parsley.

Spread béchamel over stuffing, top with cheese.
Place the eggplant shells in a single layer on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Spoon the meat filling into the shells and press it down firmly. Spread a layer of béchamel sauce on top of the eggplants. Press a tomato slice into each of them. Cover the eggplants with grated cheese.

Preheat broiler (gratin/grill) to 450ºF.

Place the eggplants under the broiler until the béchamel is bubbly and cheese lightly browned. Serve hot or room temperature. Garnish the eggplant with sprigs of basil.

Olive Oil Béchamel Sauce 
Salsa Bechamel

Use this easy sauce to nap the stuffed eggplants or any food that you intend to gratin. 

The sauce can be made in advance of the stuffed eggplants. Cover the surface of the sauce with plastic film so it doesn’t form a crust. If necessary, heat it 30 seconds in a microwave to loosen the sauce enough to spread easily.

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon smoked pimentón (paprika)
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook it, stirring, on low for 2 minutes. Stir in the pimentón. Whisk in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and thickened, 5 minutes. Season with salt. 

More ways to stuff an eggplant:


  1. On our trip to Spain in March, wife had a great salad of grilled eggplant, figs, sun dried tomatoes, and burrata cheese. That's one we'll try at home, when our farm market has eggplants.

    1. David: Eggplant with figs! I think I will try that too.

  2. This looks delicious. Sadly, I'm not gowing berenjenas this year, so I'll have to go out and buy some!