If you’re looking for a simple, delicious meal that’s packed with flavor, then you’ve found it! This Greek stuffed eggplant recipe (aka Melitzanes Papoutsakia) is an easy meal you can make any night of the week, and it’s great for meal-prep!
Why You’ll Love these Greek Stuffed Eggplants (Melitzanes Papoutsakia)
Extra juicy and absolutely delicious! This aubergine based traditional Greek recipe will certainly amaze you! ‘Melitzanes papoutsakia’ (Greek stuffed eggplant) is a Greek dish which receives its name from the resemblance of its shape with little shoes. The taste and the ingredients used for this ‘Papoutsakia’ recipe are very similar to the popular Greek dish moussaka.
This Greek stuffed eggplant recipe may be simple, but it’s not lacking in flavor! Packed with ground beef, fresh vegetables, herbs, spices, mashed potatoes, these homemade stuffed eggplants are a meal in themselves, but you can always serve with with a side salad or some roasted vegetables and some crusty bread!
This is a great meal to make because it can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd or to yield leftovers to enjoy as meal-prep ahead of a busy week!
Love eggplant? Take a look at my some of my favorite Greek eggplant recipes like: stuffed eggplants with mince (papoutsakia), Imam Bayildi, eggplant dip, pan-fried battered eggplants, and tagliatelle with eggplants and feta cheese.
- Eggplants — These are the star of this dish, so look for eggplants at your local grocery store or farmers market that are firm to the touch and a rich, dark purple. Avoid eggplants that are too soft or speckled with bad spots. Wash thoroughly before preparing this Greek stuffed eggplant recipe.
- Béchamel Sauce — This really elevates this stuffed eggplant recipe to the next level. It is optional, but highly recommended. If you love creamy homemade béchamel sauce, then I am sure you will fall in love with the traditional pastitsio, aka Greek lasagna!
- Red Wine — This helps to deglaze the skillet in which the vegetables and ground beef are cooked in, and it imparts a ton of delicious flavor. Just make sure to cook it for a couple minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
How To Make It
To prepare this delicious Greek stuffed eggplant dish (‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ recipe), the eggplants are first seasoned and baked until soft and sweet.
Then you proceed to make the tomato based meat sauce, just like you would for your typical spaghetti bolognese. Start by simmering the onions, adding the spices and the mince meat. Let the meat sizzle till golden brown, add the tomato sauce and let it simmer till it thickens.
Lastly you prepare the béchamel sauce. Melt some butter in a pan, add the flour and then slowly add the milk while whisking over low heat. When the béchamel sauce has thickened, add the egg yolks, nutmeg and salt and whisk. Then its time to assemble!
Layer your baked aubergines, add a couple of generous spoonfuls of the meat sauce, a generous spoonful of your bechamel and top with the grated cheese. Bake till golden brown. Delicious!
Store leftover Greek stuffed eggplant in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
We do not recommend freezing this dish, a the eggplant would fall apart after being frozen and thawed.
Variations and Substitutions
- One can find two variations of this traditional Greek recipe, which are both included. The most well known is the Greek stuffed eggplant recipe using béchamel sauce, while the other calls for creamy potato based puree for the topping. Both are delicious, so it’s up to you to decide!
- Make this recipe vegetarian by substituting the ground beef for other vegetables like diced sautéed mushrooms, carrots and celery. You could also substitute it with cooked lentils.
Topped with mashed potatoes and a creamy béchamel sauce, this Greek stuffed eggplant recipe is a meal in itself, but here are some side dishes that would pair nicely with it if you’re craving a little more or serving a crowd:
- Greek feta salad
- Crusty bread
- Greek-style Greek beans (Fasolakia)
- Greek mashed potatoes with garlic (skordalia)
- Grilled halloumi salad with roasted vegetables
- Greek spinach and feta pie (spanakopita)
- Greek lemon potatoes (patates lemonates)
- Lemony rice pilaf
- Briam (Greek ratatouille).
More Recipes To Try
- Greek Stuffed Peppers with Feta Cheese Recipe
- Greek Roast Chicken recipe (Kotopoulo sto fourno)
- Crispy Greek Fried Eggplant
- Vegetarian Moussaka Recipe with Mushroom Sauce
- Greek Meatballs Recipe (Keftedes)
So go ahead, give this traditional Greek stuffed eggplant recipe a try and amaze your friends and family with this tasty and hearty dish! And of course, don’t forget to let me know what you thought of it in the rating and comments below.
And you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Μελιτζάνες παπουτσάκια συνταγή!Print
Greek stuffed Eggplant recipe (Melitzanes Papoutsakia)
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 90 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: 7 portions 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Greek
This aubergine based traditional Greek dish will certainly amaze you! ‘Melitzanes papoutsakia’ (Greek stuffed eggplant) is a Greek recipe which receives its name from the resemblance of its shape with little shoes.
- 5 eggplants
- 500g minced beef (18 oz.)
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 glass of red wine
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes or tomato juice (passata)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp oregano
- 100g grated kefalotyri or any hard yellow cheese (3.5 oz.)
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2–3 tbsps chopped parsley
For the béchamel sauce
- 100g flour (3.5 ounces)
- 100g butter (3.5 ounces)
- 900ml milk (3 and 3/4 cups)
- 2 egg yolks
- a pinch of nutmeg
- salt to taste
For the mashed potatoes
- 4 large potatoes, boiled
- 50g milk (1.7 oz.)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 egg yolks
- To prepare these extra juicy shoe-shaped ‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ recipe, cut the eggplants in two pieces and carve them crosswise (the flesh). Season the eggplants and place them in a colander for about half an hour. Wash them with plenty of water and drain them on some kitchen paper.
- Preheat the oven at 200C. Season the eggplants with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place the eggplants (with the skin facing up) in a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Bake the eggplants for 40 minutes, until softened.
- In the meantime, prepare the meat sauce for the ‘papoutsakia’. Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Place a large pan on medium heat, add some olive oil and the onions and sauté, until softened. Stir in the garlic and sauté. Turn the heat up, add the minced beef breaking it up with your spoon and sauté. Deglaze with the red wine and wait 1-2 minutes to evaporate. Stir in the canned tomatoes, the cinnamon stick, a pinch of sugar, the oregano and season. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated. At the end, add 1-2 handfuls grated cheese and chopped parsley and stir.
- Prepare the béchamel sauce for the Greek stuffed eggplant. Use a large pan to melt some butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Remove the pan from the stove, stir in the egg yolks and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the eggs from turning an omelette! Season with salt to taste.
- If you choose to top these Greek stuffed eggplant dish with mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes in hot water for 10 -15 minutes, until soft. Add them in a food processor, along with the milk, butter, the egg yolks, freshly ground pepper and mix until smooth.
- Layer the eggplants at the bottom of a baking pan, with the skin down. Remove some of the flesh, to make room for the filling. Sprinkle the eggplants with some grated cheese and spoon the meat sauce on top of each piece. Top with the béchamel sauce or mashed potatoes and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake the ‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ at 180C for 20 minutes, until nicely coloured.
- Serve this delicious Greek stuffed eggplant dish as a starter or main dish with a nice Greek salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 portion
- Calories: 559kcal
- Sugar: 26.3g
- Sodium: 866.8mg
- Fat: 24.2g
- Saturated Fat: 12g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10.7g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 52g
- Fiber: 14.9g
- Protein: 34.8g
- Cholesterol: 139.1mg
Keywords: Melitzanes Papoutsakia recipe, Greek Eggplant dish, Greek stuffed Eggplant
How many egg yolks ?
Its 2 – I have updated the ingredients list for you. Enjoy 🙂
Thanks for your reply ! Will be trying them tomorrow.
Best of luck! Let me know how it went 🙂
This looks AMAZING and i will be making it ASAP.
Thanks for posting! I enjoy your site very much! I’ve made your chicken Gyros (used the pork marinade) with tzatziki sauce, twice and it was a huge hit for both of my dinner parties. I am making them again for a birthday dinner for our daughter. We are addicted to them! Can’t wait to make more of your recipes.
Hi Tracy, thank you for your great feedback and so glad that you are enjoying them as much as I do! Hope you find many more to try with your friends and family! And don’t forget to spread the word around, it’s what keeps us going
I made the melitzanes papoutsakia recipe with the potato topping and everyone loved it ! They were gone before I knew it ! Thanks for the recipe !
Hi Julie, thank you for the great feedback! Hope you find many more recipes that you like and dont forget to share with your friends and family 🙂
Hi, I’m considering trying to make this for one, me of course ;), and would like to know the size of canned tomatoes called for. Also, could it be made in a toaster oven?
The canned tomato is the standard supermarket tin size (about 400grams). I would not think that a toaster oven would be sufficient to make this, as the aubergine needs heat all around it to bake it throughout but it all depends on your particular oven. If you can control its temperature and it has a door in the front to shut the heat inside then it should be OK.
Hi again, I forgot to ask, can it be frozen? Thank you
Hi there! Yes you can freeze it, at step 6, before the last round of baking, i.e. bake the aubergines as in step 2, assemble the dish as step 3-4-5 and after sprinkling the béchamel and cheese on step 6 you can freeze them in a tupperware box. Once frozen, you can reheat at 180C for about 40 minutes (20 minutes to defrost and another 20 mins to bake).
♥ Thank you. When the Greek Food Festival is over on Sunday this will be what I make but for now I will let them do the cooking!
Love and light
Why would you season the eggplant and then wash the seasoning off of it and then season it again?
Salting eggplants and letting the water drain out is common in Mediterranean cooking to get rid of the bitterness in the skins. Modern scientific research shows that salting the eggplant is not actually removing most of the bitter compounds, but the added salt at least decreases the human tongue’s perception of bitterness, very much like how adding a little bit of salt to bad coffee improves the taste.
It’s one of those cases where tradition makes a lot of sense, but for all the wrong reasons 😉
Try using wholemeal flour to fry the eggplants as I found they do not absorbs the frying oil as much
Thank you thank you thank you. When I read your recipes I think of my mama & my childhood. Thank you.
Thanks for this recipe! An idea for the ‘ leftover’ aubergine flesh: make melitzanosalata, a Greek aubergine dip. It’s very easy: chop the flesh very finely and put it in a bowl. Add salt and pepper, a bit of finely grated garlic, some lemon juice, chopped parsley, a splash of (kalamata) olive oil and mix it togerther. What I like to do is to add some crumbled feta cheese as well. Serve at room temperature as a side dish with some fresh bread (e.g. ciabatta). Enjoy 🙂
Kali Orexi from Holland
My mom would use cheese instead of a bechamel sauce. I did, too, mixing about 6 oz. grated swiss and marble cheeses with the 2 egg yolk and 1-2 tbsps. butter instead–quicker to do, too. I put the egg whites in the meat sauce towards the end before putting in the oven and covering with cheese. My mom would do, too, for Mousaka. 3 of the 4 of us loved it! Another reason I decided to do the cheese topping was so I could avoid wheat. Too much bothers me now after 40.
I made this recipe quite a few times, i want to know if I can freeze it after it has been fully cooked?
Yes you can! When you want to consume it, just thaw the night before in the fridge and then reheat in the oven at 180C – 350F for 30 minutes or so, until its warm throughout.
How big can the eggplants be? I have 2 medium and 2 very very large ones
This recipe was superb! We often get so bogged down with our same-old recipes, and this made such a wonderful change. The recipe tolerated a few tweaks really well to accommodate available ingredients, and it came out exactly as advertised! Thank you!
I’m confused how 5 eggplants halved result in 7 servings. What am I missing? Can’t wait to try though!