A modern twist on Lebanese stuffed eggplant, this 5-ingredient slow cooker meal of eggplant and beef is slowly simmered in a warm, cinnamon-spiced tomato sauce.
My Aunt Paula’s stuffed eggplant is one of my favorite Lebanese dishes of all time. We call it “Bitten Jen.” This is a humble yet satisfying dish. The eggplant is stuffed with the classic mixture of ground beef or lamb and rice.
If you’re familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine, you’ve likely seen this meat and rice combo used to stuff various vegetables. Our family enjoys kousa squash, cabbage and grape leaves.
Making vegetables the star of the show is a great way to stretch the food budget as well. Vegetables are also very nutritious. One pound of ground beef will go a lot further in vegetable-centric dishes than it would formed into burger patties.
I love to convert my favorite meals into slow cooker recipes. I do it with the purpose of saving time. My boys are 7 and 9 years old and constantly on the go – I need all the time savers I can get! But in many instances, I’ve found that slow cooking actually elevates the taste of the dish. The flavors have more time to develop.
That was certainly the case with this 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant. Any bitterness that might have existed in the eggplant is non-existant and cinnamon scented tomato sauce keeps the meat tender and delicious.
Nothing can replace my Aunt Paula’s stuffed eggplant but in the meantime, this will continue to be a weeknight favorite in our house.
Your fork is waiting.
5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant
- 1 large eggplant cut into large chunks (or 2 medium)
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes (low sodium)
- 3 tablespoons All Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend
- toasted pine nuts and minced parsley (optional garnish)
- Lebanese Rice Pilaf (to serve)
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
- Serve over Lebanese Rice Pilaf and sprinkle with fresh minced parsley.
Check out my Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes board!
44 thoughts on “5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef and Eggplant”
My goodness this was a fast and delicious recipe! I’m so mad I waited to make it :) We’ve been eating it with the toasted pine nuts and parsley, but no rice, though we will try it with the rice and maybe even just on some nice bread and call it Lebanese sloppy joes :D If you have an eggplant-hesitant person in your family, this is a great way to sneak it in!
hahah Lebanese Sloppy Joes – what a perfect name for it! Glad you enjoyed!
If I want to leave out the meat, could you use a butternut squash with the eggplant? Im assuming the time in the slow cooker would be less than?
Actually ground beef cooks faster than butternut squash so I would keep time the same. Yummy idea!
Do you think it would be possible to use a plant-based alternative to beef? Thank you
Just add your favorite veggies like green beans!
With three small kids, I rebranded this dish as “Christmas Tacos.” We enjoy the dish with chips or tortillas instead of rice. The consistency becomes something between sloppy joes and american chili. It’s always a hit with my tribe!
Oh my God CHRISTMAS TACOS!! YES!! Love that!
How would you make this wonderful sounding dish in a Instant Pot? I’m using the 8 qt size.
Thank you from another Michigander, Kathy
I’m actually not sure because i don’t use one – so sorry!
Hello, there! :) Is there another vegetable that will work well with this in lieu of the eggplant? Or, if I use the eggplant, is there anything special I need to do to it, such as peel it or something. I don’t have experience working with eggplant, so I want to make sure I’m not missing some basic know-how in how to use it!
I highly recommend using eggplant – no need to peel it, just trim the bottom and the top!! Cut in large chunks. Let me know how it turns out!!
I’m glad you included this in the top 15 roundup because I missed this when you originally posted it. Looks deeeelish Liz! Pinning and making tonight!
Oh my gosh Lauren it’s so good!! I hope you try it!!! So easy too!
I made this recipe last night, along with the Lebanese rice pilaf. This was delicious! The eggplants were so yummy cooked this way (I have a hard time cooking them usually). I mistakenly bought tomato puree instead of the crushed tomato, so my final product didn’t have the nice chunks at the end (like the photo) but still yummy. The parsley (even though I bought the wrong kind) and toasted pine nuts are a must – they add the savory touch, which balances out the cinnamon. Most of all, I just love how this recipe was simple and allowed me to try something ethnic and different from my normal dinners.
I am so glad you enjoyed this! We eat this all the time and my family loves it!
Hi! Question – did you ball up the beef when you put it in the crock pot or just crumble it throughout?
I crumbled it throughout but I bet either would work!!
I have this cooking in the crockpot right now & it smells delicious!!!! It is very similar to a Sheik il mishee, a Lebanese dish that I have baked in the oven. The only difference is we add dried mint to it while cooking. I did substitute ground turkey for the beef. Can’t wait to serve it for dinner. Might scoop it into cooked acorn squash “bowls” and serve it that way. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Love you site!
Oh your dinner sounds amazing!!! please let me know how it turned out Penny!
It was delicious & definitely will make it again!!!!! Thank you!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!
Do you brown the beef first on the stove?
Nope!! :) Nice and easy!
When you put the beef in the slow cooker do you ball it up or just crumble it up? Wasn’t sure and in the picture it looks like chunks. Please let me know. Can’t wait to try this recipe as we grew up on the stuffed version and this looks like a great deconstruction.
I break it up as I go!
I made this last night and it was easy and delicious!
So glad you enjoyed it Mary!
I love whipping out the slowcooker whenever I get the chance! This beef and eggplant look delicious!
You and me both girl!! Such a time saver!
Love the idea of using eggplant in the slow cooker. I have to try this out!
You’d love this one girl!!
This looks so delicious and full of flavor!!! YUM!!!
Time saver, and tasty…perfect!!
This recipe sounds delicious. I find it interesting that the slow cooker develops flavors. I understand why that’s possible, but I’ve had experience with several dishes that I tried in the slow cooker that came out absolutely awful, because those dishes apparently benefit from the evaporation of liquid. Corned beef and cabbage comes to mind, as does a Mexican brisket recipe I make. I already make a casserole with eggplant and ground beef and pasta sauce, but this recipe would be good for summer when I really don’t want to turn the oven on.
Yes that makes complete sense! Every dish is different but this type of slow cooked, stewed dish does really really well!
Just want to make sure, the recipe uses ground sirloin not stew meat. Is that correct?
Yes but either would work!!
I did not know how to initiate a comment, so I am just replying to this one. If I want to take out the meat entirely, what would be an appropriate substitute? Or should I just make another recipe entirely? I just discovered your website, and I cannot wait to try some of these meals! I love your focus on time-saving techniques.
Hi Kate! You could totally make this without the meat and it would be a delicious side dish or you could serve over quinoa or chickpeas? Let me know how it turns out! Thank you for your kind words – please let me know what other recipes you try!
Does it matter what type of eggplant you use Liz? Looks so good!
Not at all but I would just go with standard Italian if I had the choice! Thanks girl!
I bought all the ingredients for this recipe and the Lebanese rice pilaf tonight from our local Natural Foods Co-op. I’m so excited to try out these two recipes for Wednesday night. I LOVE this blog. So much good stuff – I’ve already learned so much since I discovered this blog a few days ago, not to mention I’ve made two recipes from this blog already.
Thank you so much that is so sweet of you! Let me know what other recipes you try Sally!