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Lebanese Baked Eggplant With Beef

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A healthier version of the popular Lebanese baked eggplant dish that is full of flavor thanks to toasted pine nuts, cinnamon, and tender eggplant.

Lebanese baked eggplant with beef.

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. I eat it almost every week, especially in the Summer when it is so readily available. Sauteed with soy and ginger, grilled with olive oil and herbs, or roasted with peppers and tomatoes – it is extremely versatile, very affordable, and highly nutritious. A traditional Lebanese eggplant recipe is made with ground lamb and rendered butter, but in an effort to reduce calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, I have created a healthier version that still hits the spot: my Lebanese Baked Eggplant with Beef.

Ingredients

  • Eggplant: Spongy and mild in flavor, it’s great at absorbing the other flavors around it.
  • Olive oil: A heart healthy oil that’s great for roasting and cooking.
  • Pine nuts: Sweet, nutty flavor that is greatly enhanced by roasting.
  • Ground beef: Either chuck or sirloin will work, I prefer sirloin for the lower fat content.
  • Warm spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are commonly used in beef dishes in Lebanese cuisine as they add a delicious warmth to the food, as well as great antioxidants.
  • Onion: I use a white onion, as it’s mild in flavor and caramelizes nicely to sweeten the flavor.
  • Chicken broth: With the crushed tomatoes, it adds flavor and moisture to the sauce of the dish.
  • Crushed tomatoes: Paired with the warm spices, it creates a classic tomato sauce of Lebanese food.

How to Make Baked Eggplant with Beef

Liz cutting eggplant

Prepare for your Lebanese baked eggplant by slicing your eggplant into discs and dicing your onion.

Drizzling eggplant with olive oil

Then on a prepared baking sheet, coat both sides of your eggplant with olive oil.

Seasoning eggplant with salt and peppr

Season with kosher salt and pepper on both sides, before broiling in the oven on high for about 5 minutes a side.

Sauteing onion in pan

Then in a large pan or skillet, heat up some olive oil and saute your onion.

Adding ground beef to pan

Add your ground beef and break up into small pieces.

Seasoning with nutmeg

Season with your nutmeg and allspice.

Seasoning meat with salt

And a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Adding tomato sauce to pan

Once browned, add the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth.

Adding cinnamon to pot

Season the crushed tomatoes generously with the cinnamon, stir in the toasted pine nuts, and remove from heat.

Layering tomato and beef mixture into baking dish

Then in a glass baking dish, scoop a layer of the tomato and beef mixture into the bottom and spread evenly.

Adding eggplant to bakind dish

Next lay your roasted eggplant in an even layer across the dish.

Covering eggplant with meat and tomato

Cover the eggplant with the remaining tomato and beef mixure before throwing in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Garnishing lebanese baked eggplant with beef

When finished, garnish with fresh parsley and additional pine nuts.

Lebanese baked eggplant with beef.

Serve alone, or over the top of a rice pilaf and enjoy your Lebanese Baked Eggplant with Beef!

Easy Substitutions

  • Make it vegetarian. Instead of beef, add in other vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, or squash.
  • Switch the protein. Make it the more traditional way and use ground lamb, or you could use ground turkey.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you have to soak eggplant before baking?

You can if you want to, but you don’t have to in order to get creamy, delicious eggplant.

Do you peel eggplant before roasting?

Nope! I guess if the texture bothers you, you could, but you’ll be missing out on important nutrients!

How do you store leftover baked eggplant?

Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Lebanese baked eggplant with beef.

More LEbanese Recipes

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Liz eating Lebanese baked egplant with beef.

Whether served over rice or eaten stand alone, my Lebanese Baked Eggplant with Beef is a great way to delve into Lebanese cuisine.

Your fork is waiting.

Lebanese baked eggplant with beef 2

Lebanese Baked Eggplant With Beef

4.72 stars average
A healthier version of the popular Lebanese dish that is full of flavor thanks to toasted pine nuts,  cinnamon and tender eggplant.
PREP: 10 mins
COOK: 1 hr 15 mins
TOTAL: 1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients
 

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 pound ground sirloin (or lamb)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 8 ounces chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 32 ounces crushed tomatoes (low sodium)

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the broiler and line a pan with tin foil.
  • Cut the eggplant into 2 in. rounds and lay flat on the lined broiler pan. Measure the olive oil into a small bowl and brush it evenly on both sides of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Broil eggplant 5 minutes per side, until browned, and place in a glass casserole dish. Reduce oven heat to 350.
  • Meanwhile, in a small pan, toast pine nuts over low heat until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Do not walk away!
  • While this is happening, heat a large pan to medium-high and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Brown beef with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice 5-7 minutes using a wooden spoon. Add onions and continue cooking for additional 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up brown bits. Add in tomatoes and toasted pine nuts then remove from heat.
  • Carefully pour the meat/tomato mixture over the eggplant rounds and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with plain yogurt, fresh parsley and extra pine nuts.

Notes

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Nutrition

Calories: 312kcalCarbohydrates: 33.4gProtein: 21.3gFat: 12.6gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 615mgFiber: 11.8g

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Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

17 Comments

  1. Hi, I have this baking now in the oven and can’t wait to try it along with your rice pilaf. I’ve made your similar crockpot recipe before and really like it. I am a “jump to the recipe” type person instead of following along with the pictures. However, I do skim through the photos briefly. I wanted to comment though that the photos and the recipe directions are VERY different. The photos show placing sauce in the dish first, sautéing the onion before the beef, adding the cinnamon with the sauce instead of the beef, etc. Maybe something was updated and doesn’t reflect, but just thought I’d mention since it was a bit confusing.

  2. Very Very tasty!! I broiled the eggplant a day ahead of time and cooked the beef mixture a day ahead of time. I stored the two separate. The day our Lebanese guests were coming I topped the eggplant with the beef mixture and baked it. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe with us!!! It is now in my recipe file. (o:

  3. We loved this dish! Instead of 1 cup chicken broth, I used 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 cup broth. And served it with Isreali couscous made witha cinnamon stick. Definitely a do-over!

  4. Thank you for the inspiration. I substituted a mix of lentils, chopped pepitas, and chopped walnuts for the ground beef. It tastes great! I couldn’t wait for it to finish baking before I helped myself to the first serving.

  5. Oh my gosh, this is good! I find that I only have 1-2 recipes up my sleeve for eggplant. So, I was searching online for something different and stumbled upon this recipe. I am so glad I did. It was easy to make. I had all the ingredients in the house. I actually did most of the work in one pan. I toasted the pine nuts, then removed them, before browning the meat, which then got pushed to one side as I threw in the onion, and finally the tomato. It smelled heavenly coming out of the oven and tasted even better. This was definitely added to my recipe collection. Thank you, very much!

  6. We are newlyweds and my husband is Lebanese! It is important that I learn some of his favorite dishes. He told me that this dish tasted exactly like his grandmothers! The best compliment ever – thank you for sharing these amazing recipes and making me look good! :)

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