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Lebanese Baked Eggplant With Beef and Pine Nuts

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

    Lebanese Meat Stuffed Eggplant bitten jen HR

    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.

    Best Baba Ganoush Recipe

    My Baba Gannoush is another perfect use for eggplant.

    Why is eggplant food for you?

    It contains a phytonutrient called nasunin, a very powerful antioxidant that fights cancer cells.

    High in fiber, potassium and B vitamins.

    Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    Regulates blood sugar and improves digestion.

    Every Christmas, I am lucky enough to enjoy a huge Syrian feast prepared by my Aunt Paula. I’ll never forget the first year my husband, Rich, joined us for that occasion. Considering he won’t go near a platter of hummus, I wasn’t sure what he would be eating for dinner. Low and behold, this stuffed eggplant dish (also known as “Bittenjen”) was one of his favorites and still is to this day.

    The traditional recipe is made with ground lamb and rendered butter. Although delicious, it is not exactly waist friendly for a year-round dish. In an effort to reduce calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol, I have created a healthier version that still hits the spot thanks to toasted pine nuts,  cinnamon, and tender eggplant. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and you are well on your way to enjoying a taste of my Christmas, minus about 50% of the calories. The best part? It tastes even better the next day heated up for leftovers.

    Your fork is waiting.

    Lebanese Meat Stuffed Eggplant bitten jen 1

    Lebanese Baked Eggplant With Beef and Pine Nuts

    4.7 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


    • 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)


    • 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.




    Calories: 312kcalCarbohydrates: 33.4gProtein: 21.3gFat: 12.6gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 615mgFiber: 11.8g
    SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!

    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.


    1. 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!

      1. 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.

      2. 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!

      3. 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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