One day at the produce stand, I found adorable shiny purple mini eggplants. They were only four or five inches in length and I just couldn’t leave without buying them. But, what was I going to make with them? I thought I’d just figure it out when I got home. “What tastes well with eggplant?” I asked myself, maybe even out loud. I had some leftover cooked ground beef I needed to use and then I just started throwing seasonings into the pan along with the ground beef-minced garlic, salt and pepper. I prepped the eggplant, cut it in half and baked it.
Then I just layered it- eggplant, sauce, meat, cheese and sent those little cute mini eggplant halves back in the oven so the cheese could melt and then topped them with fresh parsley! After they rested a bit, I just couldn’t wait to try one. They looked so tempting.
This is an easy recipe that doesn’t take much more time than making tacos from a taco kit including cutting the toppings. It also makes a great make ahead appetizer and is gluten free. I’m sure your party guests will like this if they fancy eggplant like I do.
Twice Baked Eggplant
- 10 mini eggplants (about four" or five” long) or one regular size eggplant washed and cut into 1/2 " pieces lengthwise
- ½-3/4 lb ground beef or pork with casing removed
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
- 1 cup tomato sauce (homemade is best)
- 3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil or Pam Olive Oil spray
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tbls chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place eggplant on a cookie sheet or baking pan(s.) Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, parsley and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on them.
- Bake for 15-20 min until the eggplants are cooked and a bit wrinkled. Do not turn off the oven yet.
- Meanwhile, pour olive oil in a frying pan, add garlic and cook on low heat for 30 seconds. Add the ground meat (or reheat leftover meat) salt, and pepper and cook for about 15 min on medium heat until it is fully cooked.
- Remove eggplants from the oven.
- Put a spoonful of sauce on each eggplant piece. Then put a spoonful of meat on top of the sauce. Third, top with shredded cheese. If you are using regular eggplant, roll them.
- Bake again for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.