Italian Stuffed Eggplant with Ground Veal

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Italian Stuffed Eggplant is low carb and super delicious comfort food. I just remade this recipe again last night and I’m so happy there are leftovers. 

It’s been my desire to bring you more Italian food like I did in the early days, and this is a keeper. I’m going to make it again tomorrow because veal and eggplant are wildly compatible. Don’t be afraid to make Italian food more often. This has no grains, is keto friendly and gluten free.

I’ve been busy in the kitchen this week coming up with approachable, simple dinners that still provide joy for all the senses and to help encourage you and your family to cook together and stay joyfully connected.

Nothing bonds people more than good food, and Italian food has a special allure.

Easy Italian Stuffed Eggplant from Spinach Tiger #ItalianRecipe #eggplant

You can use ground beef or any ground meat with this recipe.

Italian Stuffed Eggplant from Spinach Tiger (Grain Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo) #keto #easydinner #eggplantrecipe #italianrecipe

I’ve been enrolled in the masterclass for Alice Waters and I so resonate with her passion for cooking from the senses, not so much the recipe.

This stuffed eggplant just happened in the kitchen, as I began tasting and thinking through how to make the two ingredients (ground veal and eggplant) that I was focusing on work together.

Most of the time in the kitchen, I don’t start with any notes, but I will have mentally focused on what I want to accomplish. I wanted something new with ground veal. I had already made veal meatballs here with ricotta and mozzarella  and  pork and veal bolognese here   It was Retro Rose who suggested I stuff an eggplant.

Italian Stuffed Eggplant is Fast and Flexible

This entire dish takes about 30 minutes, but it will create those Italian flavored aromas that draw everyone into the kitchen.

  • Eggplant
  • Olive Oil
  • Ground Veal or Ground Beef (can even add loose Italian Sausage)
  • Fennel powder or fennel seed
  • Fresh Herbs or Italian Seasoning
  • Tomato or tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Pecorino or Parmesan

I used ground veal, but you can change this up and use ground beef or add in some some ground pork. Some of you prefer ground turkey and that will work also. My mom adds in some loose Italian sausage for extra flavor. I kept the spices simple using fennel powder and some Italian seasoning. Fresh herbs are best if you have them, and basil would be my preference.

While this is a fast and flexible recipe, there are things to consider when cooking with any ground meat.

How to Cook Ground Veal

Veal has amazing flavor, but can be dry because it’s lean and it’s usually packed tight. You will need to use your hands to loosen it up and soak it in some milk. I use the “milk” trick for almost all of my ground meat recipes, but especially the leaner meats. You can also add in a little olive oil instead of milk. 

Garlic loves eggplant, so I’m a little more generous than usual. Just be sure you do not brown the garlic. The rule is, if it browns, throw it out and start over. Better to lose a few cents than a few dollars in your food.

Low Carb Italian Stuffed Eggplant from Spinach Tiger #easydinner #lowcarbItalian #ketoItalian

Use medium sized eggs or beat your egg and add gently, perhaps not using it all. This is because there are no grains in this veal to soak it up. You can add in 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, but I’m keeping this grain free for all the gluten free, keto readers I have and because that’s how I eat it. 

How to Prepare the Eggplant for Italian Stuffed Eggplant

There are three ways you can do this, and I chose the easiest and the way Alice Waters probably would.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise, scored on the diagonal, and placed flat down with a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt. After about 20 minutes, give it a check. Some eggplant gets soft faster than others. Oil the pan first so it doesn’t stick. 

While the eggplant is in the oven, it’s time to mix  and cook the meat. Once the eggplant is cooked, it’s incorporated in with the meat. I would use about 2/3 to 1 pound of veal per eggplant. You may have some left over and you can put that in a small baking dish.

Italian Stuffed Eggplant with Ground Veal from Spinach Tiger

You can choose a number of ways to top the eggplant. Today, I chose cheese, but you could also top with panko or Italian breadcrumbs.  In one version, we simply topped with pecorino. I used about a tablespoon of tomato sauce, but you could simply slice some tomato, or skip it altogether. 

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You only need to bake it until until the cheese is melted.

You can also use fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with a little basil for a caprese take.

Italian Stuffed Eggplant

Let me say this about eggplant and veal. It’s a remarkable combination of flavors. Veal is known for it’s flavor, and eggplant heightens that and brings moisture so this nearly melts in your mouth. You’ll also love my veal meatballs!

More Recipes from Spinach Tiger

Italian Stuffed Eggplant from Spinach Tiger
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4.59 from 12 votes

Italian Stuffed Eggplant with Ground Veal

Italian Stuffed eggplant with ground veal can be a great lunch or dinner. With or without a topping of mozzarella cheese, veal loves eggplant.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts

Ingredients

  • For Eggplant
  • 2 eggplants
  • sea salt
  • olive oil for brushing

Veal or Ground Beef

  • 1 pound ground veal or ground meat of choice
  • 1 teaspoon seasalt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated pecorino romano or freshly grated parmesan I tend to use both
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder Order Here can use 1/4 t fennel seeds or skip
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced

For Eggplant

  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce optional
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Roast Eggplant

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Rinse eggplant and dry with clean towel.
  • Cut eggplant lengthwise. Leave stems on.
  • Score eggplant in cross hatch pattern, making sure not to cut into skin.
  • Season with salt. Brush with olive oil.
  • Place face down on baking sheet.
  • Bake eggplant for 20 minutes. Check to see how done it it. This will all depend on size. I baked mine for 30 minutes.
  • While eggplant is baking, cook veal.

For Ground Veal or Ground Meat

  • Loosen veal with hands. Season with salt and pepper. Pour milk over. Let it soak In.
  • Mix in herbs, spices and egg.
  • In large frying pan, saute onion for five minutes until softened, but not browned. Add garlic, and be careful not to brown.
  • Add ground meat, making sure to break apart and cook on low until meat is cooked through, continuing to stir.
  • Take eggplant out of the oven. Cool for a few minutes.
  • Scoop out all insides of the eggplant, carefully, so as to not break the skin.
  • If there is excess water in the baking dish, use paper towel to sop up.
  • Add eggplant in to the ground meet.
  • Top with tomato sauce, which is optional.
  • Top with some mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for ten minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Active Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes

Notes

I usually use a mixture of parmesan cheese and pecorino romano. The pecorino is a sheep’s cheese, more tangy and salty. Parmesan is a cow’s milk cheese. Only use high quality.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


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13 Comments

  1. Frustrated: How and when are you encorperating the milk?
    Are you just soaking it? Is that supposed to be done overnight?
    Or are you adding it in with the spices?

  2. Oh this one jumped out at me immediately but instead of veal I thought lamb…I can’t wait until later this summer when our eggplants are big enough to make this recipe! Thank you so much for making tasty recipes that make keto (and an overweight non-keto husband) happy again!

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Just tasted it… Fantastic. But, I think steps ( Steps 3 & 4 ) are out of order, and may confuse some. Shouldn’t it be, “Cut eggplant in half, THEN, crosshatch inside without cutting into skin”? Thank you for sharing your recipe. Very nice website.

  4. 5 stars
    Hey there again, Angela!

    I had to tell you about our anniversary dinner last night – absolutely fabulous, and my husband loved it! I followed your instructions (and thanks so much for the email regarding it) to the letter, and I am so very pleased to finally have mastered the ‘art’ of scooping out eggplant from it’s little cute shell! This recipe will definitely stay with me, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with my girls. Their families will look forward to enjoying it as much as we do!

    Bella

  5. 5 stars
    Angela, I don’t understand how to prepare the eggplant. I have tried in the past to ‘stuff’ eggplant, but have been unable to get the meat out of the skin without damaging the skin. Would you mind giving me detail on how it is done, please? My husband and I have discovered the fruit is delicious, and I would dearly love to know more!

    Thank you in advance,
    Bella

    1. I’m not sure you can see the recipe. It’s in blue background.
      It gives directions. First you bake. Then cool enough to be able to scoop out the insides leaving the skin, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch, so you can then take that scooped out eggplant and mix it with whatever. In this case I used ground veal. I hope that helps.
      Angela

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