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Stuffed Eggplant with Beef and Persian Spices

  • 4 Asian or 4 small Italian eggplant (2 large) - halved lengthwise and score flesh
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 cup red onion - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T fresh oregano - chopped (1 T dried)
  • 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes - quartered
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese - crumbled
  • Chopped herbs for garnish - mint, parsley or dill


    Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place all the spices in a small bowl and combine. Place eggplant halves on a parchment lined sheet pan with the skin side down. With a small paring knife, score the flesh, like a hashtag. Brush generously with olive oil and sprinkle with the spice mixture (about 1/4 tsp per half. Roast for 25 minutes or until the inside has softened - remove from oven and let cool on pan.

    In a large skillet over medium heat, add a bit of olive oil and saute’ the onion. After about 5 minutes, add the remaining spice mixture and the garlic. Cook a few more minutes then add the meat - continue to cook until meat is done, 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up any clumps. Transfer to a bowl and aside to cool.

    Gently scoop out some of the eggplant flesh, leaving a good layer on the bottom though. Add the eggplant, quartered tomatoes and oregano to the meat bowl, toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Spoon the filling into each eggplant shell, sprinkle the top with feta. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh mint or parsley and serve.