Stuffed Eggplant (Papoutsakia)

If you’re a fan of Moussaka, then you’d definitely enjoy Papoutsakia (stuffed eggplant)!

In Greek, Papoutsakia translates to ‘little shoes’, because of they way they look!

This recipe is incredibly simple to make – one pot and an oven is all you need; and you can whip up a whole batch of these at one go without much time taken from your day!



Traditional recipes include béchamel sauce or potato purée, but I’m leaving that out in this one to lighten it up and save on time!



The Recipe serves 3


2 plump aubergines

250g lean minced beef (or any meat of your choice, or lentils)

1 cup passata

5 chestnut mushrooms

1 large ripe plum tomato, chopped

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

125g mozzarella cheese (or any of your choice)

½ tsp cinnamon (optional)

1 tsp sugar

Olive oil

English parsley, chopped

Chilli flakes (optional)

Salt, black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
  2. Cut each aubergine in half lengthways. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of each aubergine, leaving a 1 cm border.
  3. Rub the 4 ‘slippers’ generously with olive oil, sit them upright in a shallow baking dish, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. When done, remove and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the aubergine flesh.
  5. Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a large pan and cook onion and garlic until soft and transparent. Then, add the aubergine and fry till soft.
  6. Add beef mince, stirring to break up any chunks. Cook gently until browned and crumbly.
  7. Add in plum tomato and mushrooms, and stir well. If using lentils, do add them at this point.
  8. Stir in the passata, cinnamon and dry herbs if using.
  9. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tsp of sugar. Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until juices have boiled down.
  10. Divide the beef mixture between the aubergine shells, sprinkle cheese generously over the top, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden-brown.
  11. Garnish with chopped English parsley and serve immediately, or cool to eat later as a mezze.


  • To make vegetarian-friendly, substitute beef mince for chopped mushrooms, lentils, sultanas, and pine kernels!
  • You will certainly have leftover stuffing…repurpose it with some pasta! That’s tomorrow’s lunch sorted.
  • To make this a complete meal, mix some cooked rice or quinoa in the stuffing.
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