Meatballs and eggplants enriched by garlic and spices come together for a delicious dinner. What’s a better meal? Make this tasty, healthy and filling Eggplant Casserole for your next dinner. It’ll be a big hit for everyone!
We have this easy eggplant casserole quite often because it is quite simple to make. Plus, it is soooo delicious when eggplant comes together with meatballs, tomatoes and garlic. My family (even my husband who is not a vegetable fan) and friends welcome it on the dinner table verrry enthusiastically and I get looottss of compliments.
This easy middle eastern eggplant dish immediately comes to my aid when I want to have a healthy and tasty dish with lots of protein and vegetables. Eggplant is a great source of fiber, and it is a vitamin and mineral pack. It is very rich in vitamin K, manganese and folate. So we are trying to include it in our diet as much as we can these days before fall season officially starts.
The ingredients for this easy casserole recipe vary depending on the country it is from. I’m going to share the Turkish version here. It is a little bit different from others which are mostly made with a type of cheese like mozzarella or parmesan. Unlike those cheesy recipes, in Turkey, we make it with meatballs.
However, if you prefer it without any meat, you can simply leave out the meatballs.
How do you make eggplant casserole? I’d love to learn your versions. Please feel free to share them with me in the comments section below.
Baked Eggplant Casserole Ingredients
The ingredients we need for an easy Turkish style casserole with eggplant and meatballs are as follows:
- Olive oil
- Green peppers
- Tomato puree
- Black pepper
Please find the measurements in the recipe card below.
And if you are a meatball fan like me, first go to our Kofte Recipe to learn the important tips for homemade meatballs.
The Mediterranean super-quad of eggplants, meatballs, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil is a great success. They simply make the tastiest eggplant recipe when they meet together.
You can definitely add zucchini for more fiber. Potatoes would also be a delicious add-in in this dish. If you want more protein, go ahead and sprinkle some parmesan or mozzarella on the top.
How To Prepare Eggplant For Casserole
You can peel off long strips off the skin but no peeling is also an option. Cut into one-inch slices. Eggplants may be bitter so dipping the slices in salty water for about 15 minutes is a good idea. Salting them also make the eggplants less soggy. Then you need to dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Otherwise they will get watery while cooking.
Another plus about this casserole is that we bake the eggplants in the oven which makes the dish lighter. Traditionally, eggplants are fried before baking in the oven. However, since eggplants are quite spongy, they absorb a lot of oil. So, skipping the frying process make the eggplants lighter, but no less delicious.
How To Make Turkish Eggplant Casserole
It is very easy to make this Turkish Eggplant Dish. It is actually 10-minute work if you have meatballs in the freezer.
If you do not have frozen meatballs, you will need to make fresh ones but do not worry. It is quite simple.
First, make the meatballs. Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, black pepper, chili powder and salt in a large bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together baking soda, lemon juice and water. Now pour it over the other ingredients and combine everything well with your hands. Next, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight. This is it for meatballs.
Second, prepare the eggplants. Slice the eggplants and soak them in water. Make sure you sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over them and wait for about 15 minutes. Drain and dry them using paper towel. Now, preheat oven to 400F (200C).
Third, place meatballs and eggplant slices in turns in a baking pan. After that, drizzle olive oil over them and bake for 30 minutes or until the eggplants are tender. You can check it piercing them with a fork or knife.
Finally, remove from the oven. Place garlic slices and green peppers randomly in the pan and pour tomato puree over them. Now sprinkle salt and black pepper. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Your delicious meal is ready! Sprinkle chopped parsley over it and serve hot.
FAQs About Eggplant Casserole Recipe
Can I Freeze This Eggplant Meatball Casserole?
Yes, it is a freezer friendly meal. You can freeze it both raw or cooked. If you are planning to freeze it raw, keep everything raw except eggplants. Bake the sliced and dried eggplants in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400F. Cool and then place them in the pan with meatballs and freeze.
Make sure you thaw them overnight before baking.
Can I Make It With Ground Beef?
Yes. If you don’t feel like preparing meatballs, make your casserole with ground beef. One difference though: Unlike the meatball version, you should cook the ground beef and eggplant slices slightly before combining them together. To do this, heat a cast iron skillet and cook eggplant slices in little olive oil, turning them over so that both sides get slightly tender. Transfer them on a plate.
In the same skillet, sauté about ½ cup diced onion with olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add in ground beef and cook it stirring and pressing down until there aren’t any blocks left. You can add in a little water (about ¼ cup) if it’s too dry. You can season it with any spices you like. We love cumin, chili powder and black pepper. Remove it from the heat. Top with eggplants, tomato puree, green peppers and garlic. Bake for 30 minutes.
Can I Make Turkish Eggplant Recipe Without Meat?
Sure. You can even make your eggplant casserole vegan. It can be very delicious without meat, as well. Garlic contributes a lot of taste and flavor to dishes so more amount of garlic will do it. It will be very similar to our delicious vegan casserole with zucchini.
Can I Make Eggplant Casserole Without Cheese?
Yes! You can use meatballs instead. If you do not want any meat in it either, you can just use tomato paste and lots of garlic. It will also turn out delicious.
What To Serve On The Side
I like this dish also with French fries but something with yogurt is a must for me in any variation of this classic menu.
Other Meatball Recipes You Might Like
Other Turkish Eggplant Recipes You Might Like
Other Casserole Recipes You Might LikePrint
Turkish Baked Eggplant Casserole With Meatballs
An easy recipe for baked eggplant casserole with meatballs.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 1pound ground beef, 80% lean
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 and ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
For Eggplant Casserole:
- 2 eggplants, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 cup tomato puree
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- parsley for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except baking soda, lemon juice and water.
- In a small bowl, whisk together baking soda, lemon juice and water. Pour it over the other ingredients.
- Combine everything well with your hands. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C).
- Slice the eggplants. Soak them in water, sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over them and wait for about 15 minutes. Drain and dry them using paper towel.
- In a baking pan, place meatballs and eggplant slices in turns.
- Drizzle olive oil over the meatballs and eggplants and bake for 30 minutes.
- Place garlic slices and green peppers randomly in the pan.
- Pour tomato puree over them.
- Sprinkle salt and black pepper. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.
Keywords: eggplant casserole, meatball casserole