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 Kebab Casserole for your next dinner. It’ll be a big hit for everyone!
We are huge fans of eggplants and enjoy it in as many ways as we can during summer. Another favorite eggplant dinner recipe of our family is Karnıyarık, Turkish stuffed eggplants. We also love roasted eggplant salad or baked imam bayildi as a lunch or side. And baba ganoush without tahini is a perfect smoky dip.
We have this easy eggplant kebab quite often because it is simple to make. Plus, it is soooo delicious when eggplant comes together with meatballs, tomatoes and garlic.
The ingredients for this easy eggplant 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 and call it eggplant kebab, patlican kebabı.
What Is Eggplant Kebab?
Eggplant kebab aka patlican kebap is yet another type of Turkish kebab. It has two versions: 1)On skewers. In an authentic kebab restaurant, eggplants and lamb are cooked together on skewers over fire. 2)In a baking pan. Eggplant slices and meatballs are baked together in a pan with a tomato sauce. We will share this second version with you today.
Why We Love This Recipe
- The flavors are amazing together. If you have never tried the combination of eggplants, meat, tomatoes, garlic and green peppers, you have to try it asap!
- It can be made ahead. This is really helpful when you have guests. Just reheat it in the oven.
- It is freezer friendly. You can freeze it either cooked or raw. If you want to freeze it raw, prepare meatballs and eggplants, place them in a baking pan and freeze. Thaw before baking when you are ready to make the recipe. And prepare the rest of the ingredients when it is in the oven.
About The Ingredients
- Meatballs. We use 80% lean ground beef to make the meatballs in this recipe. You can use ground lamb if you like or a combination of both. We make a simple meatball mixture by combining ground beef, very finely chopped onion, garlic and spices. This is our quicker way of making our ultimate homemade meatballs.
- Eggplants. When buying eggplants, we choose the ones you see in the pictures here. Their seeds are tiny and they match perfectly with the size of meatballs.
- Tomato puree. We puree tomatoes in a food processor, but you can use store-bought tomato puree if you want.
- The Mediterranean combination 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.
How To Make The Recipe
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, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Next, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then shape the meatballs and put them aside. You can wet your fingers when shaping 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 a paper towel. Now, preheat the 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 by 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.
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.
Yes. If you don’t feel like preparing meatballs, make your casserole with meat. One difference though: Unlike the meatball version, you should cook the meat 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 chopped meat, add in a little water (about ¼ cup). Let it release its juice and then absorb it back. 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.
Although it won’t be a traditional kebab recipe, you can make this recipe vegan. It can be very delicious without meat, as well. Garlic contributes a lot of taste and flavor to dishes so more garlic and tomatoes will do it. It will be very similar to our delicious vegan casserole with zucchini.
Yes. You can sprinkle some grated cheddar or mozzarella 5 minutes before you remove the dish from the oven. On the other hand, this recipe is a traditional one and never uses cheese.
More Kebab Recipes
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Turkish Eggplant Kebab
Eggplant slices and meatballs baked together with tomato puree, garlic cloves and green peppers.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 1 pound/450g ground beef, 80% lean
- 1 onion, finely diced or pureed
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 and ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For Eggplant Kebab:
- 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 for meatballs, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then shape into balls and flatten them a bit. Put them aside.
- Preheat the 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 a 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.
- Pour tomato puree over them.
- Remove from the oven. Place garlic slices and green peppers randomly in the pan. Drizzle a little more olive oil over them.
- Sprinkle salt and black pepper. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.
Keywords: eggplant kebab, Turkish eggplant kebab, patlican kebab