Ground Turkey-Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

Stuffed eggplant is a dish that can be found across a variety of different cultures, and for good reason. Eggplants are a versatile and flavorful vegetable as well as being highly nutritious. Packed full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this veggie is a great addition to any dinner plate.

This recipe for stuffed eggplant, developed by Jennine Rye, fills baked eggplant shells with ground turkey that is richly flavored with herbs, spices, and red wine. Topped with a creamy homemade béchamel sauce, then finished off with grated cheddar before being baked, this ground turkey-stuffed eggplant recipe is deliciously comforting and filling. 

Usually a fan of ground beef vs. turkey? Though a fantastic source of lean protein, the ground turkey is anything but dry in this recipe. The simmering process and creamy sauce keep the meat wonderfully moist and tender, making this a delicious as well as fairly healthy dinner option. 

Gather the ingredients for this ground turkey-stuffed eggplant recipe

To begin this ground turkey-stuffed eggplant recipe, first you will need to gather the ingredients. For the turkey mixture, you will want olive oil, an onion, garlic, ground turkey, oregano, cinnamon, chili flakes, a bay leaf, chopped tomatoes, red wine, chicken stock, and salt and pepper. Next up, grab a few eggplants, butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, and cheddar cheese. You may also like to use some fresh parsley to garnish the dish.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Step 2: Slice the eggplants

Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, then score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern.

Step 3: Coat the eggplants in oil

Coat eggplant flesh with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place flesh side-down in a roasting dish.

Step 4: Bake the eggplants

Bake for 45 minutes, until eggplant is cooked through and soft.

Step 5: Heat some oil

Meanwhile, place remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Step 6: Saute the onions and garlic

Saute onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes.

Step 7: Add the ground turkey

Add ground turkey to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink.

Step 8: Add herbs and spices

Add oregano, cinnamon, chili flakes, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

Step 9: Add the liquids

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, red wine, and chicken stock.

Step 10: Simmer the turkey mixture

Reduce heat to medium-low and let turkey mixture simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 11: Start making the béchamel sauce

Meanwhile, make béchamel sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Step 12: Make a roux

Add flour and whisk quickly to form a roux.

Step 13: Add the milk

Slowly incorporate milk into the roux, whisking continuously, to form a thick and creamy sauce.

Step 14: Add nutmeg

Add nutmeg and remove the sauce from heat.

Step 15: Chop the eggplant flesh

Once eggplants are cooked and soft, scoop out most of the flesh and roughly chop it.

Step 16: Add the eggplant flesh to the filling

Add eggplant flesh to the turkey mixture, removing the bay leaf.

Step 17: Prepare the eggplant shells

Transfer hollow eggplants into a baking dish.

Step 18: Add the turkey mixture

Divide turkey mixture among the hollowed-out eggplants.

Step 19: Add the béchamel and cheese, and bake

Top with béchamel sauce and cheddar cheese, then bake for 15 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Step 20: Serve

Serve hot.

What other ingredients can I use in ground turkey-stuffed eggplant?

Whether you can't find a certain ingredient in the supermarket or you simply have other dietary preferences, this recipe for ground turkey-stuffed eggplant can easily be adapted to suit your needs. To make this dish gluten-free, simple swap out the flour in the béchamel sauce for a gluten-free variety. And, to adapt this recipe for dairy-free diners, you will again want to adapt the béchamel sauce by substituting the butter and milk for lactose-free varieties. Similarly, you will want to either substitute the cheddar for a dairy-free cheese or omit it entirely from the dish. Breadcrumbs makes a great alternative topping to give the eggplants some crunch.

To make this dish alcohol-free, simply swap out the red wine for the same volume of chicken stock instead. And, if you aren't a fan of spicy food, you can easily omit the chili flakes. Conversely, if you enjoy your food extra hot, why not add an extra pinch of chili flakes to turn up the heat? To finish off the dish, you're also free to substitute the fresh parsley serving option for another herb such as basil or thyme.

How can this ground turkey-stuffed eggplant recipe be served?

This ground turkey-stuffed eggplant recipe is delicious served as a dish on its own, but if you are looking to make more of a dinner of this meal, a variety of accompaniments pair well with this recipe. To break up the richness of the dish, a simple salad makes the ideal side. A mixture of lettuce leaves, tomatoes, and cucumber tossed in a vinaigrette adds contrast and provides balance to the decadent and filling stuffed eggplant. Another simple side option for this recipe is warm, crusty bread — perfect for mopping up any leftover sauce.

For more substantial side dish options, why not serve these turkey-stuffed eggplants alongside some cooked grains, such as rice or quinoa? These add more substance to the meal and are another great way to mop up any leftover juices from the eggplants, while also adding texture and flavor. Or, to make your meal even more nutritious, you could add a helping of oven-roasted root vegetables to your plate.

Ground Turkey-Stuffed Eggplant Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
Use the package of ground turkey, beef, or chicken in your fridge to whip up these comforting stuffed eggplants with tomato sauce, spices, and a cheesy topping.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
1
hour
Servings
4
servings
turkey and cheese stuffed eggplants on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Optional Ingredients
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise, then score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern.
  3. Coat eggplant flesh with 2 tablespoons olive oil and place flesh side-down in a roasting dish.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, until eggplant is cooked through and soft.
  5. Meanwhile, place remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  6. Saute onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add ground turkey to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink.
  8. Add oregano, cinnamon, chili flakes, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
  9. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, red wine, and chicken stock.
  10. Reduce heat to medium-low and let turkey mixture simmer for 20 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, make béchamel sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  12. Add flour and whisk quickly to form a roux.
  13. Slowly incorporate milk into the roux, whisking continuously, to form a thick and creamy sauce.
  14. Add nutmeg and remove the sauce from heat.
  15. Once eggplants are cooked and soft, scoop out most of the flesh and roughly chop it.
  16. Add eggplant flesh to the turkey mixture, removing the bay leaf.
  17. Transfer hollow eggplants into a baking dish.
  18. Divide turkey mixture among the hollowed-out eggplants.
  19. Top with béchamel sauce and cheddar cheese, then bake for 15 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbling.
  20. Serve hot.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 655
Total Fat 40.3 g
Saturated Fat 14.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 128.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 34.6 g
Dietary Fiber 11.7 g
Total Sugars 19.3 g
Sodium 1,702.9 mg
Protein 38.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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