Stuffed Eggplant Boats drizzled with yogurt and garnished with toasted almonds are undeniably delicious! They are made with a mixture of lean ground beef, eggplants, onions and tomato sauce. The spices used are cinnamon and allspice which make a magical combination. The eggplant is the perfect vessel for the delicious stuffing, inspired by classic Middle Eastern flavors. It's super easy to whip up and a perfect low carb weeknight dinner.
Eggplants are one of my favourite vegetables. They have a unique umami flavor and they're used so much in Middle Eastern cuisine. Often times in Iraq, they are used as a meat replacement because they have a similar taste. I grew up eating them in all kinds of ways; baked, fried, and grilled. This dish was inspired by a classic Middle Eastern dish of stuffed vegetables. Typically, vegetables are cored before being stuffed. But it's often a laborious process. That's why I prefer to make it "boat" style - so much faster and the same delicious taste.
These Stuffed Eggplant Boats are a favourite in our house; I love making them because they're also very healthy and a great option if you're looking for a low carb weeknight meal. You can also make it using ground turkey, shredded chicken or even a meat alternative. Use what you have on hand. The few things I wouldn't skip are the yogurt sauce and the garnish. The creaminess of the yogurt with the garlic balances the dish. You can also reduce or increase the garlic in the sauce to your taste. Crunchy almonds are used as a garnish in most Middle Eastern cuisines because of the nice crunch and the nuttiness. Definitely don't skip those either! But you can use pine nuts or even toasted cashews. Leave me a review if you give this dish a try!
For more Eggplant recipe ideas, try these:
Stuffed Eggplant Boats with Ground Beef
For the Eggplant Boats:
- 3 eggplants
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Sprinkle of salt
For the Filling:
- ½ lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 onion
- Eggplant flesh
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1-1.5 tsp salt more per preference
- 2 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup tomato sauce
For the Yogurt Sauce:
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1-2 garlic cloves crushed
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ tsp salt
For the Garnish:
- ¼ cup parsley
- ¼ cup slivered almonds or pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 370F
- Trim the ends off the eggplant and peel them only every other stripe (don't peel all of it). You should end up with a "zebra" pattern.
- Cut them in half length wise and using a teaspoon scoop out the flesh, leaving about ¼ inch thickness.
- Sprinkle them with salt and massage them with the olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, placing them cut side up.
- Make the filling by finely dicing the onion and softening in the olive oil.
- Once onions are soft, add the beef and brown for a few minutes.
- Chop up the eggplant flesh and add to the pan along with all the spices and tomato sauce. Cook until eggplant is soft and meat is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust.
- Spoon the mixture into each eggplant boat and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Mix all the yogurt sauce ingredients together, using room temperature yogurt.
- Toast the almonds/pine nuts in a tsp olive oil until golden.
- Finely chop up the parsley.
- Assemble by adding the yogurt sauce over each boat and garnish with parsley and almonds. Serve immediately.
- If you don't like a strong garlic flavor in the yogurt sauce, use only 1 clove or use garlic powder.