Do you know the power of a family meal? There is nothing like the feeling of coming home to a home-cooked meal and enjoying good food with people important to you. On my recent trip to Greece to spend time with my family. While I was there, I had some incredible home-cooked and traditional Greek meals. I dedicate this recipe to my cousin, who made this very meal for me my first night in her home in Greece.
Greek stuffed eggplant, also known as melitzanes papoutsakia. The translation of papoutsakia is actually “little shoes” which I think is rather cute, and so is this dish!
It is a very filling dish and one or two eggplants will be more than enough to satisfy you!
Not only does this meal taste incredible, but there are so many good things about the ingredients! Check out the nutritional benefits that some ingredients offer:
Eggplant is a very high-fibre vegetables which is one reason this dish is so filling! Owing to their purple colour, eggplants are high in anthocyanins, the blue-purple pigment with antioxidant properties which can help protect cells from free-radical damage.
Onion are a vegetable low in calories but which provides moderate amounts of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. Onions are also a source of a phytochemical which may raise levels of a protective enzyme that inactivates cancer-causing agents in the body!
Tomatoes are highly nutrient dense providing fibre and many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and potassium. The red pigment “lycopene” which gives tomatoes their colour which may act as an antioxidant in the body to reduce the risk of some cancers, and cardiovascular disease.
Olive Oil must be the most iconic of Greek cuisine ingredients. Olive oil is a source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Olive oil is a staple in any Mediterranean diet and may be one reason for lower rates of chronic diseases observed in those who follow a Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is a source of two powerful phytochemicals which may protect against breast cancer, clogged arteries and high blood pressure.
There are some variations you can try with this recipe. You can top your eggplant with cheese or a slice or two of tomato.
Whatever meat you choose, look for lean ground meat as it is lower in less healthy fats (the olive oil we use in this recipe will still provide with fat – which is important for good health – but a much healthier fat). If you really want to make something special, try substituting ground lamb for ground beef in the recipe below.
Of course, you can always make this meatless by swapping the ground beef for a can of lentils, rinsed and drained.
This recipe goes great paired with a Greek Salad!
Sharing some of my favourite photos from Greece below to make this even more authentic!