Almost Turkish Recipes

Eggplant-Meatball Casserole (Fırında Köfteli Patlıcan)

This delicious eggplant and meatball recipe was highly inspired by another recipe I found at one of Turkey's most popular and successful food blogs: portakal ağacı. In her blog Hatice, tells that she got the recipe from an aunt (in Turkey you call all the elderly ladies "aunt X or Y" for respect regardless of your blood relation to them) and that it's called "Antep kebap" (Antep Kebabı). I liked the idea of having meatballs and eggplant--my favorite vegetable--but I didn't follow the recipe strictly. I think this is the good side of casserole dishes; they give you room for flexibility. In the end it turned out to be a light and tasty recipe.

I particularly like meatball casserole dishes, because (1) they are really easy to make and (2) in the end they are delicious. I usually make meatballs from 2 lb of ground lamb and beef. Later I freeze meatballs and use them whenever I need them. As you can imagine, when you have already made frozen meatballs, making any kind of meatball casserole dish takes almost no time.

2-3 eggplants, peeled in stripes and cut in 1 inch rounds
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 or 1/2 banana pepper for each meatball
1 big onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil

for meatball (I used half of the meatballs from this batch for the recipe; the other half went straight to the freezer)1 lb ground meat
1-2 slice of stale bread, processed in a food processor or grated
1 eggs
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 big clove of garlic, minced
1 onion, grated or finely chopped
1/2 parsley, finely chopped
(the original recipe didn't ask for cumin, oregano leaves, onion, and garlic for the meatball part)

-Mix well all the ingredients for meatball in a bowl and make round , half inch thick meatballs.
-Peel the eggplants in stripes and cut them in rounds. Place the rounds in a casserole.
-Place one meatball on each eggplant round.
-Scatter chopped onion and garlic on meatballs.
-Underneath onion and garlic, you'll still see your small eggplant and meatball towers; put one slice of tomato and one or half banana pepper (or any pepper you want) on each eggplant+meatball tower.
-Salt to your taste and pour 1/4 cup of alive oil on top.
-Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for an hour at a preheated oven at 450F. After an hour uncover, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

I served eggplant and meatball casserole with bulgur pilaf and yogurt.


  1. Anonymous10:14 PM

    I recently discovered this site and I must congratulate you on your effort. Everything looks so delicious. I have now saved you in my favourites..


  2. I love the idea of making meatballs ahead and freezing them, and then having them available for dishes like this one. I'm going to try it!

  3. Recipes shouldm't have to be followed to the letter, that's what makes it so fun and addictive to be a cook. I am sure everyone loved this eggplant/meatball casserole!!!!

  4. I am going to try this one out today with ground turkey :D

  5. Anonymous12:33 AM

    Hi, I was wondering about the bread. Don't you have to soak it beforehand, or that’s no necessary for this recipe? Thanks for your time:)

  6. anonymous, I put the bread in a food processor. grating would be fine , too.

  7. Anonymous8:05 AM

    This looks really tasty - I like the way that the dish is presented, on slices of eggplant. It looks like it would work well as an hors d'oeuvre or appetizer as well as for a main course. Thanks for the idea!

  8. I made this yesterday. Such an easy dish to assemble for a meal to last many days.

    I tasted the meatballs for doneness after an hour and they were quite tasty. then I uncovered and turned on the broiler for 5 minutes to char the peppers a bit. Now, I am not sure I would do that again next time, since the meatballs dried a bit during that. Maybe baking uncovered for 10 minutes is a better compromise as you suggested in your recipe! :)

  9. Anonymous3:58 AM

    omG this recipe was sooo delicious. it was so simple and like you i love eggplant so much and onion, yum! what i did was put 1/4 cup of stock over it all just before i put it in the oven and that made it nice and juicy. thank u so much for this site :) Nancy