Melitzanes Papoutsakia

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2015-07-28 18.59.07Recipe Update: Traditionally the eggplant is fried then stuffed with the meat mixture (then topped with Bechamel) but I’ve got a quicker, healthier and lighter version that will have you making Papoutsakia all the time!

The important step is #2 where I bake the eggplant halves facedown in parchment-lined baking trays. I love it!


This past summer in Greece, I was looking forward to also having a cooking spree but I was too ambitious, unrealistic and outright silly to be think that I’d be in the kitchen all the time.

First, it was damn hot this summer and despite the dry heat, cooking in a kitchen with no AC is madness. Second, I live for the beach, tanning, listening to my music, long walks on the beach and of course swimming. Living in Canada, one takes advantage of the dry Mediterranean climate and the warm waters of the Aegean. To bad – so sad lil’ kitchen.

The times that I did cook inside were the odd day that it was overcast or on the two mornings that in rained.

These stuffed eggplants are translated from Greek to mean “little shoes” as that’s what the finished product looks like.

In Greek: Melitzanes (pronounced meh-leed-ZAH-nes pah-poot-SAHK-yah)2015-07-28 18.58.53

Melitzanes Papoutsakia

6-8 small to medium eggplants, halved
1lb of extra lean ground beef

4 tbsp of olive oil

2 large onions, diced

3 bay leaves

6 cloves of minced garlic

1 can of plum tomatoes, pureed
(or Pomodoro)
1/2 cup white wine

salt, pepper

3 tsp dried oregano

3 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 recipe for Bechamel Sauce
1 cup grated Kefalotiri cheese

  1. Wash and dry the eggplants, trim off the stems and cut in half, lengthwise. Score  the inside using your knife (without cutting through the skins) to make a criss-cross pattern.
  2. Drizzle the eggplant halves with olive oil and season with salt. Place facedown in a parchment-lined baking sheet in a preheated 400F oven (middle rack), bake for 30 minutes or until just soft to the touch. Reserve.
  3. Make your filling: in a heavy sauce pan, saute your onions, garlic, bay leaves, some salt for about 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Now add ground beef and and saute until browned. Add your wine, tomato sauce, oregano, parsley and simmer until thick. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. In about 30-45 minutes you should have a thick sauce. Stir in your cinnamon and set aside.
  4. Make your Bechamel Sauce and reserve .
  5. Place your eggplant halves in a roasting pan. Use a ladle to press down into the eggplants to make a cradle out of each. Sprinkle some cheese on the bottoms, then spoon in the meat sauce into each cavity. Now spoon the bechamel sauce over the meat sauce and top with grated cheese. Bake in a pre-heated 425F oven for approx. 40 minutes. The tops should be a nice golden-brown.
  6. Allow to rest 15 minutes then serve warm.

© 2007 – 2018,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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22 Comments for “Melitzanes Papoutsakia”



Another excellent Greek dish Peter. I like the addition of the bechamel on top. I remember being in a restaurant where everything seemed to have Avolgomeno lemon sauce on top. That is another possibility.

Peter M


Thanks K, almost as good as your mom’s? lol

Valli, one could also top it with a slice of tomato and grated Kefalotiri.



I want to dive into that pan! You did a great job with this one….I’ll even dare and say it looks better than mom’s :-O




I just discovered your blog and love the recipes I’ve seen.
This stuffed eggplant looks fantastic! Too bad I cooked the remaining eggplant from our garden last night!



Another success! Thanks for this recipe. Made it tonight with a minor change. Instead of bechamel sauce, I just topped it with feta cheese, as this is how my bf typically has it. Can’t wait for your recipes from Greek Easter! :) Now I need to go and find what I will be making tomorrow night.


Peter, another winner. It look’s perfect!

Sam, I’ve checked out the some of the ‘food’ you have on your site. You can’t hold a candle to Peter’s food and blog, so your only weapon is nastiness. You are a small, small man. Go away.


I rarely comment, so I rarely read the comments. I saw this pointed out on twitter, and I was compelled to come here today and ask, why? would a grown man “shit” (get it?) out such a ridiculous statement. if you don’t like peter’s food (or apparently Peter himself), STOP READING HIS BLOG! I read Sam’s blog, too, and did not know that this was going on. I’m still perplexed.

The papoutsakia look great, and I’m sure they taste great, too!


I think you know what you can do with trolls like that.

I think you’re just jealous that Peter’s blog has a higher ranking. Peter is the go-to source for me when I’m looking for information on Greek food and culture. That’s probably the case for a lot of people as well. Not only is Peter knowledgeable, he’s gracious and respectful of others. I don’t know what you think it serves to insult others because it only makes you look worse.


Hey Peter! I like how you’ve turned making papoutsakia into an assembly line so you can make more, faster. Great idea. And the finished product looks mouth-wateringly delicious.

As for those commenting on Sam, in his desperation for attention, Sam is notoriously antagonistic and bullying towards other bloggers. This isn’t the first example, and won’t be the last. Peter knows this and learned to ignore him a long time ago. Everyone else should do the same.


Um… after seeing the facebook comment I had to wander over. Is he nuts? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you make anything that didn’t make my mouth water immediately.

Blah… btw… these look to die for IMHO.


Too bad eggplant is no longer being offered in our little corner of the world, Peter. My husband would have loved this! Saving it for next summer. Thanks!



Peter — great recipe and great blog. I had never heard of this recipe until I started to date a woman from northern Greece some years back. It seems it’s not done in the south. Do you know if that’s true or is it my ignorance?

Also, GREAT pictures on your blog. Are you still using the Canon that I suggested you buy way back?

To the troll: how freaking old are you? Don’t you realize that you’re embarrassing yourself?


hi Peter
I love cooking this dish but some years ago discovered a vegetarian version with kaseri or kefalotiri which was also wonderful – do you have anything similar? love your recipes and travelogue
x from Australia