This fantastic one-dish-meal makes excellent leftovers for several days.  I got this idea from a chef friend of mine, Liza; she made delicious appetizer meatballs with roasted eggplant, feta cheese, and lamb. This recipe is a riff on her recipe, but uses beef rather than lamb.

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makes: 10 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cooking time: 1 HOUR, 25 MINUTES



1 large or 2 medium-size eggplants
Olive oil for drizzling
2 ½ pounds (1.1 kilo) high-quality ground beef
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 ounces (200 g) full-fat feta cheese
3 free-range eggs
¼ teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or ½ chicken stock cube, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shredded


Marinara sauce
½ onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (240 ml) red wine
1 x 14 ounce (400 g) diced tomatoes
1 small handful fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 pinch cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste



1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Line a deep-sided baking sheet with foil.

2. Cut the eggplant into quarters lengthwise, score the flesh using a sharp knife, drizzle with olive oil, and season well. Place the eggplant quarters in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until the flesh is tender.

3. Remove the eggplant from the oven, scoop out the flesh, and discard the skin, then and place into a bowl and allow to cool for five to 10 minutes.

4. Place the remaining ingredients into a separate, large bowl and mix well using your hands.

5. Press the eggplant flesh between layers of paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then roughly chop and add to the meat mixture.

6. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly and place onto the baking sheet. Use your hands to form the meat into a loaf shape in the center of the pan, and then place in the oven to bake for one hour.

7. Baste the meatloaf with its own juices every 15 minutes.

8. While the meatloaf is cooking, make the sauce: sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a large saucepan for five minutes until softened, then add the red wine, diced tomatoes, herbs, and seasoning, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

9. Remove the sauce from the heat and use an immersion blender to purée the sauce, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

10. To serve, cut a generous slice of the meatloaf and spoon the marinara sauce on top. Garnish the meatloaf slices with a sprinkle of fresh, chopped basil, and some freshly grated parmesan.