Little Shoes...

We call this recipe "Papoutsakia" which literally means little shoes. It's one of the most popular summer dishes of Greece and incredible delicious. In the past, cooks used to fry the eggplants and then stuff them with the ground meat. This is a lighter version, I'm just baking the eggplants for a while, then stuff and bake them.

Ingredients (4 people)

4 to 6 small eggplants
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic minced
Salt - Pepper
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
400 g ground beef
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
a pinch of sugar
1/2 cup tomato passata or 4 ripe juicy tomatoes grated
1/2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons bulgur (measured raw) soaked in water for half an hour and drained. (You can skip the bulgur if you want)
1/4 cup of chopped flat parsley
Greek Yoghurt to serve

How to make

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave them aside and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put a wide frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and stir 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Continue with the chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper and stir again. Add the ground beef and using a fork, try to dissolve the big pieces. When the meat has changed color,  add the bay leaf, cumin, allspice and stir. Add the tomato juice and hot water. Add the bulgur, check for seasoning and turn down the temperature to low. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. We want a juicy mixture so it may be necessary to add some warm water while cooking. Finally sprinkle the sauce with fresh chopped parsley. Set aside
Using a paper towel wipe the eggplants from the salty and bitter juices. Score them vertically and diagonally using a knife.

 Lay them in a baking dish with parchment paper and bake scored side up for 15 to 20 minutes.
When ready add the sauce on top of the eggplants using a spoon

 return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 - 15 minutes more.
Serve with Greek yoghurt and roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!


  1. OMG,
    This looks outstanding! I would love to eat this.

  2. Yummy! Stuffed vegetables are so delicious!

  3. I absolutely love this!! One of my favorite meals!!!

  4. Making these tomorrow night, Eri. I'll let you know how they taste with quinoa instead of bulgur.

    have a great weekend.

  5. Hi Eri! I just saw some of those fun little eggplants and was trying to decide how to prepare them - now I know, looks wonderful! Love that you made it lighter!

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  7. Haha, I am in love with actual little shoes. And a food item named little shoes? Even better! I think I would prefer this baked version, looks great!

  8. What a beautiful looking eggplant dish. I love eggplants and I haven't seen this way of serving them before. Wonderful! xx

  9. Hi Eri,what a nice choice for a traditional summer meal!!They DO look d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!!!Have a great weekend!XO

  10. Hi Eri! I'm a huge eggplant fan and you put the ground meat on top! How delicious! I love this unique name too. I can imagine the juicy eggplant along with the meat... must be so good. Saving this recipe to try it out for sure!

  11. Wow that looks good, funny name as well. I love the addition of minced meat, its like similar to the Filipino Tortang Talong except that ours have eggs to make the minced meat stick to the eggplant

  12. Your stuffed eggplant sounds magnificent! The filling is perfect...what a yummy combination~

  13. i've just browsed through both your blogs - you are a wonderfully creative cook, and everything looks so tasty!

  14. Eri, I love this recipe. I have a lot of eggplants this summer and although I've been her for 5 yrs, I've never made papoutsakia! Yours look amazing. Have a great week! :)

  15. I know I would love this Eri,as it sound similar but different than these I made: http://sports-glutton.com/2012/06/13/grilled-stuffed-eggplant-w-spicy-italian-sausage/

    Your recipe is definitely on my to-do list!

  16. I love stuffed eggplant! This look delish. We are waiting patiently for our egg plants to be ready for picking xo

  17. Yummy yummy I will be making this very soon like this weekend.

  18. Gorgeous!! These sound so delicious and I love them with the skinny eggplant.

  19. I hope you allow me some small correction. The typical way of cooking papoutsakia is calling for a bechamel layer on the top otherwise the minced meat will dry too much. Also the classical eggplants for this dish are not the long thin ones what we call Argitikes but the pear shaped ones what we call Flaskes. Also bulgur and mushroom is really not part of the original recipie. Of course your version is also interesting but it's not the typical Greek way to cook Papoutsakia. Thanks!

    1. Hello my friend, thank you for commenting, none of my recipes are "typical". They are all versions of traditional recipes with a modern and always healthier twist. Just so you know, in Northern Greece where I come from, we never ever use bechamel in papoutsakia. Kisses!

  20. These look really, really good! I love eggplant but I've never stuffed them. I love your stuffing!

  21. These look so good, i am going to have to save this recipe YUM!


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