Eggplant (& Lamb) Manicotti

Eggplant (& Lamb) Manicotti


Serves 4-6


  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese

  • 1 cup packed spinach leaves

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • ½ cup packed Italian/flat leaf parsley

  • ½ cup shredded Cheese (mozzarella, gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, and goat cheese)

  • ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds

  • 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese (best if you grate your own from a block of cheese)


  • 2 large eggplants, cut lengthwise into ¼” thick slices (12 slices total)

  • 3 cups tomato sauce

  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese


  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 small onion chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 6oz/175g ground lamb, beef or turkey


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F/260°C and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleanups) and move oven rack to top position.

  2. To toast the sunflower seeds, use a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sunflower seeds. Stir and toss for 3-4 minutes. Be careful you don’t let them burn. They should just be golden.


  1. Using a food processor, motor running, drop the garlic down the feeding tube. Stop the motor and add the rest of the filling ingredients and puree. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. The filling can be made up to 2 days in advance.


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion & garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. The onions should be golden.

  2. Add the ground lamb and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the clumps until the lamb is no longer pink ( 5-8 minutes). Drain the meat using a slotted spoon and allow to cool in a separate bowl.


  1. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. (I brushed a bit of olive oil on the foil before placing the slices on it and then lightly brushed the tops). Broil on the top rack for about 3-5 minutes. The eggplant should be soft and not crisp. You might need to do this in two batches.

  2. Reduce the heat to 375°F/190°C and move the oven rack down to the center.. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish

  3. Place 2 tbsp of filling at the lower end of an eggplant slice and then roll up the slice around the filling. Place the rolled eggplant – the “manicotti” on the tomato sauce,

  4. Pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the manicotti and then sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the eggplant is tender and the sauce is thick and bubbly.

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