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Papoutsakia - Greek stuffed aubergines

This is my take on a Greek traditional recipe called papoutsakia, little aubergine shoes. This recipe might look long winded but it's not. Yes, it has three different elements to cook, but the oven is your friend here. Follow the steps below and you will not regret it.

Vegan, nut free | Serves 3 | MAIN

Ingredients:

For the aubergines:

  • 3 large aubergines (eggplants)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper

For the mince:

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in small cubes
  • 220g Vivera plant mince (or other of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200ml tomato passata
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, dried thyme, cinnamon
  • Pinch of chilli flakes, salt and pepper

For the béchamel:

  • 1 tablespoon of vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 300ml of soy milk (or other of your choice)
  • Pinch of salt and nutmeg
  • 100g shredded cheese (I used Tesco’s free from Italian hard cheese)

Steps:

1.Preheat your oven to 180°C and on a baking tray line a parchment paper.

2.Cut the aubergines in half and slightly score them with a knife.

3.Add all the spices and oil and coat the aubergines. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

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4.In a medium size pot, on a medium low heat, sauté the onions, garlic, peppers and carrots in a splash of olive oil, until golden. This will take 8-10 minutes.

5.Continue with the mince, tomato paste, soy sauce and bay leaf and sauté for another minute or so.

6.Add the tomato passata, all the herbs and a splash of water. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remember to try the seasoning!

7.In a small pot, on a medium heat, melt the butter and continue with the flour, stir using a whisk.

8.Once the flour its mixed with the butter add the milk in batches, stirring constantly. After few minutes you should have a creamy sauce.

9.Finish by adding the salt and nutmeg.

10.The aubergines and mince must be ready by now. Remove the aubergines from the oven and check if they are soft using a fork.

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11.Push the aubergine flesh inside and then scoop it and add it in the mince.

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12.Combine the mince with the aubergine flesh and then add few tablespoons of the mince mixture in each aubergine, cover with some béchamel and then cheese.

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13.Once you fill all the aubergines bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

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Enjoy hot or cold. I like to serve them with a Greek salad, some yogurt and bread!

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Happy cooking everyone!

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