Turkish Stuffed Eggplant – Karniyarik

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

The recipe for baked eggplant stuffed with minced meat is an excellent way to use this maybe not so common, but an amazing and healthy vegetable. This recipe is very popular in Turkey, where it is called Karniyarik (it translates to split belly). If you would like to try a stuffed eggplant recipe without meat, let me know in the comments.

Karniyarik or baked eggplant is usually made with minced beef, but you can also use minced lamb. Lamb goes also well with eggplant, maybe even better than beef. Furthermore, you could try also pork but Karniyarik as a part of Turkish cuisine is not consumed with pork for religious reasons.


How to choose the right eggplant

One of the most important factors in a recipe for baked eggplant is choosing the right eggplants. Try to avoid large pieces and look for smaller and longer eggplants. These should have fewer seeds and will take shorter to cook.

If you already have selected eggplants, you can decide between two ways to pre-cook them. You can fry them in a pan or bake them in the oven. But before that, it is necessary to prepare the eggplant. Cut the stems and peel the four strips equally spaced apart along each eggplant.

Salt them all generously and let them stand for about 20 minutes. Not only the eggplant softens nicely, but the salt also removes the mild bitterness. After that, dry each piece with a kitchen towel to remove excess liquid.


Pan or oven

You can bake the prepared eggplants in the oven or fry them in a pan (approx. 10 minutes). The more traditional way is frying them in a pan, but I prefer pre-baking in the oven. In fact, I don’t like seeing them floating in a pan full of oil.

Besides that, we will bake them later in the oven with our ready-made tasty filling as well. However, if you opt for the first version, do not forget to have kitchen paper ready, on which you place fried eggplants to absorb excess oil.

While your eggplants are baking, prepare the filling. When the filling is ready and the eggplants are pre-baked, cut them gently on one side. However, be careful not to cut them completely through. Season the inside with some salt and stuff them with the delicious filling.

Finally, you can decorate karniyarik with some peppers. Pour in tomato sauce and bake at 180˚C in the oven for about 35 minutes. Your fantastic stuffed baked eggplant is ready!

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Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant – Karniyarik

  • Author: Cook Homey
  • Total Time: 80 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x


Traditional and popular Turkish dish. Rich, juicy and simply delicious!


  • 5 eggplants (long and thin, they tend to have less meat and seeds)
  • 500g beef or lamb (minced)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tomatoes or 1 can (San Marzano)
  • 2 sweet green (or red) peppers
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp cumin (ground)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Bunch of parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C / 350˚F. Prepare your eggplants by washing them and peeling 4 strips from the skin lengthways. Transfer into a baking dish, season with salt and brush with oil. Bake for cca 40 minutes. (You can also fry them in a pan).
  2. Now the filling. Sautée onion in some olive oil, add your minced beef, break it up and cook until brown.
  3. Add cumin and a pinch of cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. Add thinly sliced garlic and diced pepper.
  4. Add tomato purée and sautée for a couple of minutes, then add your diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add chopped parsley and turn off the heat.
  5. When your eggplants are cool enough to handle, cut directly through the middle of the peeled part, but not all the way through! After that, stuff with the beef mixture generously and place them into a baking dish.
  6. Lastly, make a tomato sauce. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and sautée 1 tbsp of tomato purée. Add 2 cups of chicken stock or hot water. Reduce a little bit until smooth. Pour over the eggplants.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven (180˚C) for about 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with some basmati rice.


I prefer pre-baking the eggplants in the oven.

Cut the stems and peel the four strips equally spaced apart along each eggplant.

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Turkish

Keywords: Karniyarik, Turkish stuffed eggplant, stuffed aubergines

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I’m Juraj and I come from Slovakia. It’s a small country in the heart of Europe. I believe you all love food and cooking as much as I do. On this blog you will find a variety of recipes that you can easily and joyfully prepare at home.

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