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Sheikh el Mahshi- Succulent Stuffed Eggplant infused and filled with spiced ground beef and onion mixture, topped with toasted pine nuts. These mini stuffed eggplants are then baked in a rich tomato sauce until meltingly tender.
What is Sheikh el Mahshi?
Sheikh translates to “the head of a tribe” and Mahshi translates to “stuffed” in Arabic. This Lebanese stuffed eggplant recipe is considered the star of all stuffed dishes. I can understand why! It’s one of the best ways to enjoy eggplants !
Lebanese cuisine is well known for stuffing vegetables recipes. Name a vegetable, and I’ll find you the recipe for stuffing it; like Kousa bil Laban- Stuffed Zucchini with Yogurt Sauce, Lebanese Beef Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms, Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves and Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini- Kousa Mahshi.
Ingredients to Make Sheikh el Mahshi:
My full recipe card is at the bottom of this post.
Eggplants: I like to use small eggplants for this recipe as they cook better. They are also softer and more tender compared to globe eggplants. Small Italian eggplants are perfect for this recipe.
Ground beef: Lean ground beef (85%) is perfect for stuffed eggplants. Some use ground lamb beef or a combination of both.
Onion: Diced yellow onions or white onions would work in this recipe.
Middle Eastern spices: such as all spice, cinnamon, and black pepper.
Fresh tomatoes: or alternatively a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes.
Tomato paste: thinned with water.
Pine nuts: optional.
How to Make Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant:
Prepare Eggplants for Roasting:
Traditionally, the eggplant is deep fried to make sheikh el mahshi. I prefer roasting it.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a baking sheet with cooking spay.
- Leaving the stem of the eggplants intact, and starting at the top, cut a stripe down to the bottom, leaving half an inch space at the top and bottom.
- Arrange striped eggplants on baking sheet and brush with olive oil, until every eggplant is well coated and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until eggplants are soft.
Prepare the Mahshi Stuffing:
- In a non stick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and add diced onions and salt. Cook for for 8-10 minutes, or until wilted but not browned.
- Add ground beef and spices and mix well with onions, stirring frequently to break the beef into small pieces, cook for 10- 15 minutes or until beef is fully cooked through. set aside.
Prepare the Pine Nuts- If using:
- In a small pan, over medium low heat, heat olive oil, add the pine nuts and cook for 5- 7 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently to prevent them from getting burned- set aside.
Stuff the Eggplants with the Stuffing Mixture:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Once the eggplants are safe to handle, using your hands hollow a pocket in each eggplant, starting from the slit.
- Fill each eggplant with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the meat filling.
- Arrange on baking sheet and sprinkle with roasted pine nuts and diced tomatoes.
- In a measuring cup, thin tomato sauce with 1.5-2 cups of water and pour all over and around the stuffed eggplants.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until the eggplants are fork tender.
- Serve over Lebanese Rice and enjoy!
What to serve with Sheikh el Mahshi:
This Lebanese mahshi dish is a delicious complete meal on its own, but is best enjoyed with Lebanese rice.