Lamb and aubergine bake recipe

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  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Pasta types
  • Spaghetti

This Greek-inspired dish stays true to a hallmark of Greece's cuisine – it's simple but wonderfully flavoured. The ingredients are similar to moussaka but with some pasta included.

52 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 400g lean minced lamb
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • 200ml lamb or vegetable stock
  • 2 (400g) tins chopped tomatoes
  • small handful chopped fresh mint
  • small handful chopped fresh dill (optional)
  • 300g spaghetti, broken into short lengths
  • 300g low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

MethodPrep:40min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Brown the lamb in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft. Then add the aubergine and stock and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until the aubergine is tender.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, half the mint and dill, if using. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas 4).
  3. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain. Beat together the yoghurt and egg in a small bowl.
  4. Stir the drained pasta into the lamb mixture, then spoon into a large baking dish, measuring about 28 x 18cm. Spoon the yoghurt mixture over the top and bake for a further 20–25 minutes until piping hot. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and dill just before serving.


In Greece, dishes similar to this are made with orzo, a small tear-shaped pasta. Use in place of the broken spaghetti, if you have a packet, or you could use long-grain rice.

Serve with a salad of lightly cooked green beans tossed with thinly sliced red onions.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (2)

Lovely recipe. Really enjoyed. Wasn't sure bout topping until I ate it, it worked! Kids thought saucy bit was nice but didn't go down quite as well as a spag boo! Lol def will try again though. X-11 May 2014

:Made this last night, it was delicious and easy to prepare. Not too sure about sauce topping.Will certainly make again.-21 Feb 2013

Lamb & Aubergine Curry

Lamb and aubergine pair perfectly in this tasty curry. Delicious served with Tilda Pure Basmati.



  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large deep -sided pan and fry the lamb in batches, then set aside.
  2. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the same pan and fry the aubergine until brown. Then set aside.
  3. Put the ginger, garlic and onions into a food processor and whizz to form a paste.
  4. Heat the final 2 tbsp of oil in a large deep-sided frying pan and add the ginger and garlic mixture with the green chillies. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chilli powder and fry for a further 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree and garam masala.
  7. Add the lamb and aubergine to the sauce and add just enough water to cover both. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour 30 mins or until the meat is tender.
  8. Check the curry every 15 mins. If it looks dry, add a little more water.
  9. Serve with Tilda Basmati rice, lime and fresh coriander.

Discover Similar Recipes

Moussaka (lamb and aubergine bake)

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until they are soft and golden and remove from the pan.

In the same pan, add the minced lamb and fry on high until the meat is brown and loose.

Make sure that there are no lumps, add a drop of oil if you really need to, but try to do this on the pan without the oil because lamb is quite fatty.

Add the wine, the garlic cloves, the tomatoes, the cinnamon and the oregano and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes.

Cut the stalks off the aubergines and cut them lengthways into ½ cm thick slices.

Heat up the oil in a large saucepan until it&rsquos hot, add a splash of olive oil and fry the aubergine slices quickly until they are just soft and lightly coloured on each side.

Lift them out with tongs and start to layer over the base of a large (about 2,5 litre) ovenproof dish and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Continue layering until all the aubergines are used up, adding more oil to fry should this be necessary.

To make the topping, melt the butter in a non-stick pan, add the flour and cook over a medium heat for a minute or so to cook the flour.

Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to the boil, stirring swiftly (as you would any white sauce) and leave to simmer very gently until it is thick, whisking more often that not.

Stir in the cheese and check and correct the seasoning to taste, allow the sauce to cool and beat in the eggs.

Remove the cinnamon stick and black cardamom pods from the lamb sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon it over the top of the aubergines.

Pour over the topping and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden-brown and bubbling.

Rick Stein's lamb-stuffed aubergines with Manchego cheese recipe

I must say I took a bit of poetic licence with my stuffed aubergines. That&rsquos not to say the people of La Mancha don&rsquot stuff them, because they do, but I oiled and salted halved aubergines and baked them in the oven until tender, then made a ragu with minced lamb, red pepper, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg and mixed that with the scooped-out aubergine flesh, filled the cases and sprinkled them with Manchego cheese before baking again. I have to say they are flying out of the door at our deli.


  • 4 Aubergines, each weighing about 275g
  • 6 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Large red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1.5 tsp Freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika)
  • 1 Large pinch of crushed dried chillies
  • 500 g Minced lamb
  • 6 tbsp Tomato sauce (ideally freshly made)
  • 100 g Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 Good pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Aubergines, each weighing about 275g
  • 6 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Large red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1.5 tsp Freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika)
  • 1 Large pinch of crushed dried chillies
  • 17.6 oz Minced lamb
  • 6 tbsp Tomato sauce (ideally freshly made)
  • 3.5 oz Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 Good pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Aubergines, each weighing about 275g
  • 6 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Large red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1.5 tsp Freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Pimentón dulce (smoked sweet Spanish paprika)
  • 1 Large pinch of crushed dried chillies
  • 17.6 oz Minced lamb
  • 6 tbsp Tomato sauce (ideally freshly made)
  • 3.5 oz Manchego cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 Good pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Recipe Type: Main
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Preparation Time: 20 mins
  • Cooking Time: 70 mins
  • Serves: 4


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Cut each aubergine lengthways through the stalk, then score the flesh in a tight criss-cross pattern, taking the knife through the flesh down to the skin, but taking care not to cut through the skin. Place them side by side on a baking tray and drizzle each half with 11/2 teaspoons of the oil, season with salt and bake for about 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft and tender but not browned.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper and spices and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the minced lamb and fry for 3-4 minutes or until all the meat is lightly browned. Stir in the tomato sauce and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the aubergines from the oven and increase the temperature to 220°C/gas 7. Using a dessertspoon, carefully scoop most of the flesh out of the baked aubergine halves, leaving the skins with a layer of flesh about 1cm thick. Stir the flesh into the lamb mixture with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into each aubergine shell and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake for 9-10 minutes until golden brown.

Also worth your attention:

Book: Rick Stein's Spain published by BBC Books

Photographs copyright James Murphy


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Karniyarik: Turkish Stuffed Aubergine with Lamb

There are so many stuffed aubergine dishes, and from so many parts of the world, that you could probably eat a different one every week.

From Spanish berenjenas rellenas stuffed with a meat and tomato sauce topped with cheese, Italian melanzane ripiene with pork and beef or a simple stale bread and cheese filling, to various versions of imam bayildi with tomato, garlic and onions and whose name (which translates as ‘the priest fainted’) is said to refer either to its incredible deliciousness or the amount of expensive olive oil it contains.

But Turkish karniyarik with lamb, mild spicing and a hint of chilli is certainly my favourite right now.

Karniyarik literally means ‘split belly’ in Turkish. And exactly why should be pretty obvious as you read about how to make this simple but outstandingly tasty dish.


It took me a long time to learn to love aubergines. Growing up in a medium-sized town in the seventies and early eighties, you didn’t see them anyway.

I started cooking at around the age of fourteen, but really didn’t enjoy aubergines for years.

I think that was because, undercooked, they’re a horrible spongey nightmare. But, baked to melting softness like in this karniyarik, I reckon even the aubergine-phobic could be converted.

Aubergines can sometimes be bitter, although I’ve rarely found this to be the case.

Nevertheless, just in case, most aubergine recipes start with salting them and leaving to rest a while. This helps to draw out any bitter juices and starts the process of softening.

For karniyarik, we take one medium aubergine per person, cut it in half lengthways and then make a long slit, without going all the way through. The cut side is sprinkled with a little salt and set aside for around twenty minutes.

After a quick wipe, they’re browned in olive oil and are then ready to stuff and bake.


Traditionally, karniyarik can be stuffed with beef or lamb. It may or may not contain spices.

My preference is for lamb, and specifically the excellent mince I get in my lamb box from Troutsdale Farm . From slow-grown, heritage Shropshire breed sheep, the lamb is full-flavoured and pairs beautifully with the cumin, cinnamon, and chilli. If you can get it, mutton would work beautifully too.

The aubergine filling is simple enough to make. You start off by softening onions and garlic in olive oil and then add in the lamb to brown it.

Next are the spices, shortly followed by tinned tomatoes. Everything is then bubbled until it’s nicely thick and reduced.

All that’s left to do then is spoon the spicy lamb mince into the aubergines. I like plenty of mince, so just spoon over the top any I can’t squeeze in.

Before the karniyarik goes into the oven, I put the traditional slice of tomato and green pepper on top of each aubergine half.


Many karniyarik recipes pour over a mix of tomato puree and water, or olive oil and water, before baking.

I don’t bother with this as I think the juicy lamb in its lip-smacking sauce is moist enough.

To bake, I pop a tent of kitchen foil over the top to keep all those juices in and cook for around 40 minutes. I take the foil off for a further 10 minutes of cooking so that everything is nicely browned.

You’re going to want to eat this hot so, while the karniyarik’s in the oven, get all your accompaniments ready.


Karniyarik is traditionally served with rice or a rice pilaf, although I prefer the nuttiness of bulgur wheat. I also love how it just needs soaking in boiling water to cook it.

After rinsing and draining, you can set the bulgur aside until you’re ready to eat.

To flavour the bulgur, I brown some pine nuts in butter with a little cinnamon, throw in dried fruit like apricots and raisins plus frozen peas, then stir these into the bulgur. A quick ping in the microwave and it’s ready.

Alongside the bulgur and karniyarik, I like a mixed salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing, plus cacık (the Turkish version of tzatziki): yogurt that has had garlic, salt, cucumber, and mint stirred into it.

From relatively simple ingredients, I think this makes quite a feast.

While there may be lots of stuffed aubergine dishes from around the world, for me there’s something about Karniyarik’s particular blend of flavours that’s just right.

Have you made Karniyarik? Leave a comment & let me know what you think.

Turkish Inspired Lamb & Grains Stuffed Aubergine

Delicious aromatic spiced lamb and our Turkish inspired Couscous and Grains work perfectly with the mild smokiness of baked aubergine in this dish. It’s a flavour-packed meal that’s simple enough to make for a mid-week meal and delicious enough to serve as a treat.


Preheat the oven to 200c/180 fan/Gas 6

Cut the ends from the each of the aubergines and cut each into 3, leaving you with 6 thick disks.

Carefully hollow out the aubergine flesh from the centre leaving ½ cm of flesh around the edge – leaving you with 6 hollow cylinders. Chop the aubergine flesh into small chunks.

Place the hollowed-out aubergines onto a lined baking tray and brush the inside with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped aubergine flesh, onion, garlic and pepper and cook gently for 10-12 minutes until the onion and aubergine are softened. Increase the heat and add the minced lamb. Cook for 5-6 minutes stirring all the time until the lamb is browned all over. Add the passata and Ainsley Harriott Couscous & Grains and seasonto taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring now and then.

Divide the mixture between the baked aubergine shells, pressing it down and piling it high so it sits above the top of the aubergine. Top with the grated cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the dressing, simply mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Traditional Lamb Moussaka

To celebrate our recent first-year wedding anniversary, we headed to the (now thankfully open!) pub to celebrate. We drank plenty of wine and ate a lot of Greek food. This feast reminded me exactly how much I love Greek food, and also how infrequently I make it at home. Greek food is incredibly delicious and rarely fussy. It uses simple, Mediterranean flavours but makes them work so that although you may not have a long ingredient list, you still have an abundance of flavour. Take my lamb moussaka recipe, for example! Few spices, but a lot of flavours.

Inspired by the recent pub-trip, I decided to make this lamb moussaka over the weekend. Back in Australia, this was one of my go-to entertaining recipes. Yet for some reason, I had never made it since moving to the UK! So, after hunting through my old recipes, I finally found my delicious lamb moussaka recipe, and got cooking!

Although my recipe calls for lamb mince, you can easily swap this out for lean beef mince if you’d prefer. Unless you’re making your own lamb mince, it can lean towards the fattier side, meaning a very oily moussaka. Not desirable at all. So, lean beef mince is a wonderful option if you’re looking for a leaner option. Otherwise, simply skim or pour off any fat the lamb releases as it cooks, to keep your moussaka delicious – not oily.

My recipe also calls for dry red wine. However, if you have no wine on hand you can buy “Red wine” stockpots from most supermarkets – just add the whole stock pot (no water needed) to get that rich red wine flavour.

Regarding the aubergine, you want to slice these as evenly as possible, and not too thick, about 1/2 a cm I find is the best width and fries to perfection. Adding salt as you fry the aubergine helps to draw out the bitterness and the excess water, meaning gorgeously golden slices.

Finally, rather than using bechamel (which is quite calorific), I use creme fraiche. This is quite similar to sour cream, but I find a lot lighter flavour wise. It adds an extra depth to the moussaka and adds a really unique and interesting flavour that compliments the lamb and aubergine delightfully.

If you have any other questions regarding today’s recipe, let me know in the comments!

Lamb kleftiko with roasted aubergine

Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 2. Place the potatoes with the lamb, onions, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, half of the parsley and all of the stock in a large casserole dish (with lid). Mix well, then layer the tomatoes over the top, season to taste, cover and bake for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, halve the aubergines lengthways and score the flesh in a diamond pattern (taking care not to cut through the skin), then lay on a baking tray. In a small bowl, mix the oil with the crushed garlic and brush over the aubergine flesh.

Turn the oven temperature up to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4 and place the baking tray with the aubergines in the oven alongside the casserole for the last 30-40 minutes of the lamb cooking time.

Dust the roasted aubergine with smoked paprika, drizzle with yogurt and sprinkle over mint leaves. Serve the aubergines with the lamb kleftiko, sprinkling the remaining parsley over the lamb.

Classic moussaka

Layers of minced lamb, potato and aubergine, covered in white sauce and baked to make the classic Greek dish moussaka. Greek salad is all you need on the side.

Published: May 19, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Make this classic moussaka for a comforting dinner and accompany with a Greek salad or pick your favourite from our easy Greek recipes to create a Mediterranean-style spread. Then check out our veggie moussaka and other aubergine recipes.

What is moussaka?

Moussaka is a traditional dish of baked sliced aubergines with a tomato and meat (usually lamb) sauce and an egg-enriched béchamel topping. It’s most commonly associated with Greece (where most of us probably first tried it on holiday) but versions of it exist in lots of other countries including Turkey, Egypt and the Balkans.

Many recipes include a layer of cooked, sliced, potatoes – this gives the moussaka a little more bulk and structure and if you are cooking for a crowd it will make everything go a bit further but if you don’t want to add the extra carbs it works equally as well without.

How do you make the best moussaka?

The trick to a perfect moussaka is getting the aubergine slices lovely and tender before you bake them with the sauce. This means they soak up all of the rich flavour and the finished texture is meltingly tender. Undercooked aubergines are spongy and unpleasant so make sure you don’t skip this step.

How do you make the béchamel topping?

The topping for a moussaka is a thick béchamel sauce which is beaten with eggs. Get the sauce nice and smooth before the eggs are added (use a whisk) and season it quite heavily as otherwise it can be bland. The eggs mean that the topping soufflés up in the oven and goes a lovely deep golden brown when cooked.

How do you serve moussaka?

It’s important to leave the moussaka to sit before you serve it up as it’s easier to keep the shape if it’s not molten hot. 10-15 minutes is fine (Alex can we change that on recipe) but it’ll still be hot after 30 minutes sitting. In Greece it’s often served just warm.

Which spices are in moussaka?

The classic spice in a moussaka is cinnamon. You might think it’s strange to add what is traditionally a sweet spice to a savoury dish but it works brilliantly with rich lamb and tomatoes and gives the sauce its distinctive flavour.

Easy moussaka recipe


  • aubergines 2 large or 3 smaller, sliced
  • olive oil
  • potatoes 4, peeled and sliced
  • onion 1 large, finely chopped
  • garlic 2 cloves, crushed
  • minced lamb 750g
  • cinnamon 2 tsp
  • red wine a glass
  • passata 1 × 600ml bottle
  • butter 75g
  • flour 75g
  • milk 600ml
  • eggs 2
  • green salad to serve


Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and season, put them in a single layer on non-stick baking sheets (you’ll probably need 2 large ones). Cook for 30-40 minutes, turning once, until the aubergines are tender and golden.


First prepare the aubergine.

You need to get rid of some of its excess juice, so slice it in quarters lengthways then slice each quarter in two lengthways, then finally cut these across into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces. Now spread them out on a plate, sprinkle them with about a teaspoon of salt, and then toss them around in the salt.

Place them in a colander, press them down with a small plate and weight this down with a heavy scale-weight or something similar.

Leave for 20 minutes, then transfer the aubergine pieces to a clean tea-cloth, squeezing each handful to extract as much of the juice as possible – then dry them in the cloth.

Now heat the oil in a small flameproof casserole and fry the onion in it for 5 minutes, then add the aubergine pieces and fry these, stirring them around in the oil until they begin to colour.

Next add the garlic, oregano and cinnamon. Stir and cook for a few more seconds before adding the tomatoes. Mix everything together and season well with salt and pepper.

Next, sit the lamb chops on top of the vegetables, season and brush them with a little oil from the vegetables, then place the casserole (without a lid) in the oven for about 30 minutes – or until the lamb is cooked to your liking.

Then serve the chops with the aubergines spooned over and a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.