Cheesy Eggplant Casserole with Ground Turkey

Comfort food made healthy, this cheesy eggplant casserole layers eggplant with protein-rich turkey and mozzarella. The best part? It bakes up in 30 minutes!

As I was planning for recipes this fall, I realized I didn’t have that many casserole recipes on my site. Time to change that! I love making casseroles for a hearty, family sized meal. We love leftovers so I often make a casserole like this for just the two of us and we enjoy leftovers for a couple of nights. It’s the best.

Baking dish of a cheesy eggplant casserole topped with cheese and fresh parsley.

This is also the perfect recipe to bring to new parents or friends and family that are in need of a meal. It feels like baby girl is going to make her arrival any day now and I know I’d happily accept this meal when I’m running on empty!

You can bring just this casserole or whip up a simple side salad to pair with it for a complete meal.

Spatula lifting a slice of cheesy eggplant casserole out of the casserole dish.

What Does Eggplant Taste Like?

If you’ve never tried eggplant before, don’t be scared! You will love eggplant in no time. It has a really mild flavor and when cooked properly, takes on the surrounding flavors of the dish. You can leave the skin on or peel it if you prefer. I find that the skins gets really soft when eggplant is baked in a casserole like this so I never take the time to peel it.

Eggplant is a super simple vegetable to work with. One thing to note with eggplant is that it holds a lot of water. In order to make sure the casserole doesn’t end up soupy or extra watery, you simply sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices ahead of time to pull the water from it.

Casserole dish with turkey meat sauce layered with slices of eggplant.

Ingredients in Eggplant Casserole

  • eggplant
  • turkey
  • marinara sauce – I look for marinara sauce with no sugar added. Three brands I like: Muir Glen, Rao’s Homemade and Primal Kitchen.
  • cheese – we’re using shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • spices – I kept it simple with salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning.

Sheet pan with slices of eggplant with salt on them, preparing for the casserole.

How to Make this Eggplant Casserole

Start by cutting your eggplant into slices. Place on a flat surface and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. This allows the water to be pulled out of the eggplant, making sure that the casserole doesn’t end up super watery. Blot the eggplant slices with a paper towel.

To make your sauce, sauté your garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat and then add the ground turkey along with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Break up the turkey as it cooks. When the turkey is no longer pink, add the tomato sauce to the pan and stir to combine.

It’s time to build your casserole! Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a little turkey sauce into the bottom of the pan and add a layer of eggplant slices. Top with half the turkey sauce mixture, add another layer of eggplant and top with the remaining turkey sauce. Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. The tin foil keeps the cheese from getting too browned! Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Serving of cheesy eggplant turkey casserole on a plate with a green salad.

More Casserole Recipes You Might Enjoy!

If you make this turkey eggplant casserole, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how it turns out. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers.

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Baking dish of a cheesy eggplant casserole topped with cheese and fresh parsley.

Turkey Eggplant Casserole


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

Comfort food made healthy, this cheesy eggplant casserole layers eggplant with protein-rich turkey and mozzarella. The best part? It bakes up in 30 minutes!


Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • sea salt

Turkey Sauce

  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 24 oz jar marinara sauce (any flavor)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into slices, place on a baking sheet or platter and sprinkle salt on both sides. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Discard up any water released from the eggplant slices and blot any remaining water with a paper towel.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Heat 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil in large sauté pan. Once hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ground turkey into the pan, season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook, breaking turkey apart until turkey is cooked through and no longer pink, about 10-15 minutes. Add sauce to the pan and combine. Remove from heat.
  4. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a little sauce into the bottom of the pan and add a layer of eggplant. Top with half the turkey sauce mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, top with the remaining turkey sauce mixture. Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese.
  5. Cover eggplant bake with foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.
  6. Serve with grated parmesan.
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 210
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 460mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 19g

Keywords: eggplant casserole

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    29 comments
    1. Yailyn
      December 20, 2020 AT 6:58 pm

      Tried this tonight and OH MY LANTA. It was a hit! Definitely going to put this on our menu rotation for dinners!💛

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 20, 2020 AT 11:35 pm

        Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear. Thanks for making my recipe and for comin gback to leave a review. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    2. Nathalie C.
      October 25, 2020 AT 5:04 pm

      I just made this recipe last night – I think I may have sliced my eggplant too thick – they were hardly cooked when I took them out. I added a full can of stewed tomatoes and some chick peas and am cooking it some more today.I’ll let you know how it turns out.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 25, 2020 AT 11:52 pm

        Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that, Nathalie. How’d it turn out once you cooked it some more?

    3. John K.
      August 29, 2020 AT 8:08 pm

      Delicious! This is my first eggplant recipe, but it won’t be my last. I think I should have cooked it a bit longer to make the eggplant softer. Do you think other vegetables like zucchini or summer swash would work as well?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 30, 2020 AT 7:24 pm

        Hey John! So glad you enjoyed this recipe!! Thanks for making it. I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would work just fine with yellow squash or zucchini. Let me know if you try it. 🙂

    4. KACIE
      August 21, 2020 AT 5:34 pm

      Super easy to make and delicious! This was the first meal we’ve tried with eggplant! We’ve added this to our weekly meal rotation. Tastes like lasagna!

    5. Linda
      August 10, 2020 AT 9:35 am

      Trying this today, gonna add onion mushrooms, should be great. Thank you

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 10, 2020 AT 9:45 pm

        Let me know how it turns out for you, Linda!

    6. Ellen S.
      June 25, 2020 AT 10:05 am

      I have to agree with some of the other comments. Mine turned out a bit soupy. However, I left it in the oven uncovered for an extra ten minutes and then let it sit for a bit before I served it and it wasn’t too bad. The flavor was outstanding! The only thing I did differently was saute some onion with my garlic. Bottom line, it was delicious even though it was a little messy/watery. Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 25, 2020 AT 11:42 pm

        Hey Ellen – sorry to hear that this turned out a little watery for you. Did you let the eggplant slices sit with salt for 20-30 minutes and discard / blot up the excess water that was released?

    7. Irene
      May 29, 2020 AT 1:08 pm

      Love your recipes! It tasted great! The eggplant was stil very watery. Next time i think i will leave the tin foil off and only cover it when it gets to dark.

    8. Victoria
      March 16, 2020 AT 7:14 pm

      Fantastic recipe for a cozy self-isolation meal! We let the eggplant weep all afternoon because we were working from home. Perfect texture, taste, and presentation! We will be making this again and again. Thanks for the inspiration.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 17, 2020 AT 1:29 pm

        Ahh yay! So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Victoria! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment and star rating, I so appreciate it!

    9. Barbara K.
      February 7, 2020 AT 12:41 pm

      I’ve made your eggplant parmesan several times now, and decided to give this recipe a try for more protein. After 30 minutes in the over, the eggplant was nowhere to being cooked through (I sliced it thinly and let it rest with salt for over 35 minutes). Next time, I’ll bake the eggplant slices first like in the eggplant parm. Otherwise this is a great recipe.

    10. Tiegan
      January 24, 2020 AT 11:53 am

      My boyfriend and I meal-prep on Sundays and this is the best thing we have made so far! We’ve eaten it most nights this week and have loved it every time! Perfect!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 24, 2020 AT 12:45 pm

        Ahh yay! I love hearing that, Tiegan! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment + star rating, I so appreciate it! <3

    11. Kara Maple
      November 3, 2019 AT 6:10 pm

      This was awesome. I put cheese in between the layers with the eggplant (mostly because I wasn’t paying close attention to the recipe) but it turned out great. Extra cheese cant ever be bad. Lol

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 4, 2019 AT 1:12 pm

        Extra cheese is definitely never a bad thing!! 🙂 I’m so glad you tried and enjoyed this recipe, Kara. And thanks so much for taking the time to come back and leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it!

    12. Aga Cary
      November 1, 2019 AT 12:19 pm

      Possibly prepping this for post baby arrival. How do you think it would hold in the freezer?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        November 1, 2019 AT 4:14 pm

        I haven’t tried freezing this yet, but I think it could be just fine in the freezer!

    13. Christie
      October 28, 2019 AT 10:22 pm

      Great, versatile, leftovers! I subbed lean ground beef and added some Parmesan to the mozzarella… delish and sinple!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 29, 2019 AT 11:39 am

        Yay, so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Christie. 🙂 I’m sure it was delicious with the ground beef and you can’t ever go wrong with adding more cheese! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and star rating. It means the world to me!

    14. Daria
      October 27, 2019 AT 10:12 am

      Delicious and easy – my family and guests loved it!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 27, 2019 AT 11:09 am

        Woo-hoo! So happy to hear that, Daria. Thank you for coming back to leave a comment and star rating, I so appreciate it!

    15. Carla
      October 15, 2019 AT 7:53 am

      is it possible to prep this dish ahead of time and leave in the fridge until ready to bake? If so, how long would the cold casserole bake?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 15, 2019 AT 7:54 am

        Hi Carla! I think that should be totally fine. It should bake up around the same time (25 minutes)… maybe 5-10 minutes longer.

    16. Shelly
      October 13, 2019 AT 12:07 am

      How many slices of eggplant
      Do you need
      Thank you

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 13, 2019 AT 10:14 am

        It kind of depends, but I’d estimate around 8 to 10 slices.

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