Cheesy Eggplant Casserole with Ground Turkey

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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 skin 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 – when picking an eggplant, make sure yours is firm but not hard. It should be smooth and shiny, not dull which means its turning bitter and it should be a rich, dark purple color with even coloring and no streaking. Eggplants are full of moisture so after slicing be sure to sprinkle with salt and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • turkey – a lean protein option, but ground beef will work too. You can also use tofu or mashed chickpeas for a vegetarian option.
  • marinara sauce – I look for marinara sauce with no sugar added. Three brands I like are Muir Glen, Rao’s Homemade and Primal Kitchen.
  • cheese – we’re using shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • spices – a little 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

Pre-cook eggplant Start by cutting your eggplant into slices. Cut the eggplant widthwise (into rounds) about 1/4-1/3 inch thick. Brush, rub or spray a little olive oil on each side of the eggplant slices and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking stone. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until eggplant is hot and starting to cook down. Remove from oven.

Make sauce 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.

Build casserole 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.

Bake – Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. The foil keeps the cheese from getting too browned! Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Serve Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

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

How to Serve

This casserole is hearty and filling on its own, but here are some serving suggestions:

More Casserole Recipes You Might Enjoy!

Pasta Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out the full collection of dinner recipes and ground turkey recipes on EBF!

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4.39 from 104 votes

Turkey Eggplant Casserole

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!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

  • 1 eggplant
  • sea salt and pepper,, to taste

Turkey Sauce

  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce, any flavor
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese,, to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cut the eggplant widthwise (into rounds) about 1/4-1/3 inch thick. Brush, rub or spray a little olive oil on each side of the eggplant slices and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking stone. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until eggplant is hot and starting to cook down. Remove from oven.
  • Meanwhile, heat ½ 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 minutes. Add sauce to the pan and combine. Remove from heat.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a little of the turkey sauce into the bottom of the pan and then 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 the mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake eggplant dish uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Cheese should be melted and bubbly. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes and serve
  • Serve with grated parmesan and toasted bread.

Nutrition

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: eggplant casserole
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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Recipe Rating




50 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    How many points is this meal. It looks yummy, but I need to know how many points it is, also I went into my ww app and put the name in and it doesn’t even come up

    Thank you,
    Irene

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday and love the result. Delicious and nutritious. Exactly what I needed for a post workout high in protein meal! Tastes great too!

    1. WOO! I am excited to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, Mariya! Thank you for your review & star rating, I so appreciate it.

    1. Yay! So glad it turned out for you. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review, Maria. I so appreciate it!

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this in the slow cooker because it is SO hot this summer I did not want to warm up my whole house, it was divine! I blended up some parsley, garlic and onion and a splash of chicken broth to sear the turkey, a little olive oil, salt, oregano and pepper. Once brown, I removed the excess water and mixed in marinara sauce. I lined the slow cooker with paper towel to soak up the moisture and cooked in high for 4 hrs. I layered eggplant and turkey as you instructed, everything else I did the same as your recipe. So freaking good, thanks for the inspiration!

    1. WOO! This is amazing, Rocio! I am so glad you’re loving this recipe and it turns out great for you. Love that you were able to make it in the slow cooker, too! Thanks so much for coming back and sharing your review & star rating, I so appreciate it!

  4. 5 stars
    this was SO YUMMY 🤤 and very quick/uncomplicated to throw together. loved it & will continue to add this into my small (but growing!) healthy cooking repertoire 🙂

    1. Ah yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Kaity. I am glad you’re loving this casserole and it turned out great of you. Thank you for your review + star rating, I really appreciate it!

    1. Great! So happy you are loving this recipe, Barbara! Thanks for sharing your review + star rating, I really appreciate it!

  5. Brittany, cooking this and realize your blog says to bake this 25 mins covered and 5 minutes uncovered, while the “recipe section” says 15-20 mins uncovered. Please explain.

    1. Hi! So sorry about that Leah, the correct bake time is 15-20 minutes and then 5 uncovered. I just updated the post. Hope it turned out great!

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