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stuffed peppers and eggplant with tomato sauce piled on a platter

Stuffed Eggplant and Peppers in Tomato Sauce

Eggplant and peppers stuffed with my mom's meatball filling and simmered in tomato sauce until tender. This is my idea of the perfect fall dinner! Serve the tomato sauce with your favorite pasta as a first course to complete this delicious meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Sicilian-Italian
Keyword stuffed eggplant and peppers in tomato sauce, Italian stuffed vegetables
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 - 6 servings
Calories 970kcal


  • 4 baby eggplant
  • 4 cubanelle peppers
  • 1 best Italian meatball recipe follow the recipe for the meatballs (without the tomato sauce) and reduce the amount of ground meat to 225 grams (1/2 lb)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 potatoes peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 garlic clove slivered
  • 2 cups tomato passata (tomato purée)
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

For serving (option)

  • package of pasta of your choice cooked


Prepare the eggplant and peppers:

  • Wash and dry the eggplant well, or they will splatter in the hot oil later on. Trim off the stem and use a fork to hollow out the inside of the eggplant twisting the fork in a circular motion around the edge of the eggplant. Remove the flesh, chop and set aside.
    For the peppers, wash, dry, remove the stem and as many seeds as you can remove by reaching in with a spoon to scoop them out.
  • Roughly chop the eggplant flesh and sauté in a medium sized pan with about 2 tbsp olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. 

Prepare the meatball filling:

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs, that is the ground meat; fresh breadcrumbs; grated Parmigiano/Pecorino Romano cheeses; garlic; parsley; eggs and salt and pepper.  Remember to reduce the amount of ground meat to 225 grams. Add the cooked eggplant flesh and stir all ingredients to combine well.

Stuff the eggplant and peppers:

  • Use your fingers to fill the eggplant and peppers. Do not fill until the top and do not pack the filling too tight or it will ooze out when cooking. If you happen to have extra meatball filling, shape into small meatballs.

To cook:

  • Add oil to a wide, deep pan and place the vegetables filling side down to brown them. Brown all sides, about two minutes each side. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add quartered potatoes and extra meatballs (if you have any) to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add a slivered garlic clove to the pan with the drippings, after a minute add tomato passata (tomato purée) and a cup of water to the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then nestle the vegetables, potatoes and meatballs (if any) in the sauce.
  • Pour in enough water to submerge the vegetables, keeping in mind that the eggplant will float on the surface of the sauce therefore will not remain completely submerged. I added about 2 cups of water. Add salt, to taste, dried red pepper flakes (optional) and simmer partially covered for two hours or until the vegetables and potatoes are tender. 

To serve:

  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the stuffed vegetables, potatoes and meatballs to a large serving plate. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta of your choice. Dress the pasta with the tomato sauce in the pan and serve as a first course. Serve the stuffed vegetables as a second course. 



  • If you're lucky enough to have access to cucuzza, cut into approximate 3 inch lengths, hollow the pieces as I did for the eggplant. Stuff with the meatball filling and proceed with the recipe as outlined above.
  • I enjoy using cubanelle peppers for this recipe due to their sweetness, however if you can't find any bell peppers can be substituted.
  • Depending on the size of your eggplant and peppers, you may have extra meatball mixture. Shape into a few meatballs, brown them and add to the sauce.
  • This recipe can be transformed into a vegetarian recipe by omitting the meat and replacing it with extra fresh breadcrumbs for the meatball filling.
  • Leftover stuffed eggplant and peppers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Any leftover sauce may also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Please note that the nutritional information provided is approximate and may vary according to ingredients used and exact portion size.


Calories: 970kcal | Carbohydrates: 105g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 2020mg | Potassium: 1093mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 751IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 3mg