Friday, November 1

Meat or Meatless Stuffed Eggplant

I searched for years for the "perfect" eggplant recipe stumbling many times along the way. I now have several and am thrilled as there are so many health benefits and negligible calories.

Among those benefits eggplants are loaded with dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is essential for regulating digestion (read: keeps you regular) and is also helpful for dieters as it takes a long time to move from the stomach to the digestive track. This will help you feel full much longer which will in turn keep you from craving unhealthy snack food between meals.

I also love that I was able to make this into a vegetarian meal by using beef-less ground "beef" from Trader Joes. So flavorful... you will never know you're not actually eating meat.


2 medium eggplants, stems trimmed off and halved lengthwise
3 links sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed -or- beef-less ground beef
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/3 cups crushed tomatoes
5 basil leaves, chopped (plus more for garnish)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
4 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Hollow out the flesh of the eggplant to create a boat using a melon baller or small knife, leaving a 1/2-inch of the skin all around to create a shell. Roughly chop the scooped out eggplant flesh.
Drop the eggplant into the boiling water and cook 3 minutes (poking it with a spoon so they stay submerged). Remove with a slotted spoon and set them on paper towels on the counter. Meanwhile, brown the "beef" or sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the sausage up while it cooks into smaller pieces. Add the onions and garlic and cook on a medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add 1 cup chopped eggplant and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup crushed tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.
Pour 1/3 cup of crushed tomatoes on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish and place the eggplant boats on top. Season the eggplant with salt and divide the sausage and sauce evenly among the 4 eggplant boats.
Bake 40 mins and let cool. 

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