Olive Garden and Italians alike have made eggplant popular by formulating fried eggplant in layers of cheese and marinara sauce. The classic vegetarian style dish is used because many times eggplant can be bland and flavorless. HALT! Kick that idea to the curb because these cheesy chicken stuffed eggplants are anything but. They combine flavor and health in a whole new way.
I believe that the combination of juicy chicken, delicate cheeses, and roasted garlic help give this dish the blast of flavor that eggplant needs. Ranging in about 300 calories per serving (1 eggplant boat), the dish is filling and flavorful.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- The garlic is important, don’t mince it because it will be removed later on. Cut cloves of garlic to stuff inside the eggplant while it roasts.
- I precooked the chicken with a season salt mixture and shredded it to cool while the eggplant was cooking.
- Use a squirt bottle to mist your eggplant with olive oil to cut calories and fat. You don’t want to make it soggy and overpower it with olive oil. You can also brush it lightly instead of using a squirt bottle.
- After the eggplant as roasted, remove the garlic. You don’t want to chomp down on a huge clove of garlic or you’ll definitely keep the vampires and everyone else away.
- We used Gruyere cheese over cheddar. Cheddar I believe will be too overpowering and my family doesn’t really care for cheddar.
- We shredded 2 oz of cheese to spread it more evenly rather than using slices. This process helps in allowing the cheese to melt quicker as well.
- If you’re like me and not a huge fan of tomatoes, roast them before hand quickly in a sauté pan to remove some of the juices and give them a crunchier texture.
- Green onions are good vegetables for you, so go ahead and pile them on. In this dish they add a freshness that basil does for many others.
A fair warning to note is that the scrumptious meal here might send you into a food coma. Keep in mind that eggplant is a starch vegetable. While good for you it should be eaten in moderation. One boat will be filling enough for anyone and keep you focused on the rest of the day. The combination of cheese, chicken, and other ingredients bring a taste of Italy home to a healthier you.
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