Healthy Cookie: Pizza-Stuffed Eggplant

Healthy food is a touchy subject. Some people have a huge vendetta against healthy eating (*cough* my parents *cough*). Other people just don’t like the way healthy stuff tastes. It is extremely difficult to make healthy meals that satisfy equally as well as a big, cheesy pizza or a juicy burger. Difficult it is, but not impossible. You just have to know what you’re doing.

Pizza-Stuffed Eggplant is a miracle dish. It’s carnivore & vegetarian-friendly. You will eat it. You will love it. You will never know your portion was LESS THAN 200 CALORIES. You’re thinking that sentence was a paradox. It’s impossible to be delicious, healthy, and low-cal. Well, it’s not, so get that idea out of your head right now. I hate to be blunt, but we’ve got to fix this misconception.

Pizza-Stuffed Eggplant is so delicious, just as good as, say, a slab of lasagna or a twice-baked potato.

This dish starts out with one lonely little eggplant. He’s got a lot of potential, but he’s under dressed and understated. He needs somebody to polish him up and take him to the next level. So what do you do?

You slice the eggplant down the middle and scoop out all of his stuffing. Sound a little drastic? Don’t worry. We’re breaking him down to build him back up. Next, you take all of the eggplant’s inner workings, chop it up, and mix it with the tasty tidbits you’re likely to find on a pizza: parmesan cheese, green & red peppers, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and sausage. Well, okay…there’s a bit of a disclaimer on the sausage part. It’s not sausage per say; it’s Morning Star Beef-Style crumbles. They’re made from soy. No, they’re not meat. I know, the whole “beef-style crumbles” thing doesn’t sound very appealing. Let me tell you something.

My father is the world’s biggest carnivore (figures he would spawn a vegetarian, right?). He hunts, he eats what he hunts, and there’s a…um…charming deer head hanging in our living room. He has got to have meat in every meal or he’s just not happy.

So, I decided to be a little coy and served him this pizzafied eggplant while “forgetting” to mention that there was not any real meat in the dish.

My dad loved it. He ate a whole half an eggplant himself, remarking, “You can cook for me anytime!” When I told him there was vegetarian “meat” in it, he had no idea. This dish completely satisfied the world’s most stubborn meat-eater. My mother raved about the eggplant too, even though she can also be a bit picky when it comes to these things. So never fear meat-lovers and friends of meat-lovers. This dish is bound to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

In a nutshell (or should I say an eggplant shell?), this recipe is perfection. It’s hearty, filling, pizzafied, completely delicious, AND you don’t have to feel a bit of guilt over eating it. So enjoy, my friends. It doesn’t get better than this.

A few tips before you get cooking:

  1. This dish takes time. There’s a lot of prep work and a total of 45 min baking time, so give yourself plenty of time to cook.
  2. Like I always say, get your ingredients out and veggies chopped beforehand!
  3. There was originally Fiber One cereal in this recipe. I left it out because I thought it was unnecessary. Fiber One really just doesn’t taste good, even when you try to camouflage it in dishes like this. Plus, you only need a small amount so that box will end up going to waste. Not many people sit down to a bowl of plain Fiber One for breakfast (and if you do, god bless you).
  4. Have several bowls at the ready for putting your ingredients in as your prep them.

Supremely Stuffed Pizza-fied Eggplant

Adapted from Hungry Girl

PER SERVING (1 large piece, 1/4th of recipe): 170 calories, 3g fat, 608mg sodium, 26g carbs, 9.75g fiber, 9.5g sugars, 14.5g protein — PointsPlus® value 4*

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red and green bell peppers
1 cup frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kind by Boca or Morningstar Farms), slightly thawed
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 sticks light string cheese, pulled into strings

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice about 1 inch off the top (stem side) of the eggplant. Halve the eggplant lengthwise.

Carefully cut along the inside of each half, about 1/2 inch from the skin. Scoop out the insides with a spoon, and chop them into small pieces.

Place the hollow eggplant shells, cut-side up, on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray; set aside.

Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add chopped eggplant, onion, and peppers. Stirring often, cook for 7 – 8 minutes, until soft. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.

Once cooled, add all other ingredients except crushed tomatoes and string cheese to the veggie bowl. Mix thoroughly. Equally divide between the eggplant shells, lightly packing down until even.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Then remove but keep the oven on.

Spoon 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes evenly over the top of each stuffed eggplant shell, and lay string cheese pieces over the crushed tomatoes. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Let cool slightly and then cut each piece in half. Now enjoy!

I have to ask  you a favor. Please don’t skip over this recipe because you don’t like “healthy foods” or “vegetarian foods.” This dish really is neither (well technically it is, but who needs labels?). I promise, if you make this, it’s going to rock your world. Doors will open. Birds will sing. Sun will shine. At the very least, you’ll have one happy tummy.

Posted in Dinner, Healthy, Low-Cal, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Colleen Bierstine

5 Comments

  1. Since I might have a rather severe eggplant allergy do you think I could use a different veggie?

    • Yes, but it would have to be some sort of large squash (i.e. butternut). You could use a potato, but the ingredient measurements would be much smaller and your nutritional values will change. Potatoes are much higher in calories. You don’t really like squash though so I’m not sure what to tell you.

  2. We had these for dinner last night! AMAZING! I used chicken sausage instead of the soy crumbles and 1 egg white instead of the egg substitute. This recipe is pretty time consuming BUT I prepared and baked them over the weekend then wrapped each half in plastic wrap and foil for a quick dinner during the week and served with a side of homemade broccoli rabe. Thanks for sharing this Smart Cookie!

Comments are closed.