_eggplant and chicken marinara

EGGPLANT AND CHICKEN MARINARAThe recipe, Eggplant and Chicken Marinara, is a one-dish-wonder, where you have veggie, complex carbohydrates, and chicken all in one gorgeous dish that is simple enough for family meals, but pretty enough for company.
Leftover cooked brown rice and chicken add heft to the super-low-calorie eggplant (under 30 calories a cup), but note you can make this meatless simply by leaving out the chicken. The result is somewhere between an eggplant-chicken parm and an eggplant gratinee.
But no matter what you decide to call it, enjoy knowing your family is loading up on veggies as they dig in. Using baby eggplant or Japanese eggplant means the skin is soft enough to eat, which will only add to the nutrient profile.

Servings: 6
Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes
4 small eggplants (“baby” or “Japanese” eggplant at the grocery store)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
2 cups prepared marinara sauce (no sugar added)
3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese (half mozzarella; half parmesan), divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Rub 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over all the eggplants, prick once or twice each with a fork, and roast them on a baking sheet until soft, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool 15-30 minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh. Select the 6 prettiest eggplant skin halves for stuffing and set aside. Roughly chop the eggplant flesh into cubes (don’t worry if it’s “pulpy” from roasting and doesn’t hold a cube shape.)
In a large sauté pan, cook the diced onion, salt and pepper in the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the eggplant flesh, garlic and dried herbs and cook another 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir, allowing most to evaporate over a minute or two, and then remove from heat.

Stir in the cooked rice, the chicken, and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Taste the filling for seasoning and adjust if needed. Gently spoon the filling into the reserved 6 eggplant skin halves. Pour the marinara sauce into the large saucepan (wipe out any remaining filling first, if needed). Place the filled eggplant skins gently on top of the sauce and top with remaining shredded cheese.
Place the saucepan in the oven and bake until sauce and filling are hot and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve with fresh basil, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 352 calories; 72 calories from fat; 8 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 84 mg cholesterol; 522 mg sodium; 36 g carbohydrate; 9 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 32 g protein.