(Weight Watchers Friendly Crock Pot Cooking Day 168)
I love eggplant, so when I noticed this relatively easy looking recipe for Stuffed Eggplant in Prevention’s Slow Cooker So Easy! magazine, I knew I wanted to try it.
I still don’t feel very skilled at using my crock pot, but for some reason this particular dish jumped out at me as sounding delicious and looking not too difficult to prepare.
In fact, now that it’s been cooking away for almost two hours, I can honestly say that once again, the prep time is still what slows me down the most.
There’s not too much chopping required, but you do have to brown the turkey – along with the onions, peppers and chopped eggplant – in a skillet before stuffing the eggplant, and then letting the slow cooker take over and do it’s thing.
I think it took me about 30-40 minutes before I was stuffing the eggplants and putting them in the crock pot to cook away. I’m guessing a more skilled cook could reduce this time significantly. But, I’m still learning and had the time available, so I’m ok with it.
Tips To Preparing Slow Cooker Stuffed Eggplant
- You have to scoop out each half of the eggplant, and a melon baller works really well for this.
- Dipping the cut eggplant halves in water with a squeeze of lemon will help prevent the eggplant from browning. (I did this since it took me a while after I cut the eggplants and before I was ready to stuff them).
- The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream which I replaced with 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped (I used red)
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 6 tablespoons Italian-style dried bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the turkey with the chopped onion and garlic. Adding a good sprinkling of salt and pepper as it's cooking.
- Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller, scoop out eggplant flesh, leaving about ½" border around each one.
- Chop eggplant flesh and add to turkey, along with the chopped pepper.
- Cook until eggplant and peppers soften, stirring frequently.
- Remove skillet from heat and stir in bread crumbs and yogurt. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a little salt and pepper, if you think it needs it.
- Spoon turkey mixture into halved eggplant. Place stuffed eggplant halves into large oval crock pot that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Top each half with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 2-4 hours, until eggplant is tender.
Nutritional Estimates Per Serving (1/4th): 321 calories, 10.5 g fat, 28.7 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 31.1 g protein and *8 Weight Watchers Points Plus
Source: adapted from Prevention magazine’s Slow Cooker So Easy!
Slow Cooker Stuffed Eggplant – The Results
We had this slow cooker stuffed eggplant for dinner tonight along with a simple salad of chopped red bell pepper, fresh avocado and some garlic & herb goat cheese with a little drizzle of Newman’s Balsamic Dressing.
The eggplant smelled wonderful coming out of the crock pot, and while I was happy with the taste, I felt like it was missing something. Neal suggested perhaps a little more seasoning would have been good.
I think that I would definitely make this again, but I would not make it according to the recipe, I would try to adapt it somehow.
- I might add a few more spices while browning the meat.
- Or maybe add some pesto or even maybe cook the turkey with some marinara sauce.
- Or maybe, sun-dried tomato pesto would be the way to go rather than the traditional basil pesto.
The eggplant was very tender and tasted good – overall it just felt like something was missing.
I’ll definitely follow up with Martha to see if she has any suggestions because it seems that Martha has the uncanny ability to read a recipe and tell you how it will taste. That’s a very handy skill in my book and something that’s probably impossible to teach
Slow Cooker Stuffed Eggplant – Martha’s Two Cents
Pete, your slow cooker stuffed eggplant looks great. I love how you’re experimenting and trying new recipes. Cooking, like so many things in life, can only be learned by doing.
Tasting and Seasoning are Essential
I think learning to taste and season your food is an essential kitchen skill.
Everyone’s tastes are different. And a recipe made exactly as written, will rarely be as good as it can be. Most recipes will need to be “tweaked” with seasonings to accommodate your particular taste buds.
Salt and pepper are two basic seasonings that can go a long way to improve most any dish. It’s incredible to me that they are not included in this recipe’s ingredients list.
My approach to cooking, tasting and seasoning
Reading Peter’s comments and then looking at the recipe, I realized that if I were making this slow cooker stuffed eggplant, I would have automatically added salt and pepper as I was cooking the turkey and vegetables. Then I would have tasted the mixture before stuffing, adding more salt and pepper, if I felt it needed it. And if I thought the stuffing still seemed bland, I would’ve tried to kick it up a bit.
Pete’s instincts are spot on. Additional spices – cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne – might work. As might marinara sauce and/or sundried tomato pesto. Or possibly a little salsa or diced tomatoes?
It’s really about experimenting and “tweaking” your recipes. The key is to add your additions slowly, tasting between additions. When you’re cooking it’s best to add seasonings a little at a time so you don’t end up with too much, a much trickier problem to fix.
Do you have any suggestions for how you might season this slow cooker stuffed eggplant? We’d love to have you share your ideas in the comments.
*PointsPlus for slow cooker stuffed eggplant calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.
Today’s Food for Thought…
“You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know so much is because I have made so many mistakes.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
Do you have a favorite motivational quote? I’d love for you to leave it for me in the comments!!