Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Skinny Eggplant Manicotti

Y'all ready for this?
Dun nun nun ... dun dun... dun dun dun dun nun dun dun dun dun nun...

Okay, I'm done.

But really. Are y'all ready for an incredible, filling, + hearty Italian recipe?
Manicotti is one of my favorite Italian Recipes, but is full of unnecessary fat, calories, and nobody likes that.
Therefore, I decided to make a Skinny Manicotti -- an Eggplant version! I've made this recipe before a long time ago, so I wanted to try it again + share it with you guys! I mixed it up a little this time and added a couple nutritious ingredients to boost it even more and I promise, you can't even taste it.  
This dish is meatless -- unintentionally... but if you wanted to add meat you could definitely add 1 pound lean ground meat with the sauce and I'm sure it would be just as delicious!
1 large Eggplant
1 jar Marinara Sauce (any kind -- I used traditional)
1/2 cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Italian Cheese Blend
1/4 cup Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt  
1 medium fresh Zucchini
1 TBSP Basil Leaves (dried) 
1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TSP Onion Powder
1 TSP Black Pepper
1/4 TSP Salt
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Next, cut Eggplant into thin slices, about a 1/4 inch. I was able to have 24 slices from my 1 Eggplant.
3. Spray generous amount of non-stick cooking spray, on a pancake griddle or sauce pan. Grill Eggplant slices 2-3 minutes each side, on high -- or until tender and "rollable".
4. While the Eggplants are grilling, chop Zucchini into tiny pieces using a food processor or blender (be sure to remove the stem). Combine Zucchini bits with Ricotta, Greek Yogurt, Basil, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper. Mix well.
5. Spray your baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and coat the bottom with a small amount of Marinara sauce (about 1/4 cup). This will allow for the bottom of the Eggplant "rolls" to be coated with the sauce.

6. Once Eggplants are cooked tender + cool enough to handle, begin filling each with the Ricotta mixture. Do this by placing about 1TBSP of mixture in the center of the slice and roll.
7. Place Eggplant "rolls" next to each other (about 6 across) to keep them held together. Use remaining Ricotta mixture to fill in holes between the Eggplants. I had a small amount left over so I filled the holes between the Eggplants with the Ricotta mixture.
And it was lovely.
8. Next, evenly spread the remaining sauce over the Ricotta filled Eggplants.
9. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Italian Cheese + 1/2 cup Mozzarella evenly over the entire dish.
10. Bake for 35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is a nice golden brown.
Then -- bon appetit
This recipe was a hit with everyone in my family -- even my Dad said it was amazing!
At first when he heard it was meatless he was a little skeptical... but Eggplant has such a hearty, meaty like taste that he didn't even miss it!

We paired ours with an Iceberg Lettuce Salad with chopped Carrots, Avocado and Olive Garden Dressing ; ) -- Ironic because this meal tastes as good as something from there.

Well, I don't really know how to tell you guys this -- but you're not going to believe what I have to say... seriously, you won't believe me.
But I'll tell you anyway.

One serving, aka 3 Eggplant "rolls", is 134 Calories.
Let me repeat that. 134. Calories.

Oh, and if you're doing Weight Watchers that means it was only 2 Points per serving!

Nutrition per Serving (3 Eggplant "rolls"):
134 Calories, 14.3g Carbs, 5.3g Fat, 8.4g Protein  
This recipe made 8 servings
Nutrition per Serving (1 Manicotti):
229 Calories, 21.5g Carbs, 10.18g Fat, 12.74g Protein
Here's a break down for ya, you get to eat 3 times as much, since there are 3 rolls in each serving as compared to one large hallow Manicotti noodle, and you save about 100 calories, all under 300 calories! I am perfectly okay with that... what about you?
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe -- I'm sure my Gran is super proud because it's a full blown Italian feast! But anyway, I promise you will leave this meal feeling full and satisfied -- and plus you can have seconds without feeling any guilt, whatsoever!
Have a fit + fantastic day y'all!

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