For this Stuffed Italian Eggplant recipe I prefer fresh tomatoes, which are more subtle and less acidic than canned. If you have no choice, though, use 1 cup of diced no-salt-added canned tomatoes.

Fresh thyme is delicious in tomato-based sauces, vinaigrettes, bean soups, and stews. Pop any leftover sprigs into your next roasted chicken or pot of stock. No fresh thyme? Use ½ tsp. of dried thyme in step 2 and don’t use any in step 5. (Dried herbs and spices need to be cooked in oil to release and temper their flavor.)

This recipe was developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 2 Italian eggplants (about ½ lb. each)
  • 3 Tbs. + 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. + ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs + 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seedy flesh with a spoon and discard. Brush the eggplant halves with 3 Tbs. oil and season with ¼ tsp. salt. Roast on a lined, rimmed baking pan on the top rack until tender and lightly browned, 18–20 minutes.
  2. In a large pan, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic and 3 sprigs of thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until it starts to brown, 2–3 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken to the pan. Sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and cooked through, 3–5 minutes. Break up the chicken with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to break down and the sauce thickens, 5–7 minutes. Season with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and the pepper.
  5. Spoon the chicken mixture into the cooked eggplant shells. Top with the parmesan cheese and a few thyme leaves from the remaining sprig of thyme.

Nutrition Information

Per serving (1 stuffed eggplant half):

  • Calories: 340
  • Total fat: 19 g
  • Sat fat: 3.5 g
  • Carbs: 14 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Total sugar: 7 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Sodium: 530 mg

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.