Eggplant stuffed mushrooms

Hors d’oeuvres are one of those things that I always save room for when dining out. I’m the kind of person that would rather snack on something savory before a meal than sweet after. When I’m at home cooking, I rarely prepare appetizers. I’ll go as far as whipping up a salad, but nothing more complicated than that. 

While I was grocery shopping this morning, I suddenly had this ridiculous craving for my favorite appetizer of all time: stuffed mushrooms. I didn’t know what I was going to cook for dinner, but I knew I was going to whip up something unexpected in our household: a Hors d’oeuvre!

Your typical restaurant style stuffed mushrooms aren’t always the image of healthy eating since they’re typically stuffed with loads of bread and cheese. My eggplant stuffed mushrooms are delicious! They’re a snap to make if you’re looking to bring something scrumptious to a party.

And don’t worry. You’ll get the same amount of satisfaction as the bready gems you find in restaurants. They’re that good.  I predict that it will become a versatile go to filling too. I’m already thinking it would be fantastic stuffed inside some boneless chicken breasts.

Or as a topping for baked fish.
Or mixed inside an egg frittata.
Or devoured with a fork right out of the skillet like a stoker desperately shoveling coal into a steam train’s engine.

I may or may not have done that last one already.

Eggplant Stuffed Mushrooms serves 4-6 (as an appetizer)
The eggplant combined with the garlic, onion and freshly grated Parmesan cheese make for a hearty, rich and savory filling that won’t disappoint.

1 whole eggplant, peeled and diced (health benefits of eggplant)
½ Vidalia onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
10-12 grape tomatoes, halved
10 baby bella mushroom caps (health benefits of mushrooms)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (you can omit if you’re dairy-free)

1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until just soft and starting to get translucent.
2. Add peeled and diced eggplant to the onions and cook until caramelized and soft (around 8-10 minutes). *Eggplant is very spongy and will absorb liquid quickly. I suggest covering the skillet and lowering the heat a bit halfway through the cooking process if you notice the mixture drying out.
3. Add in minced garlic, grape tomatoes, parsley and a tsp. of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and then cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes- just until the tomatoes begin to blister a bit. Turn off heat and stir in 1/4 cup of Parmesean cheese (optional). Set aside. 
4. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and brush with a damp paper towel to clean. Using a dinner spoon, stuff baby bella mushroom caps with the eggplant mixture, then place into a small baking dish or pan lightly greased with cooking spray or a bit of olive oil. 
5. Top with additional Parmesan cheese (if so inclined) and bake mushrooms at 400 for 12-15 minutes. Let cool a bit then enjoy!

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