Eggplant ‘Bacon’ Wrapped Stuffed Dates

    submitted by ShopRite Yardley

    Prep: 15 minutes plus standing • Bake: 1 hour • Serves: 8

    2          tablespoons pure maple syrup

    1 1/2   tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

    1/2      tablespoon olive oil

    1/2      teaspoon smoked paprika

    1          large eggplant, peeled

    16        pitted dates

    16        smoked almonds

    1/4      cup crumbled blue cheese

    16        wooden toothpicks

    1. Preheat oven to 250°; line rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. In small bowl, whisk syrup, soy sauce, oil and paprika. Trim off sides of eggplant to create rectangle-shaped block; cut block into 16 (1/8-inch) slices. Trim slices to 5 x 1 1/4-inch strips and brush both sides with syrup mixture; arrange in single layer on prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until edges are slightly crisp, turning once.
    2. Stuff dates with almonds and blue cheese; wrap each stuffed date with 1 piece eggplant, secure with toothpick and place on same pan. Bake dates 15 minutes or until eggplant is golden brown and edges are crisp. Let dates stand 5 minutes.

    Approximate nutritional values per serving (2 dates): 142 Calories, 3g Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 3mg Cholesterol, 169mg Sodium, 29g Carbohydrates, 3g Fiber, 25g Sugars, 3g Added Sugars, 2g Protein

    Chef Tip(s):

    For uniform thickness, slice eggplant using a mandolin. Eggplant scraps can be layered in lasagana or used to make caponata, ratatouille or babaganoush.

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