Easy, quick and low-fat recipe. You’ll only need less than 30 minutes to make a hearty and healthy dinner, bursting with Mediterranean flavors!
I think of gnocchi as a nice alternative to pasta, and I tend to use them in pasta recipes very often (like this detox pasta with creamy spinach pesto!). Their texture may seem a bit strange if you haven’t tasted them before, but after one or two (hungry) bites you get to love them. Plus they soak all the juices or the sauce from the pan, becoming extra tasty and flavorful! This Mediterranean gnocchi recipe with chicken, eggplant, tomato and basil tastes very fresh and light and is very low in fat, something that gives you the right to sprinkle your plate with some grated parmesan cheese or crumbled feta, without any guilt 🙂 Moreover, if you’re well organized, it can be prepared in less than 30 minutes!
Sometimes eggplant may have a slightly bitter taste, and that’s the reason (I think) some people don’t like it. But there’s a little trick you can do to make it taste sweet and delicious! This trick is something I’ve learned from my mother, but is used throughout Greece by many home and professional cooks. You just slice it up and submerge it in a bowl with salted water. Salt has the ability to extract this bitterness, making the eggplant mellow and sweet. Nowadays new eggplant varieties are said to be sweeter, but I still use this trick since I find it makes a difference… If you try it, please let me know what you think!
Oh, in case you’re wondering, the white eggplant comes from Santorini island! I talk a little about Santorini in my Santorini sweet wine pannacotta post!
There are two ways you can make this recipe. You can either use only your skillet (you’ll need a large skillet or a large pot if you’re cooking for more than two) from start to finish and cook the gnocchi with the rest of the ingredients OR you can cook them separately in another pot. Most gnocchi brands need no more than three minutes of cooking. With the first option, you’ll add the gnocchi and a cup of water into the skillet and cook everything together. This results into slightly chewier gnocchi with a flavorful sauce and rich taste. If you choose to boil the gnocchi separately, you’ll have lighter and “fluffier” gnocchi. In the recipe box, I’m giving you the second option, since I find it more straightforward. Either way, this dish tastes awesome!
Bathe the sliced eggplant in a brine to get rid of any bitterness!
Add the tomatoes and basil at the very end, in order to keep their freshness.
Instead of gnocchi you can use pasta (penne, farfalle, rigatoni are good options!)
Serve gnocchi with some grated parmesan, cheddar or crumbled feta (this will increase the total fat of the dish).
Use gluten-free gnocchi if you avoid gluten in your diet.
This recipe doubles easily if you use a large pot
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant (9 oz / 250gr), in 1 inch-thick slices
- 1-2 cloves of garlic (whole, or minced for stronger flavor)
- 1½ cups tomato (9 oz / 250gr), diced
- One chicken breast half (10 oz / 300gr), diced the same size as gnocchi
- ½ packet fresh gnocchi (9 oz / 250gr)
- 8-10 basil leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: parmesan or feta for serving
- Fill a bowl with 4 cups of water and 3 tablespoons salt. Stir to dissolve and add the eggplant slices. Cover with a small plate to keep them submerged and let them there for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat a pot with water and cook gnocchi according to the package directions, but one minute less. Drain them and reserve ½ a cup of their water.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat and cook chicken with two tablespoons olive oil until brown and caramelized (about 6 minutes).
- Transfer chicken to a plate.
- Rinse eggplant slices well, and squeeze them between your hands to remove any extra moisture. Cut into cubes and cook them in the skillet with the rest of the olive oil and the garlic until soft (about 5 minutes).
- Add the chicken, gnocchi, gnocchi-water, tomato, basil, salt and pepper and cook over medium/high heat for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce from the juices thickens a little.
- Serve with parmesan or feta cheese (optional)
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