This recipe requires a bit more prep time than most of my recipes, yet it yields a ton of food that is great to bring to a gathering, or just keep hungry athletes fed. This recipe will still work fine if if you skip the cheese. I didn’t even use very much bleu cheese in mine, yet I’m sure some will use more and some will use none, and that’s perfect. Also this recipe gives you another excuse to use your meat mallet and take out some stress during your meal prep. You’re welcome.
First you need to soak your eggplant.
You’ll only need to let your eggplant slices soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Just long enough to take out the starchy taste that makes a lot of people think they don’t like eggplant. They do, they might, they just haven’t prepped it correctly. After this step, I use two clean kitchen towels to dry the slices while I do the rest of my prep for the recipe.
Time for the meat mallet!
What? You don’t have a meat mallet!?!? Blasphemy! I consider this an essential kitchen tool. It allows you tenderize meats and create new consistencies in a way that a marinade simply cannot achieve. In this case, it takes boring cubes of chicken breast and flattens them out so that they will layer well in a lasagna/casserole type dish. I cut each chicken breast into 3 or 4 chunks, and then flattened each of them out as much as I could. Hit them with some salt, pepper, and parsley flakes and this step is done. Oh and for those of you that don’t have a meat mallet, you can get one right here.
Get your Buffalo on…
This is where you buffalo-fy the recipe. Toss your Buffalo sauce and garlic with your chicken and onion slices. Get everything coated in orange, and then you’re ready to layer!
Last step, layering!
What you need:
- 2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts.
- 1 large purple eggplant, sliced medium thin.
- 1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
- 1 medium white onion, sliced thin.
- 2 to 4 cups of fresh baby spinach.
- 1 /2 to 1 cup of crumbled bleu cheese (optional).
- 4 garlic cloves, minced.
- Salt, pepper, and parsley to season the chicken.
How you make it:
- Slice your eggplant. I use my mandoline to do this. Much faster and yields uniform slices. Place slices in a large bowl of water to soak.
- Cut your chicken breasts into chunks and use your meat mallet to pound them as thinly as possible. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley.
- Strain your eggplant slices and allow them to dry between clean kitchen towels or paper towels.
- In a large bowl, mix your hot sauce, minced garlic, onion slices, and chicken. Toss to coat everything well.
- Begin to layer your bomb. Start with some sauce at the bottom of the crock, then follow the list and repeat. If using cheese, save some to make sure you have it for the top layer.
- Layer as such: Sauce, eggplant slices (try to overlap slightly to cover the whole layer), chicken with onions and hot sauce, spinach (jam it in), cheese, then repeat!
- Recipe is ideally for a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5.
- If you want to serve this pretty like I did, do the following. Remove ceramic crock from your slow cooker and let it sit on your stovetop to cool. Remove excess liquid at the bottom with a turkey baster and disgard. Once the dish has cooled for an hour or so, use 2 spatulas to attempt to get things out in one piece. Enjoy!
when you say sauce, you mean the buffalo sauce to place at the bottom of the crock pot?
That looks amazing! And, I’ll be exercising my cheese option 😉
Can I cook it in the oven in a glass pan if I don’t have a crockpot??
I have no idea what the adequate cooking time/temp would be. Just get a crock pot, you won’t regret it!
30 to 45 minutes at 375 to 400 degrees fahrenheit should do the trick. I covered mine with aluminum foil for the first 20 minutes to get all the moisture and flavors locked in there and then removed it for the remainder of the time. I didn’t opt for the cheese unfortunately because I’m doing the Whole30, but instead of hot sauce I mixed olive oil, sriracha, lemon juice and the parsley together to make my sauce. Also, instead of onions (not the biggest fan) I used mushrooms (love!!). It was delicious!!! I would definitely follow the “pretty” suggestion and let it sit for 10-20 minutes so it doesn’t fall apart on you. Although if you use cheese they likely will help. Happy eating!
Thank you for the idea on the sub of the onions. I hate onions. Nom nom nom!
That is an interesting approach!
I will try your way of making this meal!
Hey Jason, I am new to slow cooking and I am really enjoying your website so far. So I made this recipe and wanted to know if it was normal for there to be lots of juice or liquid when the meal is done. it was sort of swimming.
Yes, it is normal. Foods contain liquid and in the slow cooker environment they release them and they do not evaporate. That’s why in the recipe I noted that I remove the liquid with a turkey baster before attempting to remove the dish. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the recipe! I just finished assembling it and am waiting for it to cook. I figured up the nutrition info and figured I would share it here in case anyone was interested. (I used chicken tenderloin and 2/3 cup of cheese.) For one slice (1/8 of entire batch) Calories: 165, Fat: 3g, Carbs: 7g, Protein: 26g
Made this crazy concoction for dinner tonight. It was fantastic!
I made this last pm… modified to bake in the oven.
Sauteed the chicken then cut to bite size pieces and tossed w/buffalo sauce & onion. Lightly sauteed the (soaked & dried) eggplant slices. Baked at 375 for ~30 mins. No cheese. Layered buffalo sauce, eggplant, baby spinach, chicken/onion/sauce, baby spinach, eggplant, baby spinach, chx/onion/sauce. Came out AMAZING! Eggplant broke apart easily with a fork without being too mushy.
Thx for the idea – I would have never put buffalo chx with eggplant!
We. Loved. This.
It was insanely delicious, and will be a regular in my monthly dinner rotation from now on. I did sub a bit of garlic & herb feta instead of the bleu cheese since we’re not crazy about it, the feta gave a really pleasant salty flavor that complimented the ingredients. Even my picky 7yr old *loved* it, although admittedly he’s a Frank’s Hot Sauce fanatic. Also, instead of using a meat mallet, I sliced my chicken breasts in half, basically butterflying them, placed them in a ziplock baggie with a tbsp of EVOO, then whacked then with a rolling pin until they were submissively flattened. Hey, whatever works, right? 😉
Thanks so much for an awesome, easy, inspiring meal! 🙂
Wondering what to replace Frank’s hot sauce with?….
Any other cayenne and vinegar based hot sauce.
YUMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in love with this meal!
I just found this and it sounds great. I love eggplant but instead of soaking I always salt out the excess liquid and even turned my eggplant hating husband into an eggplant lover.
I made this recipe yesterday to bring to a football/Christmas party it was a big hit . I doubled the recipe it did produce a lot of water bought was able to get it all out. I flipped the crockpot over and it came out in one piece nicely on a plate . I will be making this again
It is not Paleo if you use the cheese.
Hi, was curious if anyone could advise what to replace the ‘buffalo’ sauce for, preferably homemade or a Norwegian alternative if you know of any 😉 thanks in advance for any help and advice.
Do you have any suggestions to replace the hotsauce since this sounds really good but we don’t like spicy? What about 1/2 GF soy sauce and 1/2 hot sauce?
I use salsa, Amy’s tomato soup, and taco seasoning for a crockpot chicken dish I make. Maybe that would be a good replacement for
the hot sauce…..
I made this 2 wks ago and froze the leftovers. Very good reheated. I do have to say that mine came out more watery than your pics. Did I not get the eggplant dry enough? Mine ended up more of a chunky soup.
This looks amazing! How did you come up with this idea?
A couple questions -could you share how long the prep time takes? And, how many servings would you say this recipe creates?
Thanks for sharing the recipe for my round up!
I made this last week but used ricotta cheese instead of blue (my husband hates blue cheese) I tossed an egg and spinach in the cheese like any lasagna. Turned out great!
I went ahead and soaked the eggplant—against my intuition—instead of salting it like I usually do. This dish was a watery mess. What a hot, ugly mess. I don’t know how anyone could pull off the photo you shared.
Sorry it came out wrong for you. You must have failed to try the eggplant or missed one of the steps. The photo in the recipe is what I came away with after removing a slice carefully. Bonus points for being the first person to say hot mess, it was bound to happen at some point!
Made it last night…fabulous!
Awesome, glad you enjoyed it and thank you for the kind words…
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