Real Italian comfort food, made of rich layers of eggplant, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese, topped with some parmesan cheese and baked to perfection: this is the best keto eggplant parmesan recipe you will ever try. It is a low carb eggplant parmesan by total chance, and it really doesn’t need any additional part or ingredient, as it is delicious just the way it is. Simply grill the eggplant rounds, prepare the marinara sauce with fresh garlic and onions, and layer everything with cheese in a baking dish. Enjoy!
This keto eggplant Parmesan recipe is the real deal: lush eggplant slices, grilled to perfection, layered with a rich tomato sauce flavored with fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, and glorious mozzarella cheese.
This is a dish my Mom made often while I was growing up in Italy, as we both absolutely adore eggplant; although in this recipe I use tomato sauce in between layers, for a more complete meal she would sometimes use ground beef Bolognese Sauce instead and I have to be honest, I can't pick a favorite (it's a bit like a keto eggplant lasagna recipe!)
As time passed, and now well into my thirties, I still love this eggplant parmesan recipe and often prepare it during the summer months, as it is a great dish for meal prepping, a lunch box, or also to entertain friends and family.
Wash your eggplant, prepare the marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, and get baking!
Keto Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
- Eggplant: This is one of the most famous eggplant recipes, so this ingredient is surely the top one.
- Passata: The base ingredient for the simple marinara sauce.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Cloves, and Onion: This really is a simple marinara and these are the only ingredients needed in the sauce in addition to regular seasoning.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Layer of eggplant rounds, a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese, and repeat!
- Parmesan Cheese: There is no eggplant parm, without Parmesan!
- Cooking Spray: To grill the eggplant. This can be substituted with an oil of choice.
- Salt and Cracked Black Pepper: Simple seasoning.
- Basil Leaves: This can be added as an optional and it definitely is the best herb for the dish. Should you not have it, you can add a bit of Italian seasoning to the sauce if liked.
How to make keto eggplant parmesan
- Wash the eggplants and slice them in thin rounds, either length or side-wise as preferred. Pat the eggplant dry in-between slices.
- Warm-up a grilling pan and spray with cooking spray or oil.
- Once warm, grill the eggplant slices on both sides until thoroughly cooked.
- In a large saucepan, warm up the olive oil and once warm add the thinly sliced onions and chopped garlic cloves.
- Mix well the onion and garlic and season to taste; allow them to cook without browning on a low-medium flame.
- Once these are cooked, add the tomato passata and add a little water, before mixing and allowing to cook until the sauce is ready, simmering on low flame for about 15 minutes. You can add some basil or seasoning of choice at this stage.
- Dice the mozzarella cheese and set it aside.
- Start layering the ingredients in the baking dish: always put some tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish so the keto eggplant parmesan casserole doesn't stick while baking.
- Next add some grilled eggplant slices, ensuring the edges slightly overlap; then continue with mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and tomato. Continue layering the ingredients until they are all finished.
- Ensure you keep some tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese for the top layer of the low carb eggplant parmesan.
- Bake the dish in the middle of the oven, that has been preheated to 350 F (180 C FAN oven).
- Bake the eggplant carb for 20 minutes while covered with a sheet of aluminium foil, then remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes, which will help eliminate the excess moisture.
- Remove the eggplant parmesan casserole from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, before slicing and serving, as this will allow the bake to set. Enjoy!
People also ask [FAQs]
While in Italian parmigiana means ‘from Parma’, a city in the Northern region of Emilia Romagna, the dish Eggplant Parmesan originated from Southern Italy, and the debate is whether it comes from Sicily, Calabria, Puglia, or the area around Naples, Campania.
Parmigiana is pronounced paar-muh-jaa-nuh, with the letter a being quite strong in Italian.
Eggplant Parmesan is a baked dish made of three main ingredients: layered tomato sauce, cheese, and eggplant; traditionally, in this classic Italian dish, the eggplant slices are coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, however by grilling them or pan-frying them in this eggplant parmesan recipe, we achieve a very tasty alternative that lowers calories, fats, and carbohydrates.
This low carb eggplant parmesan recipe has only 274 calories per portion, however, be mindful when having the traditional version, as fried eggplant will have many more calories and fats.
How to cut eggplant for eggplant parmesan?
This eggplant parmesan recipe can use either peeled or unpeeled eggplant; most of the vitamins and nutrients are contained in the skin, so I personally choose not to peel it.
Once washed, remove the top of the eggplant and then slice it in either roundel widths-wise, or in oval slices, length-wise. It is important the slices are thin, as thick slices take longer to cook, meaning the outside could burn while grilling or the outside may remain raw.
How to store baked eggplant parmesan? How to freeze eggplant parmesan?
This eggplant parmesan casserole can be easily stored in an airtight container; once cooled, put the slices in the container and either freeze or refrigerate. This easy recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This is a great meal prepping idea and preparing a large eggplant parmesan tray to portion and freeze is a great way to make ahead meals; before serving, allow the portion to fully defrost and heat it up until piping hot.
What to serve with eggplant parmesan?
Although this is considered as a side dish in Italy, I have – and many others – mostly always had it as a main course. Melanzane Alla Parmigiana (a.k.a. Eggplant Parmesan) can be served with a crunchy salad side dish or with some roasted vegetables of choice; to make it as a bigger meal, serve it with a side of protein, such as some grilled chicken or beef.
Tips And Tricks For Keto Eggplant Parmesan
- Chicken parmesan: substitute eggplant (or mix) with some grilled chicken slices! This will still be suitable if you are following a low-carb or keto diet.
- Meat sauce: as mentioned before, Bolognese sauce can be used in between layers to create a meaty low-carb eggplant parmesan (my Mother loves preparing it like this!).
- Cheese: if preferred, other cheese can be used instead of mozzarella and parmesan; good options are pecorino romano, mild cheddar or a ricotta cheese mixture with other more solid, mature cheeses. All cheese is keto-friendly.
- Tomato Sauce: Feel free to use chopped tomato sauce rather than passata if you like the sauce chunky. This may result in a more liquid consistency to start with, so you may need to simmer it a bit longer.
- Seasoning: This dish is real Italian comfort food, so season the marinara sauce the way you prefer. Should you like it with a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes or some extra black pepper. Should you not have fresh garlic, use some garlic powder instead, however, do not overdo it, as this has quite a strong flavor.
This Keto Eggplant Parmesan is rich in mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce, low carb, layered with eggplant slices (or fried eggplant!) and parmesan cheese, making it the ultimate eggplant parm, definitely worthy of being added to your collection of eggplant recipes!
I surely do hope you give this glorious dish a try, as it is a great lunch or dinner idea, 'weekday in front of a movie meal' or 'weekend celebrate with friends dish'... there's no better way to enjoy an eggplant bake, if not with plenty of rich tomato and sauce, you know... the Italian way!
If you enjoyed this recipe, have a go at these too:
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe (Keto, Low Carb + Healthy)
For the tomato sauce
- 680 ml Tomato Passata
- 1 Onion small
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Mozzarella Light 125 g or 4 ½ oz
- 30 g Parmesan Cheese grated
- 2 Eggplants
- Cooking Spray as required
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Basil Leaves to taste, optional
Prepare the grilled eggplant slices
- Wash the eggplants, dry them and cut them lengthwise in slices about ⅕ inch thick (5mm); before grilling, pat them down with some paper towel on both sides.
- Heat up the pan on medium heat and sprinkle with a little olive oil (half teaspoon should suffice) or a few sprays of cooking spray; once the pan is warm, add the eggplant slices and allow to cook.
- Cooking the eggplant should take about 3 minutes per side. Ensure the eggplant slices are thoroughly cooked as they may release some water in the bake, making it liquid and quite bitter.
- To check whether the eggplant is cooked thoroughly, use a fork and if it pokes and removes easily, it is ready. As the slices cook, set the tender eggplant slices aside on a baking sheet and continue until the whole batch is done.
Prepare the tomato sauce
- In a large saucepan, warm up the olive oil on medium heath and, when warm, Sautée the onion and garlic until they are soft and the smell of rawness has gone.
- Next, add the tomato passata, half a cup of water, and, if you have, add a few basil leaves and allow the sauce to simmer on a low flame for 15-20 minutes, occasionally mixing. Once the tomato sauce is ready, it will be bright red in color and quite thick.
Layer the eggplant parmesan
- Prepare the baking dish by covering the base with some tomato sauce, which will prevent the eggplant from sticking and burning at the bottom.
- Next, lay the slices of grilled eggplant and top them with a bit of grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese and top with some more tomato sauce; once done, repeat the same process, but layer the eggplant in the other direction, perpendicular to the previous layer. Continue doing so until all of the eggplants have been used.
- For the top layer, first spread the remaining tomato sauce and then top it with the cheeses; the eggplant casserole is now ready and it only requires baking.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (FAN), 350 Fahrenheit FAN, gas 6 or static oven 200 degrees Celsius or 400 Fahrenheit.
- Place the eggplant parmesan on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 20 minutes covered with a sheet of aluminum foil and then, 20 more minutes without it.
- Should there be still quite a bit of moisture in the bake, cover it again with the foil, leaving a corner open, to allow the steam to escape; continue baking until the desired consistency is achieved.