If you think the idea of low-carb Italian food is an impossible dream and that all Italian cuisine is a pasta-based carbohydrate bomb, think again. While much of the Italian food we enjoy is heavy on the pasta, there are plenty of authentic Italian dishes that are naturally low in carbs. This classic eggplant Parmesan casserole is a delicious example.
Eggplants supply a good amount of fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, vitamins C, K, B6 and more!
If you’re counting carbs or cutting carbs, try this dish instead of carb-heavy lasagne. Low-carb, moderate in calories, and vegetarian-friendly, it’s the perfect Italian dish for anyone watching their carb intake.
Classic Eggplant (or Zucchini) Parmesan
- 1 large eggplant (or 2 large zucchini)
- 1 T olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 T fresh chopped basil or 2 t dried basil
- ½ t table salt
- ⅛ t pepper
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 1 medium can tomato sauce
- ⅓ C whole-grain flour
- 3 C shredded mozzarella
- ½ C grated parmesan
- ½ t fresh oregano, minced, or ¼ t dried oregano
If you’re using eggplant, trim the stem end off and peel it with a paring knife. Cut in half, then slice the halves crosswise into 1/4-inch thicknesses. If you’re using zucchini, just trim stem and blossom ends and slice.
Using a colander set on a plate to catch any drips, lay one layer of eggplant slices out and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add another layer and sprinkle with salt. Continue till you’ve used all the eggplant. Let stand for 30 minutes, then rinse
thoroughly under cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. For zucchini, skip the salt step — simply rinse and pat dry. Preheat oven to 375°. Dust each slice of eggplant/zucchini so that it’s coated on all sides. Lay the slices out on the cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 10–15 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn the slices over and bake till the other side is browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase heat to 400°.
While the eggplant is resting in the colander, you’ll need to get the rest of the dish ready.
Saute the onions in the olive oil until soft but not browned, then add the garlic and saute 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
In the saucepan, combine the tomatoes, onion and garlic mixture, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, pepper, and 1/8 t salt. Cook on medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until nearly all of the liquid has evaporated. Stir frequently to prevent sticking or scorching. Remove from heat when done.
To assemble: Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a very thin coat of sauce (to keep eggplant/zucchini from scorching), then add a single layer of eggplant/zucchini. Add a thicker layer of sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan, then a layer of mozzarella. Continue layering the ingredients till you’ve used them all up; make sure you leave enough mozzarella to cover the top completely.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, till cheese is thoroughly melted and the sauce is bubbling. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before dividing into four equal portions to serve.