I’ve always loved eggplant parmesan — eggplant has such a great texture that has the bite of meat but with a unique flavor that does so well with Italian-inspired dishes. I sometimes substitute thinly sliced eggplant for the zucchini in my keto manicotti however this keto eggplant parmesan is so rich and comforting, I find myself making it often…and it tastes amazing the next day for leftovers! While this recipe serves 8 (or more!), I also make a quick and dirty version of keto eggplant parmesan when I want a single serving by layering the eggplant, whole milk ricotta (which I don’t use in the sheet version), sauce and mozzarella in a ramekin and popping it in the microwave!
Benefits of Eggplant
Along with the mild flavor and hearty texture, eggplant also packs lots of nutritional benefits that make this a great addition to your keto diet. It’s low in carbs with only around 2g of net carbs per cup (and high in fiber!) and is a significant source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, folic acid, and potassium. Eggplant also has a high level of manganese – an antioxidant that can prevent cancer and is rich in phytonutrients, which help maintain brain function which is why we love this Ketology super food!
And of course, in place of breadcrumbs, we’re using ground pork rinds in this recipe – which when combined with coconut flour and an egg wash, is the perfect low carb alternative to breading basically anything! You can use almond flour, but I find coconut flour works much better without adding any grittiness or nutty flavor.
- 2 1/4 pounds eggplants about 2 large
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove minced garlic about 1 teaspoon
- 24 oz no sugar added marinara sauce I like Rao's
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups ground pork rinds
- 1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese divided
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 4 eggs beaten (more if needed)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to oil the sheet pans
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick rounds. Lay the eggplant slices out on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan (or on several layers of paper towels).
- Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant rounds lightly with salt. Let the eggplant rounds sit and release moisture for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and gently cook for 1 minute.
- Add the marinara sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced basil and remove from heat.
- Combine 1 1/2 cups of the ground pork rinds with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and italian seasoning, and place in a shallow bowl or rimmed dish.
- Set up your workstation: coconut flour in one shallow bowl, beaten eggs in another bowl, and the pork rind and parmesan mixture in another.
- Dredge eggplant rounds in coconut flour, then the egg wash, and finally the pork rind and cheese mixture. Place each round gently in the baking dish.
- Place the "breaded" eggplant slices in the preheated oven. Cook for 15 minutes at 425°F, turning the slices over mid-way through, until they are browned. Remove from oven and place the rounds on a paper towel lined plate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Using the same baking dish, cover the bottom with 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Place a third of the eggplant rounds in a single layer over the sauce.
- Layer half of the sliced mozzarella on top of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
- Place another third of the eggplant rounds over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the eggplant rounds. Layer the rest of the sliced mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan.
- Add the remaining eggplant in a single layer on top of the cheese. Top with the remaining sauce and the remaining Parmesan.
- Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into to serve.