Our Keto Eggplant Parmesan recipe is a low carb version of a classic Italian favorite that so many people love. The tender eggplant slices are coated in a crispy almond flour coating, smothered in marinara sauce, and topped with gooey cheese then baked to perfection.
It’s great low carb and healthy comfort food for any time you need it, without all the carbs!
So I didn’t really know a lot about eggplant or eggplant parmesan until a few years ago. My in-laws were coming up for a visit and I wanted to make something really nice for them for dinner.
A little background…I love cooking for other people. I mean yes I love cooking for just me and my husband, but I really enjoy having company over and going all out for my friends and family.
Ok, back to my story. My in-laws were coming up and I know how much my mother-in-law loves Eggplant Parmesan, so I decided I would give it a try.
As I started making it my sister in law called me and I told her what I was making. She then informed me that my mother in law is very particular when it comes to eggplant parm.
She likes it sliced very thin, and it needs to be peeled, absolutely no skin on the eggplant. I’m so happy she called when she did because I didn’t know either of those things.
So I got to work and started making dinner. I’m going to be honest with you, eggplant parm is a lot of work but in the end, it was totally worth it! My mother in law gave my eggplant parmesan the seal of approval, and said she loved it! Now that recipe has been a go-to favorite of mine for the last few years.
But now that I have been eating low carb I was determined to recreate this recipe so that I can enjoy it and others who are eating low carb can enjoy it as well.
I’ve perfected my Keto eggplant parmesan recipe and to tell you the truth I don’t think you would ever know that I don’t use regular breadcrumbs.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised…and I can’t wait to hear what you guys think. Please leave me some comments below.
What is Eggplant Parmesan?
What exactly is eggplant parmesan? Traditional eggplant parmesan is sliced eggplant that is breaded and fried, topped with tomato sauce and cheese then baked to perfection.
You will find eggplant parmesan to be a staple menu item at most Italian restaurants in the United States.
What Does Eggplant Parmesan Taste Like?
Eggplant parmesan does taste pretty similar to chicken parmesan. When eggplant is cooked the taste is very mild, and also can take on a soft creamy texture.
Because of its mild flavor, eggplant can be used in many recipes that have bolder flavors, just like eggplant parmesan. Combined with breading, sauce, and cheese, it’s so delicious.
I think you’ll love it just as much as our Keto Chicken Parmesan, which is the perfect blend of crispy and juicy!
Is Eggplant Parmesan Really Italian?
What is the history of eggplant parmesan? Is it really Italian? In fact, yes it is! Eggplant parmesan originated in Italy, southern Italy to be exact.
Eggplant Parmesan, or Melanzane alla Parmigiana as the Italians say, is claimed by both the regions of Campania and Sicily but is also associated with Naples style of cooking.
According to some, however, they think eggplant parmesan originated in the northern city of Parma, hence the same “Parmesan.”
It’s been a longtime battle for who gets to claim this dish as their own, but no matter how you slice it, Eggplant Parmesan is definitely an authentic Italian dish.
Is Eggplant Keto?
Eggplant is such a great low carb vegetable choice while on a keto diet. For 1 cup chopped eggplant it’s only 3 NET carbs and is very high in fiber.
Eggplant can be used to make a low carb eggplant lasagna, mini eggplant pizzas, and a wonderful appetizer of low carb fried eggplant…just to name a few options. Cooking with eggplant while on keto is for sure a great idea.
Is Eggplant Parmesan Healthy? How Many Calories?
Homemade food, in general, is so much better than what you find at a lot of restaurants including chain restaurants. It’s healthier for you and you control what you are actually putting into your food.
I would say our homemade low carb eggplant parmesan is pretty healthy. It’s coated using almond flour instead of breadcrumbs which are much better for you.
It also has way fewer calories than regular eggplant parmesan.
- For example, one portion of Olive Garden’s eggplant parmesan has over 1,000 calories.
- Our keto eggplant parmesan has 483 calories per serving. That’s less than half!
So if you are looking for a nice healthy low calories option please give this Keto eggplant parm a try.
Is Eggplant Parmesan Keto-Friendly?
If you are on a keto diet then ordering eggplant parmesan while out at a restaurant is out of the question because it’s way too high in carbs. But it doesn’t mean that you can never eat eggplant parmesan again.
My Keto eggplant parmesan is coated in almond flour and grated parmesan cheese instead of using flour and breadcrumbs. Which means this recipe for baked parmesan is much lower in carbs than traditional eggplant parm.
- To be more specific, our Keto eggplant parmesan has only 8 NET CARBS per serving.
Now compare that to restaurant-style eggplant parmesan, such as Olive Garden. Their eggplant parmesan has about 113 carbs.
Quite a difference right?!
What Ingredients are in Keto Eggplant Parmesan?
Eggplant – 2 small-medium sized eggplants should be plenty. I peel them first and then slice them into thin even slices.
Eggs – I use eggs to coat the eggplant slices before coating them in the almond flour.
Almond Flour & Parmesan Cheese – This combo is what we use as a replacement for breadcrumbs. Make sure to use finely ground almond flour, and use grated parmesan.
Spices – Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Tomato Sauce – I always prefer using my homemade sauce, and I try to always have a container in the freezer to thaw out whenever I need it. If you use a jar of sauce, then make sure that it doesn’t have any extra sugar added.
Mozzarella – 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
Can I Make Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Without Almond Flour? No Breadcrumbs?
If you don’t want to use any almond flour for the coating of your eggplant, that’s ok. You can just coat the slices in:
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Crushed Pork Rinds
- Combo of both Parmesan and Pork Rinds
Can I Make Eggplant Parm Without Using Eggs?
Using eggs is the most common way to coat your eggplant slices, but if you have an egg allergy or if you are a vegan there’s another option.
You can coat the eggplant slices by dipping them in almond milk instead. We’ve found this to be a reliable solution with not much difference.
What are the Best Cheeses for Eggplant Parm?
Well since it’s an authentic Italian dish, it only seems right that you would use Italian cheeses. Parmesan and mozzarella are the 2 most common kinds of cheese for eggplant parmesan.
Mozzarella works especially well on eggplant parm since it melts so easily when it’s baked.
Another good option you could use if you wanted to replace the mozzarella, is using provolone cheese.
What Tomato Sauce Should I Use for Keto Eggplant Parmesan?
Homemade sauce is always going to be the best option. We’re working on getting you guys our homemade sauce recipe but we don’t have it up yet.
If you have your own recipe for homemade sauce then go ahead and use it. You can use a jar of store-bought sauce if you want, but make sure there’s no added sugar.
I do have a recipe for a quick 5-minute marinara sauce you can whip up in a pinch.
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Combine all ingredients to a pot and stir over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, turn down to low heat. Let simmer until you are ready to use it.
Best Oil For Frying Eggplant
I always like to fry most things in olive oil, it’s probably because that’s always the way my mom did it, so that’s how I learned.
The exact brand we use is Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This has always been my mom’s favorite, but if you have a brand you like, then go with yours.
A lot of people fry their foods in vegetable oil, which I have done before. It’s cheaper especially if you need a high amount of oil in your pan but it’s just not a healthy option.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils, and it fries very well. So ultimately it’s my go-to.
Picking Out the Best Eggplants
Are there any gardeners out there? If so, the best eggplant you can use for eggplant parmesan is by growing it in your own garden.
I’ve been growing eggplant in my garden for about 3 years now, and I’m really hoping to be able to plant some this spring, but I’m not sure if that’s gonna happen this year.
If you do plant your own you will start to have plenty of eggplants come August. You can always get some nice fresh ones at farmer’s markets if you have those nearby you as well.
Eggplants are still readily available in the grocery stores all year-round, but their peak season is August-October. The quality may vary if you buy eggplant out of season.
In order to pick out the right eggplant, pick it up and make sure it feels firm and is heavy in size.
Try to pick eggplants that are free from scars or blemishes, you want the skin of the eggplant to be vivid in color and glossy-looking.
Avoid eggplants with bruising on the outside, because it will usually indicate the flesh on the inside is bruised or damaged.
Preparing the Eggplant
There are a few steps to take in order to prepare your Keto eggplant parmesan. Here are a few common questions and steps you may be wondering about while getting ready to cook it.
Do you need to wash the eggplant first? Simply put…it just depends on how you cook it.
If you are peeling the eggplant first, then there is no need to wash them ahead of time. However, if you are leaving the skin on, then yes you definitely should wash the eggplant first.
Rinsing your fruits and veggies off before cooking them is best, especially with all the germs going around right now. I usually just rinse my produce off with warm water, but I know there are some organic fruit and veggie sprays out there that can be used too.
Do I Have to Peel Eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan?
Whether or not to peel the eggplant is a question that gets asked a lot. And I feel like people are pretty split on the matter.
Eggplant skin is completely edible and does contain nutrients including antioxidants.
Keep in mind though, the larger the eggplant is, the skin may become tough and bitter. It might be best to peel the larger ones and keep the skin on smaller ones.
I always tend to peel the skin off my eggplant especially when I’m making baked eggplant parmesan. It’s mostly because my first time making eggplant parm, was for my mother-in-law and that’s how she likes it. So now it’s just part of what I do.
But ultimately you can do whichever way you prefer.
How Thin to Slice Eggplant for Eggplant Parm?
I really do feel like everyone has very different preferences on how they like their eggplant parm. Some like it with the skin on, some like the skin peeled. Others like it sliced very thin, and then some prefer it sliced thick.
In my opinion, the best way to slice eggplant for eggplant parmesan is to slice it very thin. This is the way I learned because it’s how my mother-in-law likes it, and time has confirmed it’s the best way.
The problem with thick slices of eggplant is that it’s more difficult to cook and it remains a lot tougher and it can have a rubbery, chewy texture which is not what you want.
Thick eggplant slices also retain more water which will leave a bitter taste.
To slice eggplant thin, first, you need to cut the ends off. Then I would recommend cutting each slice about ⅛” inch -¼” inch thick.
Whatever thickness you choose, try to make your slices as even as possible, that way they cook evenly.
Sweating the Eggplant First
What does “Sweating” and eggplant mean?? Sounds kind of funny right? And no…it’s not a typo. “Sweating” an eggplant means to get the bitterness out by making it sweat.
To do this, first, cut the eggplant into slices, and lay them out on a baking tray. Sprinkle them all over with salt, then flip them over and salt the other side. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
After that, the eggplant will begin to “sweat” (you’ll see little droplets of moisture being extracted by the salt and sit of the surface of the eggplant). Lastly, pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel to remove the moisture.
How to Make Keto Eggplant Parmesan
There are definitely a good amount of steps required for making Keto eggplant parmesan, but it’s worth the effort! Here are the step by step instructions:
Prepare the Eggplant
Start by cutting the ends off and then peeling the eggplant using a vegetable peeler.
Once the eggplant is completely peeled, cut into round slices ⅛”-¼” thick. Try to cut even slices.
Get a baking tray and line with paper towels, then place the slices on the baking tray.
Sprinkle all the slices with salt, then flip over and sprinkle the other side with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes pat the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel.
In one bowl whisk 2 eggs and set aside.
In a second bowl combine almond flour, parmesan cheese, seasonings, and mix together.
Dip eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then move to the flour mixture, making sure to evenly coat each piece of eggplant.
Place the slices onto a tray, while you finish dipping the rest of the eggplant.
Cooking the Eggplant
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, making sure the oil is hot enough before adding the eggplant slices.
- TIP: A quick way to tell if the oil is hot enough to fry the eggplant is to take a few pieces of almond flour that fell off on the tray and add it to the oil. If it starts to quickly bubble then it’s ready.
Once the oil is hot add the slices to the pan, making sure not to crowd them so they fry more evenly. My pan fits about 6-7 pieces per batch.
Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until each side is golden brown. Transfer to a baking tray, while you cook the rest of the eggplant in batches.
Baking It in the Oven
I used an 8×8 glass baking dish because I felt that it was the perfect fit based on the amount of eggplant I have.
Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. This helps the eggplant from sticking to the bottom.
Place eggplant slices in the baking dish, one layer at a time. My dish fit 9 pieces without any overlapping.
Add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce over the eggplant, and spread it around covering all the pieces.
Then put a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Repeat layering 2 more times, you should be able to have 3 layers of eggplant with sauce and cheese.
For the final top layer, add tomato sauce and remaining mozzarella. Feel free to add some fresh parsley as a garnish.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the cheese is completely melted and is starting to bubble.
Best Tips for Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan
Here are a few essential tips for making sure your Low Carb Eggplant Parm comes out perfect!
- “Sweating” the eggplant first is a must-do. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and let sit for 30 minutes. It will help take the moisture out of the eggplant before cooking it. If not your eggplant will be too chewy and bitter tasting.
- If leaving the skin on then make sure to wash the eggplant first.
- Cut slices into ⅛”-¼” thick slices.
- Double coating the eggplant in almond flour is not necessary.
- Adding some fresh basil in between the eggplant layers will give you some nice flavor.
- If you want to add some extra protein, then add ground sausage or ground beef in between the layers as well.
- Try not to use pre-shredded mozzarella cheese if possible. Use freshly grated mozzarella instead.
- Broil for a few minutes at the end of the baking time, if you want the cheese to get brown and crispy.
- You don’t want to add too much sauce, because the sauce shouldn’t overpower the eggplant.
My Eggplant Parmesan is Too Chewy
If you eggplant parmesan is too chewy then it means you probably cut the slices too thick. “Chewiness” means the eggplant isn’t really done enough.
When slicing the eggplant on the thinner side, you shouldn’t have a chewy problem.
Eggplant Parm is Too Soggy
If your eggplant parm is too soggy it might mean that you skipped the “sweating” process, or didn’t do it long enough and as a result have too much water left in the slices. Please don’t skip it!
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and let sit for at least 30 minutes. It will pull the moisture out and help from getting soggy while cooking.
Baking Keto Eggplant Parmesan – No Frying
If you choose not to fry the eggplant and would rather bake them first then that’s totally doable. Follow these instructions instead:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Sweat the eggplant slices by salting them and letting them sit for 30 minutes.
- Pat them dry with paper towels.
- Dip the slices into the egg wash, then into the flour mixture.
- Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Put the slices on top of the wire rack. This way the bottoms of the eggplant will get crispy and not mushy.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. Broil for 1-2 minutes if you need them to be crispier.
- Once eggplant slices are done, remove from the oven and assemble the eggplant parmesan.
Different Variations of Low Carb Eggplant Parm
So this recipe has been made into a keto version, without even knowing by the taste that it’s keto. It’s that good, tastes just like a classic eggplant parmesan!
If you are looking to change it up a bit here are a couple of ideas:
- Add more seasoning – add some garlic, onion powder, chile pepper flakes, or paprika to the flour coating.
- Pork rinds – If you are NOT a vegetarian but do not want to use almond flour, then replace the almond flour with crushed pork rinds.
- Coconut flour – If you have a nut allergy, and if you are a vegetarian then coat the eggplant in coconut flour instead.
Other Diets This Recipe is Good For
Gluten-Free: Seeing that this is made with almond flour instead of breadcrumbs it makes it gluten-free. You wouldn’t even know by tasting it!
Vegetarian: This is a great vegetarian dish, that will please your dinner company.
Vegan: Ok so seeing that this recipe has cheese, and uses eggs it’s obviously not vegan. But we can fix that. Coat the eggplant in almond milk instead of eggs. And use vegan cheese instead.
What to Serve with Keto Eggplant Parmesan
Considering this eggplant parmesan is a meat-free dish hearty dish, you might want to keep the rest of the meal meat-free as well.
Can I Make Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Ahead?
Can Keto eggplant parmesan be made ahead of time? Yes, this eggplant parmesan can be made in advance, perfect for meal planning.
- Prepare following all the steps until you get to the part where you bake it.
- Tightly wrap the baking dish with plastic wrap then cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- When ready to bake uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Normally, it’s only 30 minutes but because it will be cold you need to bake for a few extra minutes.
How to Store Eggplant Parmesan
This is also an easy recipe to store. Once your eggplant parmesan bake has been cooked and you have leftovers, store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.
It will last 3-4 days after baking.
Reheating Eggplant Parm
Reheating your leftover keto eggplant parm is super easy and you can do it in the microwave or in the oven with good results.
For reheating it in the microwave, put it in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 60-90 seconds, depending on how hot you like it.
For reheating eggplant parmesan in the oven, place the leftovers on a baking tray, cover with foil and cook in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Can You Freeze Eggplant Parmesan
Freezing the eggplant parmesan is very easy and a great idea and can be done 2 different ways:
- To make this dish ahead of time, prepare as directed but don’t bake it. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then cover in foil. Freeze it for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, uncover and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until heated through.
- If you have already baked the eggplant parmesan and now have leftovers that also can be frozen. Place the leftovers in an airtight container and can be stored for up to 3 months.
More Keto Italian Recipes
If you’re in the mood for some other Low Carb Italian recipes then try our:
- Keto Chicken Parmesan
- Low Carb Fried Eggplant
- Keto Mozzarella Sticks
- Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Low Carb Fried Zucchini
They all are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will be a hit at your next party!Print
Low Carb Keto Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian recipe that so many people love. The tender eggplant slices are coated in a crispy almond flour coating, smothered in marinara sauce and topped with gooey cheese then baked to perfection. It’s a great comfort food for any time you need it without all the carbs!
- 2 small-medium eggplants, sliced ⅛” inch – ¼” inch thick
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Slice the ends off the eggplants, and using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants. Cut into round slices ⅛”-¼” thick. Try to cut even slices.
- Line a baking tray with paper towels, and place the slices on the baking tray. Sprinkle all the slices with salt, then flip over and sprinkle the other side. Let sit for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels after the 30 minutes is up.
- In one bowl whisk 2 eggs and set aside. In a second bowl combine the almond flour, parmesan cheese, seasonings, and then mix together.
- Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then move to the flour mixture, making sure to evenly coat each piece of eggplant. Place the slices onto a tray while you finish dipping the rest of the eggplant.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, making sure the oil is hot enough before adding the eggplant slices. Once the oil is hot add the slices to the pan, making sure not to overcrowd them. About 6-7 pieces per batch.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until each side is golden brown. Transfer to a baking tray, while you cook the rest of the eggplant in batches.
- In an 8×8 baking dish put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Place one layer of eggplant slices in the baking dish, add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce over the eggplant, then add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat layering 2 more times. You should be able to have 3 layers of eggplant with sauce and cheese. For the final top layer, add tomato sauce and the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cheese is completely melted and has started to bubble.
8 NET CARBS PER SERVING
“Sweating” the eggplant first is a must-do. Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and let sit for 30 minutes. It will help take the moisture out of the eggplant before cooking it.
If leaving the skin on then make sure to wash the eggplant first. But if you are peeling the eggplants there is no need to wash ahead of time.
Cut slices into ⅛”-¼” thick slices.
Adding some fresh basil in between the eggplant layers will give you some nice flavor.
If you want to add some extra protein, then add ground sausage or ground beef in between the layers as well.
Try not to use pre-shredded mozzarella cheese if possible. Use freshly grated instead.
Broil for a few minutes at the end of the baking time, if you want the cheese to get brown and crispy.
You don’t want to add too much sauce, because the sauce shouldn’t overpower the eggplant.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes for frying + 30 minutes baking
- Category: Main Courses
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
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