Ok, gluten-free is true. Family-friendly depends on who you ask. Anders would beg to differ. But you can also make this basic recipe for the whole family alongside your weighed keto-portion from the same ingredients. And I loved it.
When Nora tried it, she said “yummy.” But Ted had to spoon it up for her as the meal went on. Doing gymnastics on her patio chair was far more interesting than her meal. It wasn’t a “make this again please!” but it didn’t bomb either.
Yesterday afternoon we worked in the garden. We harvested our one pioneering Hokkaido squash (Margie, I think you are right that it is not a Hubbard, and Cora can confirm), about a pint of Good Mother Stallard heirloom beans that the kids shelled with me, and Nora enthusiastically brought in a few Little Fingers Eggplant and a green pepper.
Nora really wanted to eat one of those beautiful little eggplants. And we had to wonder how these plants are related to eggs. Turns out that early Europeans grew a white ornamental variety that looked just like goose eggs. Hence the name. But now we grow these beautiful deep purple eggplants and adore the color eggplant.
When Nora wants to try a new vegetable, I am on it. So while the kids watched Word Girl and Wild Kratts (thank goodness for late afternoon PBS programming), I made eggplant parmesan. The foundational recipe came from here: Baked Eggplant Parmesan. But I substituted flaxseed meal for the bread crumbs and flour for all of us and made a much smaller batch overall. For the whole family, you can follow the example of Nora’s recipe and just do the same procedure without weighing. I used 1 egg total: beat it with a bit of water, measured out Nora’s 8 grams, then used up the rest on the 2 regular eggplants for the rest of the family. You could also add ground pork sausage or beef if you want it meaty, but that would have been too much protein in this meal for Nora.
As always, calculate your own recipes with your own KetoCalculator. This is a guide for proportions that worked with this recipe, but if you are using different brands of cheese or making other variations, but sure of what you are feeding to your keto kid.
10 g olive oil
35 g eggplant
8 g egg, beaten with a bit of water
6 g of Parmesan Cheese, grated
3 g Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal
25 g Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
10 g Whole Milk Mozzarella
optional: fresh or dried oregano (not included in calculations here, but I added them to the dish for the rest of the family)
Measure the olive oil into a smallish oven-safe dish, big enough to hold your eggplant slices in a single layer. Preheat the oven to 400, placing the dish with the oil into the oven while it is preheating and you are preparing the eggplant slices.
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. If you are using a full-sized eggplant, you could cut it into smaller bite-sized pieces which will eliminate the need to cut it at the table.
Measure the beaten egg on to a small shallow dish. Measure the flaxseed meal and parmesan on to another small shallow dish and mix them well. You could also add some salt or dried herbs to the mix if you like.
Coat each slice of eggplant with the egg. Then dredge each in the flax-parmesan mixture. My fingers got coated with the mixture as well, so make sure that you have a rubber spatula on hand to scrape as much back into the mix as possible. You’ve measured these ingredients and accounted for them, so they might as well get into the kid.
When you have all of the eggplant coated, take the pre-heated oil and dish out of the oven and lay the eggplant slices in a single layer. They will start to fry if you’ve let it heat up enough, so it won’t get soggy with oil. After you have them all in the pan, scrape any remaining egg over the slices, then scrape any remaining flax and parmesan over them. You want to get it all in there and it will bake together nicely. I had very little of the egg and coating leftover to scrape back in, so the proportions were just about right.
Put the pan back in the oven and cook at 400 for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the slices over and return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes to cook the other side.
When the keto-portion of eggplant went into the oven, I made the eggplant slices for the family dish with the leftover egg and mixed up more flax-parmesan mix. They went into the oven in stages of 7-10 minutes in 2 pie pans because they were larger pieces of eggplant. The timing is not too critical, as long as the eggplant gets cooked on each side and is in the oven long enough to cook through and soften.
While eggplant is in the oven, weigh the tomatoes and mozzarella. When the keto-eggplant portion is done cooking, scoop some of the oil out of the pan with your rubber spatula and put it into a small ramekin or other ovenproof dish. Put 1/2 of the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish. Scape everything out of the eggplant baking dish into the ramekin, making sure to get all of the oil out. Top with the remaining tomatoes and mozzarella. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes to heat through and melt the mozzarella.
Same procedure to finish the family portion. Use the rest of the can of tomatoes or any sauce you wish, topping with meat if desired and cheese.
There are a lot of steps here and is not a quick meal, but it’s also not technically difficult to pull off and makes a meal for everyone. It would be worth keeping in your back pocket for a special occasion or weekend if you like Italian and want a special meal. It would also be easy to make a few portions at a time to be reheated another night.
The keto-version is very similar to the original version and was not overly oily, making it great for all of us (although I eyeball the oil for the family portion). That said, it is only about a 1.75:1 ratio, so you will have to supplement with other fat. Nora had some kalamata olives on the side, which are 4.5:1 on their own, which helped the ratio for her entire meal. Her bedtime snack is always a cream-steamer with coconut oil and a few raspberries to end the day right.
I plan to be posting fewer recipes as our quarter at Oregon State gets busier. Actually, I should be working on a paper right now instead of blogging…