I have a thing for pepperoni. It’s probably my favorite pizza topping, and I often snack on it. It was not a leap then for me to make some low carb eggplant parmesan pepperoni for dinner. It’s keto friendly and gluten free!
We loved it so much, I’ve made it three times already, and I have to share it with you.
It’s not that you couldn’t figure out how to do this, but you may not think of it.
Pork Panko for Breading the Eggplant Parmesan Pepperoni
It all starts with low carb Pork Panko, which are processed pork skins. If you don’t have the official Pork Panko, make your own using pork rinds and a food processor. I buy my Pork Panko at Costco, where it’s the most affordable and comes in a two-pack.
Frying with Pork Panko. Every time I make eggplant parmesan, I learn something new. This last time I learned that frying eggplant with Pork Panko yields the best result when using NO oil. Yes, that’s right. The eggplant turned out very crispy and the eggplant was delicious. Fry on low. I know it’s very tempting to turn up the heat, but the eggplant will be creamier inside when cooked low and slow.
Topping Eggplant Parm with Pepperoni. Are you a pizza lover? I am, but avoid it most of the time, even the so called keto fat head pizzas, which is just too much cheese for me. When I top my eggplant parmesan with pepperoni, I get the best of both worlds.
Tomato Sauce. I stick to my guns on this. There are two things that come in jars that I never buy: Salad dressing and tomato sauce.
You can buy your own sauce, but it’s so much easier to make a quick tomato sauce. My homemade pizza sauce will work perfectly with this recipe because you won’t be using much and it only calls for one can of Cento San Marzano tomatoes. If you want to make a lot more sauce, make my grandmother’s authentic tomato sauce and freeze left overs in ziplock bags for future Italian meals like this sausage crust four cheese pizza (totally keto friendly).
Thick or thin eggplant. Taking notes from my great godmother and favorite Aunt Rita, I like to cut my eggplant on the thicker side for eggplant parm and thinner when it’s just a fried snack. You have the choice of layering eggplant or making one layer of thicker slices.
Remove skin or not. I did not do this and realized I should have. I used rather large eggplants and the skin was a little tough. If you use small, young eggplants, you may not need to do that.
Salt or not. You may read that salting raw eggplant slices does or doesn’t matter. What it does do is release water and make it easier to fry. I always salt my eggplant on the counter for at least an hour and then use paper towels to absorb the released water and remove the salt.
These tips above should result is crispy eggplant that is ready to make eggplant parmesan.
Assemble with sauce, your favorite mozzarella, and pepperoni, baking until the cheese is fully melted, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for another 15 minutes before serving.
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Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan with Pepperoni
- Slice eggplant. I like it medium thick, about 1 inch if I'm baking it without stacking it. I recommend first slicing off the dark skin.
- Sweat the eggplant. Lay out on cloth or paper towels and salt heavily on both sides. Use more cloth or paper towels to absorb the liquid.
- Beat 2 eggs. Use more as needed.
- Add salt and pepper into eggs.
- Mix panko with cheese. I like to use 1/2 cup cheese to 1 cup pork panko, but you can decide for yourself. Keep in mind that pecorino is salty, but I think that adds flavor. You CAN skip the pecorino, if you want to or replace with parmesan.
- Dip into egg, then breadcrumbs and fry eggplant over medium heat in oil of your choice until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels. If you are using a copper chef non-stick pan (I highly recommend for this), you don't need any oil and you will get a very crispy eggplant.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put small amount tomato sauce in bottom of baking dish.
- Layer eggplant with sauce and mozzarella cheese. I like one layer, but you can make several layers. Top with pepperoni.
- Bake until cheese is completely melted and slightly golden brown. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting.
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