Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas (Video)
I love this recipe for Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas made on a base of roasted eggplant. The eggplant pizzas are low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, meatless, and South Beach Diet friendly; use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
Watch the video to see if you might like to make Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas!
If you’re interested in food, you must have heard that August 15 would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. I was honored to be one of the bloggers asked to share thoughts of Julia in a tribute written for PBS Food, and my friend Lydia completely captured why food bloggers want to honor Julia in her post on Six Lessons I Learned About Food Blogging from Julia Child.
Julia was known for her appreciation of bread, butter, and wine, so when you’re writing a blog focused on carb-conscious cooking, finding a suitable Julia Child recipe that will appeal to your readers can be a challenge. That’s why I was so excited to find these Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas in From Julia Child’s Kitchen, my one and only Julia Child cookbook. This recipe illustrates perfectly how Julia was ahead of her time with this low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, and low-glycemic pizza.
(This recipe is part of the Cook for Julia project that’s part of the celebration at PBSFood. Thanks for the inspiration Julia, and also for showing us that cooking gourmet food at home was not only possible, but also a lot of fun. Check after my recipe for links to other blog posts featuring recipes from Julia, and see more recipe ideas on Facebook from PBS.food.)
I must confess that even though the inspiring recipe was Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas, I did make a few minor changes in the recipe. I cut the eggplant slightly thicker than Julia said and also roasted them uncovered rather than covered with foil. I also used some thinly sliced fresh basil on the pizzas, a change I am sure Julia would approve of. Other than that, the recipe is really quite close to Julia’s version.
Julia suggested this as a first course or side dish, but I ate it as the main dish, with a Summer Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Herbs on the side. And although I’m not sure Julia would have been excited about the idea of Meatless Monday, this was a very satisfying meatless meal.
For this recipe you’ll need a globe eggplant, about 9 inches long. (The one I had weighed about 1/2 pound.)
Cut the eggplant in slices about 3/4 inch thick, trying hard to make them all the same thickness.
Then lay the eggplant slices on a double layer of paper towels and salt generously to draw out the water. (Julia says this is “to remove excess moisture and puckery quality.”)
While the eggplant sits, make the sauce. Start by cooking a generous amount of garlic in olive oil.
Then add a can of good quality petite dice tomatoes (or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes), dried Italian seasoning, and dried oregano. Let the sauce simmer, adding a tablespoon or two of water whenever it seems dry.
After 30 minutes, you can see the liquid that’s released from the eggplant. Blot eggplant dry with paper towels (this also wipes off the excess salt.)
Brush the eggplant with oil, sprinkle with dried herbs, and roast at 375F/190C for about 25 minutes. (Julia says “not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape.”)
While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice fresh basil (if using) and measure out the mozzarella. (I mixed together 1/2 cup each of low-fat mozzarella blend and Parmesan cheeses, but I only used about 2/3 cup total.)
Here’s how the eggplant looks after it’s roasted for 25 minutes.
Divide the sauce mixture among the eggplant pieces and top each with some sliced basil.
Then top each one with a generous amount of cheese.
Put pizzas under the broiler, just until the cheese is melted and serve.
Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas
- 1 globe eggplant, about 8 ounces and 9-10 inches long
- about 1 T salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
- about 2 T olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
- about 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on eggplant before roasting
- 10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/3 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend
- hot red pepper flakes for sprinkling finished pizza (optional)
- 2-3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) good quality petite diced tomatoes with liquid (or use 2 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
- 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano (use Greek or Turkish oregano)
- Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into 3/4 inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness!) Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid. (After the eggplant sits for 15 minutes, turn on the oven to 375F/190C.)
- While the eggplant sits, make the sauce. Heat 2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan) and saute the finely chopped garlic just until it becomes fragrant. (Don’t let it brown.) Add the petite diced tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, and dried oregano and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it’s thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks. (Add water as needed, a few tablespoons at a time as the sauce cooks, keeping it hot by simmering at very low heat until it’s needed for the eggplant slices.)
- After 30 minutes, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels (this also removes most of the salt.) Spray a roasting sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning.
- Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes (but “not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape” as Julia says.)
- While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves (if using) and combined freshly grated Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella blend. After 25 minutes or when eggplant pieces are done, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with thin basil slices (if using) and top with a generous amount of cheese.
- Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. (This took 6-7 minutes for me, but I was using a toaster oven and in a more powerful broiler it would probably only take a few minutes.) Serve hot, with red pepper flakes to sprinkle on pizza if desired.
This recipe adapted from one found in From Julia Child’s Kitchen.All images and text ©
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
I’m quite sure that Julia Child didn’t care about low-carb eating or the South Beach Diet, but nevertheless these low-carb eggplant pizzas are a great choice for any phase of South Beach and for most other low-carb eating plans.
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More Recipes by Julia Child by Food Bloggers:
Chocolate Chip Spice Pound Cake for Julia Child’s Birthday from The Perfect Pantry
Julia Child’s Eggplant Gratin from Andrea Meyers
Julia Child’s Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Julia Child’s Perfect Chocolate Mousse from David Lebovitz
Julia Child’s Chocolate Almond Cake from Apron Strings
Julia Child’s Spaghetti Marco Polo from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Julia Child’s Croissants and Quick Blackberry Jam from Barbara Bakes
Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon from Simply Recipes
French Pistou Sauce in Honor of Julia Child from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Julia Child’s Cheese Souffle from Culinary Types