This is a nice low-carb, gluten-free way to get the pizza you may be craving. It makes for a light snack, a tasty appetizer before a larger meal, or even as a side dish. I like to use the Italian or baby eggplants (seen in this photo) as they’re smaller and generally less bitter for this purpose, but of course, you may use the regular size eggplants too. (Just allow a little more time for each of the steps.) Or you might like to try the Japanese eggplant because they’re a bit sweeter and more delicate (translation: not tough).
Eggplant Pizza Bites
- 2 baby/Italian/Japanese eggplants
- Tomato sauce (Premade or my Pizza sauce - directions to follow)
- Parmesan cheese (Dairy-free cheese is possible)
- Mozzarella cheese (Dairy-free cheese is possible)
Makes approximately 25 pizza bites. Whichever kind you choose, this is how to go about preparing them: Cut each end off. Slice into 1/2" to 3/4" thick slices. Try and cut each one the same thickness so they will cook evenly, then lay them out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Allow the moisture to bead up on the surface of each one (as seen in the photo). This will take approximately 25 - 30 minutes. As this occurs, the eggplant may darken slightly and will stain the paper towel beneath it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray cookie sheet. Then begin making the pizza sauce. Or use a gluten-free pre-made sauce if you like. If you choose to make the homemade one seen here you may prepare it a few days in advance of when you want or need it. This sauce is also delicious over gluten-free pasta, chicken, fish, or as a heated dipping sauce for gluten-free bread - similar to the way I used to enjoy it at one of our favorite local restaurants. Yum!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or another cooking oil of your choice)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 cans (14-16 oz) chopped tomatoes (with liquid) or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Saute the garlic in olive oil for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Stir and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add the salt and pepper and finish cooking. It should no longer be soupy/saucy, but rather more on the dry side so it won't run over the sides of the eggplant. By this time the eggplant should be ready for the next step. Blot or wipe the salt and moisture off well (you don't want it to be too salty) and lay it on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 - 20 minutes - until the eggplant is tender to the fork. Remove and turn the oven to broil. Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the roasted eggplant. Add the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese. Pop under the broiler for approximately 5 - 8 minutes (or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown). Watch them though. They have a sneaky way of burning under that broiler! =) Serve and enjoy! They're also good left over.