Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe for Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

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Julia Child's Eggplant Pizza
Pizza made on a base of roasted eggplant, from a recipe found in From Julia Child's Kitchen.

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 low-glycemic 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 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

I must confess that even though this was Julia Child, 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 (Tranches d'aubergine á  l'italienne)
(Makes 3-4 servings or 6-8 appetizer servings, recipe adapted from one found in From Julia Child's Kitchen.)

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)

Sauce Ingredients:
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.

Printer Friendly Recipe
South Beach Suggestions:
I'm quite sure that Julia Child didn't care about the South Beach Diet, but nevertheless these  low-glycemic eggplant pizzas are a great choice for any phase of the diet.  

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Recipes by Julia Child by Food Bloggers:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
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
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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  1. What a perfect tribute, especially given the season! It reminds me of eggplant parm...but lighter and healthier!

  2. Joanne, I did love the idea and loved that Julia called them Eggplant Pizzas!

  3. I was just wondering last night what I would do on Wednesday for dinner. I told myself that it was okay to cheat on my diet because Julia Child isn't born every day, but now I don't have to make the choice! :)

  4. Yes, I was excited to find a Julia recipe that was diet friendly!

  5. Love this idea for Meatless Monday! And I love that you were able to find a Julia Child recipe that fit you!!

  6. Deb, I was so happy when I saw it in my one and only Julia Child book!

  7. Thanks so much for this recipe, Kalyn! It looks wonderful and I can't wait to try it.

  8. Thanks Kath and Marla. I think you could make this on the grill too, although I have to say that roasting the eggplant gave it just the right degree of firmness.

  9. This looks and sounds fantastic Kalyn - I would never have guessed this was a Julia Child dish given how light it is compared to her normal fare. I remember watching her TV episodes with much fondness.

  10. I think one of the best things about Julia, was that she valued good ingredients above all - I'm not at all surprised that she created such a lovely, fresh vegetable pizza.

  11. I could definitely eat Eggplant Pizzas like this. I'm a huge lover of eggplant, I wish the rest of my family was. More for me ;)

    Looks great Kalyn!

  12. Jeanette, that's just what I thought.

    TW, her cookbooks are so fun to read because she's so precise about the ingredients!

    Thanks Aggie. I know a few eggplant-haters too, but can't understand it.

  13. I love eggplant (aubergine) and am always after a new way to use it. This looks so easy but so delicious, definitely going into the bookmarks.

  14. I think Julia's great gift was her generosity of spirit, and that she encouraged all of us to get in the kitchen and cook. I can hear the phrase "proportions aren't terribly important" in her voice in my head as I modify recipes (even her recipes, as you've done here), and I know she would approve. Love this recipe and your take on it, and thanks to linking to mine (also adapted from Julia's original!).

  15. Congratulations! That is an honor. We don't often use eggplant in our kitchen. I guess I often thought of it as being hard to work with, but this recipe looks totally doable and calorie friendly.

  16. Scott, glad you like it! Cute profile photo!

    Lydia, she was a great role model for all of us.

    Mother Rimmy, this had a few steps, but none were hard!

  17. I've been eggplant crazy this summer and although I've done a similar recipe, I will enjoy making Julia's recipe! Thanks so much for a perfect SB Friendly tribute!

    As a newlywed just making her way ito cooking, I had the opportunity to go to a Julia Child and Jaques Pepin book signing event. They were so delightful together ~ What a thrill it was for me! Teresa in Texas

  18. Teresa, that does sound like a thrill!

  19. Writing up my post of our Julia inspired meal last night :) I have to say you make eggplant look quite appetizing -- and that's coming from someone who is still trying to develop a "like" for the vegetable. I'm not surprised Julia was ahead of her time with this. What a great idea!

  20. Kelly I think roasted or grilled eggplant is easier to look than other types. This was delish!

  21. I just saw your beautiful photo on Taste Spotting. This recipe sounds as delicious as it looks! I can't wait to try!

  22. Kalyn, in the sauce instructions you say to add dried eggplant...I'm pretty sure you mean dried oregano but am checking to be certain. I can't wait to make this as eggplant is a favorite at our house! I look forward to checking my inbox every day and I am never disappointed - what a great service you provide! Thank You!

  23. Thanks Tracy! Glad you like it!

    Lyn and Don, I hate it when I make mistakes like that. Fixed though, and thanks for telling me! And glad you are enjoying the recipes!

  24. Absolutely gorgeous. I am sure JC would more than approve of these delightful pizzas! I love them. What a great tribute to the wonderful Julia Child.

  25. If Julia were alive today, I'm sure she would be a KK fan! What a beautiful recipe ~ another Kalyn recipe to add to my Must Try list ...

  26. Thanks Deeba!

    Donna, you are too sweet. They were really good.

  27. I am so pleased that I found your blog, Kalyn--SBD-friendly recipes and this tribute to Julia...I'm making these tonight for myself and my grandkids.

  28. these look amazing! i absolutely adore eggplant.

  29. Hi Kalyn,
    i have several large zucchini's and was wondering what you think about using zucchini circles instead of eggplant?? any advice?


  30. I think zucchini would work, but I'm not sure how the cooking time would compare with eggplant or whether I would salt them. There is a recipe on the blog for Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices that might give you some ideas.

  31. I have just discovered your blog which I like very much. I am always looking for gluten free reccipes and I really miss pizza! I can't wait to try this. I think I might throw some of the red pepper flakes in with the garlic to spice up the sauce. Thanks for a great recipe.

  32. Mary so glad you like the blog. A lot of my recipes are naturally gluten-free foods, and there is a gluten-free category (which is for recipes I've adapted that would normally have gluten.)

  33. Is this a recipe that I can prep ahead of time??

  34. Courtney, not really. You could make the sauce ahead but I don't think the eggplant would be good if they were roasted and then stored.

  35. I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it for dinner was delicious! As an eggplant addict, I'm always excited to find new ways to use one of my favourite veggies.

  36. Such a great idea! Healthy and hearty. Definitely keeping the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Hi Kalyn, this is my FIRST comment on your blog. =) I have referred to your site many times for recipes and always find great ideas. Tonight I made these scruptious eggplant pizzas with a twist and I thought I would share. Instead of cutting in rounds, I cut the eggplant long ways; I seasoned the eggplant with dried oregano, basil, pepper and garlic powder. After cooking the eggplant, I topped with your basil pesto sauce instead of tomato sauce, added sliced mushrooms and diced tomatoes, then topped with a combo of low fat mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Broiled for 5 minutes and they turned out delicious! My husband, an eggplant hater actually liked it...wonderfully shocking. Thank you.

  38. That sounds so good, especially the idea of using pesto for the sauce!

  39. I tried this last night! It was delicious but I think I over salted them!! Lol. So I ruined it. Gonna try them again today with less salt. What happens if you don't salt the eggplant? Just curious.

  40. If you don't salt the eggplant, the finished dish would be much soggier because of the extra moisture, but it might still taste good. I'd just make sure you wipe off the salt more carefully.

  41. Tried these today and it was DELICIOUS! Thank you!

  42. I came across these on Pinterest, and I HAD to try them!! They are so good and I love the added basil. (There's a little Julia Child in all of us isn't there?) I loved them so much I featured them on my blog, and linked it to yours! Let me know if you have any issues with that. Thanks so much, my bf has been requesting this weekly!

  43. Amanda, so glad you liked them, and thanks for the feature!

  44. Hi Kalyn! I'm always on the hunt for eggplant recipes because it makes my husband a happier husband. :o) He told me this was my best eggplant find EVER. So thank you so much for your recipe. I write for an educational blog and was able to write about your cooking prowess and osmosis at the same time! The way salt encourages moisture out of the eggplant is an ideal way to show kids the process of osmosis! Thank you so much! Jen Wieber

  45. Jen, as a former teacher I love hearing about that. And glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  46. In one section of your recipe, it says to substitute 3 cups of fresh tomatoes for the canned. In another section, the instruction reads 2 cups. I suspect that 2 cups is the proper measure -- right?

  47. Yes, it should be 2 cups, thanks for catching that!

  48. My pizzas were soggy. What did I do wrong?

  49. I don't think eggplant is ever crisp in the way a flour crust might be, so maybe you were just expecting it to be different than it is. That said, if you don't salt and wait for the water to come out, it will definitely be soggier.

  50. Hi!
    Sounds delish! I've been trying to lose weight - any idea how many these calories are?


  51. Look directly under the recipe for information about why I don't count calories and how you can calculate it if you want to.

  52. Thank you! My book club is reading Julia Child's "My Life in France". This will be perfect to bring!

  53. This was delish! I added ground beef into the sauce to make it more entree like - it wass great! hearty, filling and still summery.

  54. I made these and loved them - they're delicious, easy, quick, and make great leftovers. Plus, they taste so hearty and are so filling in spite of being (relatively) healthy.

  55. Jamie, so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  56. Yummmy! Very like eggplant parmagiana (sp?). I'm not big on eggplant, but I just ate half an eggplant this way for dinner. Thank you (and Julia) for the great idea!

  57. These are awesome! I took them to my book club and everyone wanted the recipe!

  58. What do you do about the bitter taste of the skin?

    1. I didn't find it bitter, but you could peel the eggplant if that bothers you.

  59. I really enjoyed making and eating this pizza. I like it better with out the skin but it is just as good with it. Thanks for coming up with an alternative since I have been trying to cut the carbs.

  60. WOW! This was so tasty!! Totally making it again and absolutely "guest worthy" :) I thought it was a tad salty but I could have over-done it with the salt in the beginning step. Thanks for a good meal recipe!!!

  61. These eggplant pizzas look delicious! Another idea for meatless dinners. Thank you!


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