Paleo/Primal Chicken Eggplant Parm

I had a glut of eggplants in the fridge, and I really needed to use them up seeing that grocery shopping day was approaching.

So I made eggplant parm.

Normally, this dish is not at all paleo or even particually healthy for that matter.  The eggplant slices are breaded and fried, it contains cheese in large quantities…

But it can easily be made paleo.

I baked the eggplant in the oven to remove the need to bread and fry them.  I layered them with a home-made marinara sauce that I added some leftover chopped cooked chicken (to provide protein).  And I didn’t add cheese.  I simply put a block of parmesan on the table so that anyone who wanted it could grate it over their food.

Because this recipe contains eggplants, which are a nightshade, it is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Paleo Chicken Eggplant Parm

serves 6

eggplantparm6

For the Marinara Sauce

1 tbsp fat of your choice (I used bacon fat)

1 onion – very finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic – crushed

1 carrot – chopped

1 stick of celery – chopped

1 796ml/28oz can of crushed tomatoes

4 slices of bacon

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few fresh sage leaves – chopped

1 small handful of parsley – chopped

For the Parm

2 cups cooked chicken – chopped finely

4 small eggplants

olive oil

dried mixed herbs (I used basil, thyme and oregano)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Make the marinara sauce – melt the fat in a heavy bottomed pan and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook slowly over a medium heat until the vegetables are tender.

marinara-sauce2

Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes.

Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the sage.

Simmer until thick and delicious while you prepare the eggplants.

marinara-sauce1W

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the eggplant.

eggplantparm2

Cut the eggplant into 1/4″ thick slices – I find this easiest to do using a serrated knife – and as I don’t use it for anything else now, this is what I use my bread knife for…

eggplantparm3

Lay the slices out on a couple of baking sheets and sprinkle them with salt, pepper and some dried mixed herbs (I used a mixture of basil, thyme and oregano).  Drizzle over a little olive oil then pop them in a preheated oven (200C/400F) and cook until tender.

By this time, your marinara sauce will be cooked, so get your leftover chicken (other meat could be substituted or you could leave it out entirely if you wanted) and chop it finely.

eggplantparm5

Stir the chicken into your marinara sauce.

Now we are ready to assemble the bake.

Take the biggest shallow dish you have (mine measures 9″x13″).   Place an overlapping layer of eggplant in the base of the dish, trying not to use more than half.  Pour over half the marinara sauce.  Then repeat with the remaining eggplant and sauce.

eggplantparm4

Pop the bake in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and delicious.

eggplantparm8

I served this over spaghetti squash with parmesan on the side for those who wanted it.

eggplantparm7

This is the brand of parmesan I buy from Costco:

parm1

It is a little pricey because it is such a huge wedge, but it is well worth it.

parm2

Because the wedge is so huge, this is usually how I serve it – a wedge of parmesan on a plate with the grater so that those who want it can serve themselves easily:

parm3

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