Just 15 minutes is needed to create one of the yummiest, low-carb eggplant side dishes out there!
In this Asian-inspired eggplant recipe, adapted from chef Jacques Pépin in Quick and Simple, Japanese eggplant (or Chinese eggplant) is broiled until tender and charred, and topped with a delicious spicy soy glaze made from soy sauce, minced garlic, sambal (or other hot/chili sauce) and olive oil.
Broiling is one of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare eggplant. After slicing and lightly coating the eggplant with oil and salt, it goes under the broiler to cook for about 3 to 4 minute per side, until tender and charred. Another benefit to broiling eggplant: you don't have sweat the eggplant with salt to remove excess water beforehand (which can take up to 20 minutes!).
The spicy soy glaze takes just a few minutes to prepare since it's made with only 4 ingredients. It's easy to customize the glaze to you're liking, too. You can make it less spicy, more spicy, or even sweeten it up with sugar-free sweetener. When the glaze is poured over the tender eggplant, the eggplant quickly soaks it up, creating an umami flavor bomb that bursts in your mouth.
If you're like my husband, you'll love this dish even if you're not an eggplant fan.
This spicy soy eggplant is a perfect weeknight side dish since it's healthy, quick and easy to make, and low in carbs. Each serving is 6.2 net carbs.
More About Japanese & Chinese Eggplants
Japanese eggplants are long, slender eggplants with thin, dark purple skin. They're slightly sweeter than other varieties and cook up quickly.
Chinese eggplants are similar to Japanese eggplants since they're also slender with thin skin. However, Chinese eggplants are milder in flavor and lighter in color.
American and Italian eggplants are usually larger and wider than Japanese or Chinese eggplants and have thicker skin.
Eggplants are known for their sponge-like texture, which helps absorbs sauces and flavors.
How To Make
Just a few steps to make this delicious eggplant side dish!
To start, you'll pre-heat the broiler to high and place the top rack 5 to 6 inches under the heat source. Next, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse the eggplant and slice off the ends. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices. Cut each slice in half so it's only several inches long. Then, place the eggplant slices on the rimmed baking sheet and spread avocado oil over the slices. Season with salt.
Then, it's time to broil the eggplant. We broil the slices for about 4 minutes per side. You'll flip slices as soon as they start to blister and char. Be sure to keep an eye on eggplant while broiling as it can burn quickly.
While the eggplant is broiling, you'll make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine garlic, tamari/soy sauce, olive oil and sambal. After the eggplant is done broiling on both sides, place the slices on a serving plate and drizzle with sauce. And that's it, you're done!
Eggplants are relatively low in carbs and high in fiber similar to other low-carb fruits like zucchini (yes they are fruits, not vegetables!). However most of their calories do come from carbohydrates, so if you're diligently counting carbs you should watch how much you eat so don't exceed your carb target and get kicked out of ketosis. A cup of cooked eggplant cubes (99 grams or about 3.5 ounces) has about 6 grams of net carbs.
Sambal is a spicy chili sauce that originates from Indonesia. It's somewhat similar to Sriracha or other Asian chili sauces/pastes, but it has no added sugar. Because of this, we prefer to use this chili sauce in our low-carb and keto recipes.
For a slightly sweetened sauce, you can sweeten the sauce with a teaspoon or less of Swerve Sweetener or another sugar-free sweetener. We don't think the sauce needs to be sweetened, but the original recipe by Jacques Pépin is sweetened with a teaspoon of regular sugar. It just depends what you prefer!
Other Low Carb & Keto Side Dishes
Here are other low-carb and keto side dish recipes you may enjoy:
- The Best Keto Broccoli Salad: This keto broccoli salad is the best! It's made with broccoli, almonds, red onions, cheddar cheese, bacon and a creamy dressing. Yum!
- Thai Cucumber Salad: Thai cucumber salad, known as ajad, is a quick-pickled cucumber relish that is deliciously spicy, tangy, sweet, and refreshingly crunchy. Our low-carb and keto Thai cucumber salad is similar to an authentic ajad — but with a few minor adjustments to make it low in carbs.
- 5-Minute Keto Spicy Bok Choy: This 5-minute keto spicy bok choy packs a ton of flavor and uses the microwave to steam to perfection. The spicy soy dressing is made with soy sauce, sambal, ginger and olive oil. If you haven't had sambal sauce, it's very similar to sriracha but doesn't contain sugar. It's a quick and delicious keto weeknight side dish!
- 1 small Japanese or Chinese eggplant (12 ounces after sliced)
- 1 ½ avocado oil
- salt to season
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons tarmari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sambal oelek (or other type of hot sauce)
- Prepare eggplant: Pre-heat broiler to high and place top rack 5 to 6 inches under the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse eggplant and slice off ends. Cut eggplant lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices. Cut each slice in half so it's only several inches long. Place eggplant slices on rimmed baking sheet and spread avocado oil over slices. Season with salt.
- Broil the eggplant: Broil eggplant slices for about 4 minutes per side, until blistered and charred. Be careful not to burn them.
- Make the sauce: While eggplant is broiling, combine garlic, tamari/soy sauce, olive oil and sambal in a small boil. Stir well. After eggplant is done broiling, place slices on serving plate and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving Calories 114.6Total Fat 8.9gSaturated Fat 1.1gCholesterol 0.0mgSodium 280.1mgCarbohydrates 8.3gNet Carbohydrates 6.2gFiber 2.1gSugar 2.7gProtein 1.5g