Eggplant Benedict – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Using fried eggplant instead of english muffins makes for a delicious low carb Eggs Benedict recipe. And learn some tricks to perfectly poached eggs! This post is sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs.

Low Carb Eggs Benedict with Eggplant

Poaching eggs is a true culinary skill and it’s one I have yet to fully master.  In truth, I was afraid to try for a long time because it seemed to fiddly, so delicate, and I can be rather heavy-handed when it comes to eggs. Done right, poached eggs are lovely but left to my own devices, I would rather plop an egg in a hot pan with butter and fry it. It’s just easier and I am less likely to mess it up. Not much to mess up with a fried egg. But I love Eggs Benedict and I’ve been thinking of making it with eggplant in place of the english muffins for a while now. Eggplant is the perfect low carb muffin replacement because it has a mild flavor and it soaks up sauces and oils just like bread. The joy of Eggs Benedict is sopping up the runny yolk and the rich Hollandaise with the bread. Or in this case, with the eggplant. And as I have recently become one of The Darling Dozen, a group of brand ambassadors for Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs, I really wanted to bring my idea to fruition. These pasteurized shell eggs are ideal for undercooked egg recipes like Eggs Benny.

Low Carb  Gluten-Free Eggs Benedict

My brother in law was here a few weeks ago and I picked his brain on poaching eggs as he eats them almost every morning these days. So we had a little egg-poaching tutorial where he showed me how to swirl the water and create a vortex to hold the white together when it hits the water. And although it seemed simple enough, I still didn’t feel very confident in my abilities. Then a few days later I fortuitously came across something about using a fine-mesh sieve to poach the eggs. Of course, I couldn’t find the reference again when I tried to hunt it up, but Google is ever so useful in that regard and I found this video about draining some of the more watery whites off through a sieve before rolling it gently into the simmering water. The video gave several other great tips so I decided to get crackin’ (pun intended) and practice poaching eggs. My first few tries were not great, and I ended up with multi-tentacled whites that resembled jellyfish, but I got my water temperature a little higher and the next few came out round and pretty. Having done this a few times now, I seem to have trouble with the first egg every time, but the subsequent eggs always come out a little better.

If ever you wanted to learn to poach an egg properly, I highly suggest watching this LifeHacker video. And no worries about wasting eggs…the crazy jellyfish eggs might not look pretty but they still taste great.

Healthy Low Carb Eggs Benedict with Eggplant

Now to put my Eggplant Benedict idea to the test. I used Safest Choice for both the eggs and the Hollandaise sauce, so I wouldn’t have to worry about accidentally poisoning anyone. Safest Choice certainly makes it a lot easier to be carefree about ingesting undercooked or raw eggs, and as an inveterate batter-taster, that’s pretty important to me. And I find them slightly easier to poach than conventional eggs, I think perhaps because the pasteurization process firms up the white a little while it’s still in the shell. Benedict is a complicated dish only in that everything needs to be cooking and come together just at the right time. You want your Hollandaise to still be warm and your eggplant to be just off the pan when those eggs get poached. To make things easier on myself, I made the Hollandaise first, before I fried the eggplant and poached the eggs. And the eggplant rounds made the perfect base for my poached eggs, and soaked up the runny yolks and creamy Hollandaise just as I thought they would. I now feel a lot more confident about making a decent Eggs Benedict!

Low Carb Eggs Benedict Recipe

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs. All opinions, thoughts, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.

Eggplant Benedict – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Ingredients

    Hollandaise Sauce:
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Eggplant Benedict:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 slices eggplant, about 1/2 inch thick each
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon (or ham or regular bacon, cooked crisp)
  • Paprika for sprinkling.

Instructions

  1. For the hollandaise, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water).
  2. Slowly drizzle in melted butter and keep whisking until mixture thickens. Do not overcook.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and cayenne pepper. Cover and set aside while preparing eggplant and eggs.
  4. For the eggplant, heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add eggplant slices.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until tender and mostly translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  6. To poach the eggs, fill a large pot about half full with water. Bring to just a boil, then reduce heat so it is just simmering (I found that about 180F to 185F on an instant-read thermometer was perfect).
  7. Break each egg individually into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and let the watery part of the white drain out. Add egg to water and repeat with remaining eggs, cooking each about 3 minutes and gently turning over each egg once during cooking. Cook until white is set but the yolk remains soft.
  8. Remove with a slotted spoon to let water drain off.
  9. To assemble, top each eggplant slice with ham or bacon.
  10. Top this with a poached egg, then drizzle with hollandaise (if the sauce has thickened while cooking everything else, simply add a tsp or so warm water and whisk briskly).
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with paprika.

Notes

Serves 2. Each serving has 7 g of carbs and 2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 5 g.

624 Calories; 54g Fat (77.2% calories from fat); 28g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 758mg Cholesterol; 1335mg Sodium.

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Comments

  1. The poaching instructions sound a bit complicated. When I need a fast breakfast, I just break an egg into a half cup of water and microwave it for 70 seconds..a perfect poached egg every time! I like your eggplant idea though and I have one sitting here so I might try it out.

  2. You may want to check out Kenji’s “2-minute” Hollandaise as well: http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/04/video-foolproof-hollandaise-in-2-minutes.html
    I haven’t tried this yet but it looks pretty simple.

  3. Gretchen RS says:

    I was caretaker to an ex-boyfriend’s mother for a week and she liked poached eggs every morning, so she taught me how to poach eggs. I use the wide deep pan that I use for making curries and spaghetti sauce etc. Fill it half full with filtered water. Add a Tbsp of cider vinegar and about 1 tsp of kosher salt to the water and bring it to a soft boil. The drop the heat to medium to keep it at a simmer. I break each egg into a small bowl and then slip it into the water. Yes there is some extra egg white that ends up floating around in the water, but I don’t let that bother me and the eggs come out perfectly. We cook for 4 minutes for runny yolk and 7-8 minutes for hard cooked yolk. I love the subtle flavor that the vinegar and kosher salt add to the eggs.

    Thank you for this recipe. I have been needing a gluten free alternative for eggs benedict. For a special treat, try putting a few spears of asparagus on top!!

  4. OMG jellyfish eggs. That is soooo what they look like. I finally got the hang of poaching eggs. I learned a trick from Bon Appetit Magazine. Now I make them all the time. The crazy thing is my husband, who sucks at cooking, is somehow better at poaching than me. Weird. Great low carb idea!

  5. Love the idea of using eggplant as the base. So inventive Carolyn!

  6. What a fun idea Carolyn – I was just thinking about how to make eggs benedict with a lighter sauce. Love the idea of eggplant as the base.

  7. This is a great idea. I can’t wait to try this.

  8. We have a fav restaurant here that makes eggs benedict. I thought I might try to order without the english muffin for a no carb breakfast. I love the idea of using the eggplant instead and decided to just make it at home. Also, thanks for the suggestions on poaching eggs. Very helpful.

  9. Looks delicious! I’m still perfecting my poached egg skills! When do you add the vinegar? Before the water boils or after?

  10. Great healthy alternative to the English muffins.

  11. What a great idea to use eggplant as the base. Maybe try a giant mushroom also? I have a microwave poacher. It is the easiest thing in the world and takes 1.5 minutes to poach an egg perfectly round.

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