Wyatt’s Cafeterias were a fixture in many Texas towns when I was growing up and one of the most popular dishes on the menu was their Wyatt’s Eggplant Casserole recipe. My version is very low in carbs but retains the texture and flavor of the original. It works as a side dish or a meatless main course. If you’ve been to Wyatt’s this will bring back memories. If you’ve never been there… well this will make some new memories for you!
For this recipe you’ll need: eggplant, hemp hearts, heavy cream, butter, onions, green peppers, celery, pimento, salt, pepper, sage, mild cheddar cheese
If you are in a hurry click here to go straight to the Wyatt’s Eggplant Casserole recipe.
I love eggplant in pretty much any dish, my low carb eggplant rollatini for example, but I have to say that this version of a childhood favorite is currently kind of an obsession.
If you lived in the Dallas area back in the day you’d eventually find yourself at a Wyatt’s Cafeteria on a Sunday after church. The building was always crowded. It was a terribly harrowing experience because you had to carry your tray filled with plates and an overflowing plastic glass of tea. Not only that but you were weaving in and out of the crowd trying to keep up with the rest of your party while carrying it. They could have made a reality game show out of it.
There were two things I got every single time we went to Wyatt’s. The coconut cream pie stood tall and proud behind the glass case just asking to be put on your tray. I never even tried to resist. However the one thing that I was totally addicted to was the eggplant casserole.
It. Was. Amazing.
You pushed your fork through melted cheese that had a crispy brown crust around the edges. Once the fork broke through the surface a fragrant plume of steam would woosh up from the center. It was kind of like stuffing, kind of not. I haven’t had it in years and my mouth still waters thinking about it.
Wyatt’s (in Texas pretty much any business name is changed to the possessive… for example I’m going to Tom Thumb becomes I’m going to Tom Thumb’s…I called Kroger becomes I called Kroger’s.) closed down or moved out of Texas decades ago. It was the end of an era. On kind of an ironic note – at least one church moved in to an old Wyatt’s building. Ironic because Wyatt’s was the place to go after church.
So this dish is my version of Wyatt’s Eggplant Casserole. The original was basically all carbs but my version has just 3.7 net carbs per serving. I know I usually do individually sized meals but this is so good the whole family will like it should you choose to share. It also keeps well in the fridge or freezer so you can chop it up into individual sized portions, too.
The main thing to remember is that you HAVE to soak the diced eggplant in salt water overnight. Do not skip this step because it makes a difference in the flavor and texture. Wyatt’s Eggplant Casserole tastes like high carb comfort food but it fits perfectly in your low carb eating plan.
Trust me. SO good. And you don’t have to carry a tray through a crowd, either.
Pretty Little Things
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Hemp Hearts basically have 0 net carbs because of the amount of fiber. They also have a bread-like texture which works perfectly to replace the bread crumbs originally in this recipe! Also, if you need a casserole dish I am in love with these new covered casseroles by Kitchen Aid.
Low Carb Wyatt’s Eggplant Casserole Recipe
Wyatt’s Eggplant Casserole: The Low Carb Version
- 1 lb eggplant peeled and cubed
- 1 1/2 cups hemp hearts divided use
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green peppers
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped pimiento
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
- 2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese divided
- Soak the eggplant in salted water in the refrigerator for several hours.
- Put 1 cup of hemp hearts in a bowl.
- Stir in the cream and water.
- Set aside.
- Drain and rinse the eggplant.
- Add the eggplant to a pan of boiling water.
- Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer until the eggplant is very tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain well, and press with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a saute pan and add the onions, green peppers, and celery.
- Saute until nearly tender.
- Add the eggplant into the pan and saute along with the vegetables about 3 more minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add the eggplant mixture to the hemp hearts mixture.
- Add in the pimento.
- Stir gently to blend.
- Whisk the salt, pepper, and sage into the egg.
- Pour over the eggplant -hemp heart mixture.
- Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and blend all of the ingredients together gently.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Grease an 9-inch x 9-inch casserole dish.
- Spoon the eggplant mixture into the dish.
- Top with the remaining hemp hearts and the remaining cheese.
- Cook for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is firm.
If you liked this eggplant casserole you may also like…
Aubergine Tart (eggplant) a copy of one I had in France this past spring.
Low Carb Cheese Enchiladas (have nothing to do with eggplant but they are a favorite of mine!)