Aubergine Parmigiana – Low-Carb Sides

Purple foods are good for us. According to the US Department of Agriculture, purple foods have nutrients called anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that protect against cell damage from free radicals.

I’m a big fan of the mighty aubergine. Curry it, roast it, grill it or turn it into ratatouille, this is a vegetable with a lot of uses.

I make my own version of Aubergine Parmigiana, that famous Italian dish. Buy the best quality mozzarella you can find, and top the dish lavishly with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve this as a side dish with roasted chicken. Or just cut yourself a ginormous portion and eat with salad.

Aubergine Parmigiana

  • Servings: 4 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 large aubergine, sliced
  • 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 50g grated Parmesan*
  • Salt and pepper

Turn your oven to 175 degrees C. Slice the aubergine into half-centimetre thick slices. Drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and cook in the oven for about twenty minutes. You want the slices softened and lightly browned. Leave the oven on once the slices have cooked as you will be using it again.

While the aubergine is cooking, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and cook the sliced onion for five minutes until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes, garlic and dried oregano. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for fifteen minutes. You want a thick, concentrated sauce.

When the sauce and the aubergine are cooked, rip the mozzarella ball into pieces. Layer up slices of aubergine, tomato sauce and mozzarella in a casserole dish. Grind on some salt and top with the grated Parmesan and a generous helping of pepper. Cook in the oven to heat through and brown the top – about ten to fifteen minutes.

Top with the chopped basil.

6g net carbs per serving.

*The cheese so good, Pepys buried a round of it in his garden during the Great Fire of London.



Seasonal Low-Carb Dishes

diabetes diet
Mediterranean trout with kale.

February is almost at an end – as it the season for many fruit and vegetables we associated with this time of year.

Nevertheless, we’ve done a round-up of what’s in season at the moment. If you eat seasonally, you get food at its best. It also means less food miles, as the food can be produced in the UK and has therefore not had to travel as far to get to your plate.


  • Lemons
  • Clementines (coming to the end of their season)
  • Pears (coming to the end of their season)
  • Kiwis


  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Purple sprouting broccoli

Meat and fish

  • Turkey
  • Salmon

If you want some recipe ideas for what to do with what’s in season, you could try:



Low Carb Side Dishes

diabetes dietHave you been caught out by the vegetable shortage in the shops? British supermarkets have run short of courgettes, spinach and other salad items thanks to bad weather in Spain and Italy.

If you follow a low-carb diet, you probably rely more on such vegetables than the average person. I decided to see what I could do with Scottish ingredients. The Diet Doctor website features a lot of cabbage, including main course and side dishes that use this vegetable. Most supermarkets stock Scottish or British-grown cabbage so there are no issues there with availability.

The Diet Doctor’s Cabbage Casserole can be made exclusively with Scottish ingredients, supporting our farmers and growers. I adapted the recipe slightly and here it is. Allow about 10g net carbs per serving and serve with pork chops, roast chicken legs or steak.

Please note – you’ll need a large saucepan because 450g cabbage is bulky. It reduces in size as it cooks.

Cabbage Casserole

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 450g green or white cabbage, shredded
  • ½ medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 150ml sour cream
  • 50g butter
  • 75g grated cheese
  • 75g soft cheese, such as Philadelphia
  • Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the cabbage and onion and mix well to coat in the butter.

Cook gently for about seven minutes. You want the vegetables to be softened but not browned. Add salt and pepper and the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Mix the sour cream and soft cheese. Stir into the cabbage. Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish, top with the grated cheese, a good helping of black pepper and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.

PS – I thought I’d try this on my green vegetable hating husband, convinced that the cream and cheese would convert him. It didn’t work…

Super Sides for Low-Carb Diets

Steak, chicken and fish – all nice ingredients by themselves, but all the more nicer when accompanied by a delicious side dish!

Side dishes are what will keep you on the straight and narrow on a low-carb diet as they prevent boredom. Sure, a lovely piece of steak accompanied by salad can be nice, but second time round it’s even better with home-made coleslaw. Strips of lamb fried with cumin and served with spiced onions are fantastic and roast chicken paired with cheesy leeks is unbelievably delicious.

Here are three super sides to be going on with.

Home-Made Coleslaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Leeks, cream and cheese pre-cooking.

  • 200g white cabbage
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled
  • Two spring onions
  • 1 tbsp garlic chives
  • 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise

Finely slice the cabbage, and grate the carrots. Chop the spring onion and mix all the vegetables with the garlic chives. Add in the mayonnaise and allow to sit for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mix.

Carbs: total about 32g, with about 8g fibre

Spiced Onions with Sumac

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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spiced onions
1 large white onion

  • 1tbsp sumac
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1tsp sea salt

Peel the onion and cut it in half. Finely slice into half-moons. Mix with the salt, sumac, vinegar and parsley with the onions and leave to sit for 20 minutes. (This softens the onions and takes away that strong, bitter taste you get from raw onions.)

Carbs total: about 18g, with about 3g fibre

Cheesy Leeks

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Leeks, cream and cheese pre-cooking.
Leeks, cream and cheese pre-cooking.

  • 800g leeks
  • 2 slices garlic
  • 25g butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1tbsp fresh thyme
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 200ml double cream
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • Grated nutmeg

Take off the leeks’ outer leaves, split down the middle without cutting all the way through and wash. Dry well and slice into rings.

Melt the butter in a saucepan with the oil. Fry the leeks with the garlic and thyme for five minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper.


Add three-quarters of the cheese to the double cream and mix well. Add the grated nutmeg.

Place the leeks in a shallow, oven-proof dish and pour over the cream and cheese mix. Top with the rest of the grated cheese and add some more black pepper.

Cook for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Carbs per serving: 18g, with 2.5g fibre

For more delicious low-carb recipes and menu plans, see The Diabetes Diet by Dr Katharine Morrison and Emma Baird