This is one of those dishes I just threw together. I had family visiting. I needed easy. I needed fast. As with many “toss-in-the-skillet-as-you-go” recipes, they often turn out better than those sophisticated 20-ingredient, multi-phase culinary works of art. But you guys know by now I’m all about EASY in the kitchen. All I can say is this dish didn’t let me down. My brother, one-time executive chef, visiting this week really liked this dish. Hubby liked it, too! I call it Mediterranean, but with the seasoning ingredients, it could just as easily have been called Spanish or Puerto Rican. But regardless of what I named it, this one’s definitely a keeper and I’m sure I’ll be making it again! This dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins or similar ketogenic diets, Paleo, or Primal followers. If serving to non-low-carbing dinner guests, you can offer rice to serve this on rather than the zucchini noodles pictured.
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12 oz. zucchini (I used Mexican zucchini, called Calaba)
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef (I used grass-fed)
10 oz. eggplant, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 oz. onion, sliced or chopped
2 oz. red bell pepper, chopped
3 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped coarsely
8 black olives, pitted and chopped
3 T. my sofrito sauce: https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/sofrito/
Dash each salt and black pepper
OPTIONAL: Dash of cinnamon
DIRECTIONS: I’m totally addicted to my new sofrito sauce. :) But if you’re not familiar with it and don’t happen to have that made up, make up a recipe of the sofrito sauce as instructed in that recipe at the link above and set aside for now. Using a julienne peeler or spiral noodle maker, cut the zucchini into “zoodles”, as I like to call them. Set the “zoodles” aside for now as well.
In a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat, brown the ground beef and onion until no longer pink and onion is about tender. Add the eggplant cubes and saute on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Add the red bell pepper and tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring as needed, until they just begin to soften. Stir in the 3 T. sofrito sauce, salt and black pepper. Simmer on low heat just until the vegetables are fully cooked but the eggplant is not reduced to mush. Stir in the chopped olives last, as they really need no cooking.
While the meat mixture is simmering, saute the “zoodles in the 2 T. olive oil in another non-stick pan on low heat, gently lifting and stirring them with a kitchen fork, just until they are wilted and no longer taste raw (about 2-3 minutes max). Again, you don’t want to overcook them for best visual appeal. When all appears ready, plate ¼ of the “zoodles” on each plate and top with 1/4 of the meat mixture. Serve at once with your favorite hot low-carb bread and butter and ENJOY!
NOTE: This would also be good made with ground lamb.
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 4 servings, each contains:
26 g fat
12.3 g carbs, 4.0 g fiber, 8.3 g NET CARBS
22 g protein
201 mg sodium