Eggplant Rollatini, Vegan-Style

That fact that I got back from Italy 2 weeks ago and still I cannot get enough Italian food is further proof that I was meant to be Italian.

 And that I should move there immediately.  Does anyone want to sponsor me?!

I’m not kidding.

 

Italians love eggplant, or melanzana.  It was one of the few readily available veggies on restaurant menus.  We learned the word melanzana quickly!

Source: agricultureguide.org

 

Remembering the delicious eggplant meal I had in Friuli, I decided to make a vegan Eggplant Rollatini this week.

 

Eggplant is at its prime in September/October, so get yours in ASAP!  To choose a good one, look for the following:

  • Firm and heavy
  • Smooth and glossy, free of blemishes
  • Stem and cap should be bright green
  • Press the skin – if it springs back quickly, it’s ripe

 

It’s an under-appreciated vegetable nutritionally speaking.  These pear-shaped, purple pieces of perfection are good sources of:

  • Fiber (you know you need it!)
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Thiamin (B-1)
  • Nasunin (antioxidant)

 

For this recipe I used this Tofu Ricotta from my Vegan Ricotta Pasta Bake in place of dairy ricotta.  My only modifications were to add an extra garlic clove, a tsp of red pepper flakes, and I used fresh parsley instead of thyme.

I swear to you Vegan Ricotta is good.  Try it – I dare you.

 

As easy as it is to make your own tomato sauce… I have to admit I started with a jarred base.  When I’m feeling especially lazy I add a jar to a warm pot as “doctor” it.  This usually means the additions of herbs (oregano and basil), red pepper flakes (never enough heat!), freshly ground pepper, garlic, and onions.  This time I also added capers for a little salty tang.

 

I was thrilled with how this riff on my Friulian meal came out.  The creamy “ricotta” was the perfect texture.  I loved how the lemon flavors from the ricotta came through and complimented the capers in my sauce.  Don’t skip the grilled eggplant.  It’s just as easy as baking and it helps prevent sogginess.

As with many saucy Italian dishes, it was even better the second day as leftovers.  Nom.

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Eggplant Rollatini (Vegan)

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into ~1/3 in slices
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4-5 large kale leaves, lightly sautéed
  • Tofu ricotta
  • Your favorite tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 375. 

Arrange eggplant slices onto wax paper.  Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to sit for ~15 mis to help remove excess moisture and bitterness.  Wipe salt off eggplant and pat dry with a towel.

Spray grill pan with vegetable spray and place eggplant slices in pan over medium-high.  Cook ~3 mins per side, until slightly softened and browned.  Remove slices from the grill pan and allow to cool.

Once cooled, line the eggplant slices with the kale and place 2-3T of ricotta on 1 end of each eggplant slice.  Roll up tightly.  Place the roll seam side down into a 8 by 8-inch pyrex dish.  Cover the rollatini with your favorite tomato sauce.  

Bake uncovered 15-20 mins, or until bubbling hot. Drizzle with good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and serve!

***

It’s 40 degrees this morning!  How did I go from getting sunburned Sunday to getting seeing frost today?!

What is your favorite veggie-tized comfort food?

Did the temps drop in your town… and are you ready for it?  I’m not!

Comments

  1. says

    This looks great. You know.. I think i should give eggplant another shot. I claim I don’t like it.. but that is a claim I’ve been making since I was a child.. and I haven’t had it since. Tastes always change!

  2. says

    Wow, this looks amazing! I’ve been loving the eggplant season, but see that it’s coming to an end. I’ve been thinking of doing a manicotti style dish using eggplant instead of noodles. Looks a lot like when you did! Gosh, Italian food IS good, isn’t it? I say get that sponsor and get yourself down there immediately!

    • Laura says

      You should try it! You can change the flavors so easily to make it not quite as salty as a ricotta, and I really like the addition of lemon. I bet cottage cheese would be great too.

  3. says

    Loving the tofu ricotta – looks fulsome and satisfying. Warm tomato sauce is heavily agreeing with me in this rainy weather we are having… lovely Rollatini recipe.

    • Laura says

      It is definitely one of those food items that must be done “right.” When you get a good eggplant dish it’s really awesome though! :)

  4. Melanie Furlong says

    Hi Laura,
    I tried this tonight and the kids, 12 and 9, loved it! I didn’t tell them what it was until they were 3/4s done. They were shocked! My son even had seconds. I will definitely be making this again:)

    • Laura says

      I was so excited when I saw this comment. And your son went back for seconds after knowing what it was?! Love it. Thank you for sharing. :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] took a little recap break to post some of the dishes I’ve made.  Some – like this and this – were inspired by my travels… only I made them like your vegan-ish Italian grandmother […]

  2. […] With the exception of this tofu-based cheese.  Tofu makes a GREAT sub for creamy cheeses like ricotta and goat cheese.  (It made a helluva ricotta in this Eggplant Rollitini.) […]

  3. […] having my version of Laura’s sweet potato lentil loaf for lunch, I though I’d attempt her eggplant rollatini for dinner.  Yeah, I sound like a total stalker – but she makes some incredible healthy […]

  4. […] You’ll see a lot of Italian-inspired foods like this vegan Eggplant Rollatini. […]

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