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Oct 20

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.

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

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!

 

31 comments

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  1. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate

    This would be good with REAL ricotta ;)

  2. Corey @ Learning Patience

    I’m not a HUGE eggplant lover, but this looks really tasty!
    xoxo from Trinidad

  3. Jay

    wow..sounds scrumptiously tasty..
    first time here..love your space..
    very interesting posts with gorgeous cliks..
    Am your happy follower now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  4. Cait @ Beyond Bananas

    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!

    1. Laura

      I read once that your taste buds change every 7 years and I believe it!

  5. Lee

    As much as I try, eggplant is just one of those foods that I don’t really like.

  6. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

    Beautiful recipe! Love that you vegan-ized it.

    After swearing off pasta for at least a month I ended up making homemade ravioli last night. Clearly we’re meant to be Italian.

  7. Elana @ The Inventive Vegetarian

    This looks incredible! I’ve never met an eggplant I didn’t like, and I love the addition of kale. I’ll definitely be trying this one out soon.

  8. RavieNomNoms

    That looks amazing!! I love eggplant, I actually like to put it on my pizza…so delicious!

    1. Laura

      Eggplant is awesome on pizza with some butternut squash and red pepper flakes. Mmmm…

  9. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit

    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!

  10. Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

    oh you fancy, huh? =) haha this looks delish!!!! I LOVE eggplant and tofu soo… no brainer – this rocks!

  11. Parita @ myinnershakti

    I made tofu ricotta for some stuffed shells a couple of weeks ago. I was shocked by how tasty it was! This dish looks soo good!

  12. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe

    That looks excellent! In any other scenario, I’m not a huge fan of eggplant. But for some reason when it’s prepared in an Italian fashion I love it.

  13. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    I a big eggplant fan. I’m not a huge ricotta fan so I’m not sure if I’d like tofu ricotta. However, I bet I’d really enjoy this with cottage cheese filling.

    1. Laura

      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.

  14. Kelly

    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.

  15. sportsglutton

    Brilliantly delicious meal, even for a non-eggplant lover like me. ;-)

  16. Allie

    You were totally meant to be Italian ;) this recipe sounds so great!

  17. sarah@spinach and spice

    Honestly, this looks incredible!
    I love veggie fied soups,stews, and especially chili’s.
    Thick hearty bean chilis :)

  18. Stacy @ Stacy Eats

    Yum that sounds good!

  19. Lindsay @ Delighted Momma

    Oh my gosh I cant wait to try your recipe out! Every time I attempt eggplant it is chewy and gross ha!

    1. Laura

      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! :)

  20. Martyna@WholesomeCook

    Goodness me! Eggplant is one of my favourites too and your pasta looks and sounds amazingly good!!! Mmmmmm…. yum!

  21. STUFT Mama

    I’ve never tried egglpant like that. Hmm…. looks devine.
    let me know if you get a sponsor to move. I want their contact info. :)

    1. Laura

      Deal! :)

  22. Electra @ Vanilla Bean Lean

    This recipe looks to. die. for. What a fun idea – eggplant + kale. YOU, my friend, rock :) Thanks for sharing!

  23. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance

    I’m over here from Claire’s page, just to let you know that I’m pinning this beauty ;)

    1. Laura

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! Please let me know how you like it if you try it out. :)

  24. Melanie Furlong

    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:)

    1. Laura

      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. :)

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