Vegan Eggplant Rollatini



Sometimes you need to call in the forces after a long day at work. A complete meal from scratch is like the day when pigs fly. But your torn, you want to fill your family with nutrition. I believe sometimes homemade meals can be made quicker by sneaking in a few secret shortcuts.

My favorite shortcut comes in a jar. It's called modifying jarred pasta sauce. But to be honest, trying to improve bad jarred pasta sauce (i.e. Prego, Ragu, etc.), is not possible — these are just bad to the core. But, my sauce when done...it's bad to the bone. I typically purchase Classico or Trader Joes brands for the base.

Marinara Sauce
1 T evoo
1 jar if your favorite pasta sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 t red pepper flakes, if you like a little heat






Step 1: Heat 1 T of evoo. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté for about 5 minutes.



Step 2: Add the jar of pasta sauce and heat through, bringing to a simmer, melding the flavors.
Step 3: Once heated, the sauce is ready.
Easy, quick and wholesome, right?

Tofu Ricotta
16 oz. firm tofu
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. dried parsley or Italian herbs
1/2 c. chiffonade* basil
1.5 t salt
freshly ground pepper



Step 1: Drain the tofu and press dry with paper towels. Crumble tofu in a bowl, using the back of a fork.





Step 2: Incorporate the dried Italian herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash until the consistency of ricotta. Fold in basil.

*Chiffonade may make you pause, but you know what it is. It is the basic technique of cutting basil into ribbons.
Step 1: Stack your basil leaves.
Step 2: Roll the leaves lengthwise.
Step 3: Slice thinly and perpendicularly.
There you have it folks, chiffonade basil!



Fun Fact: Chiffon is French for little rag referring to the fabric-like strips that result from this technique. Thanks Wikipedia.

Eggplant Rollatini
3 medium-sized eggplants
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
non-stick spray
tofu ricotta
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Marinara sauce



Step 1: Preheat the grill pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.




Step 2: Cut the two ends off the eggplant. Cut the eggplant lengthwise, into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange eggplant slices onto a few sheets of papertowel. Sprinkle with sea salt to help remove excess moisture and bitterness. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. (At this point make the marinara sauce and tofu ricotta while waiting) Rinse off the salt from the eggplants and pat dry with a towel. Spray hot grill pan with non-stick spray and then grill the eggplant slices until lightly browned on each side and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.





Step 3: Place a tablespoon of the tofu ricotta mixture on one end of the eggplant and roll up tightly. Place the eggplant rollatini into a greased 13x9-inch baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining eggplant.



Step 4: Evenly distribute the tomato sauce on top of all the eggplant rollatini. Season with salt and pepper.



Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" —Julia Child

12 comments:

  1. I love this idea...love this recipe...but I don't do soy...what could I use in place of the tofu that would simulate ricotta? Other than ricotta? Any ideas anybody?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe something from cashews, rice, olive oil, brewers yeast ... could be whipped up to get something close to ricotta (soy free) ... ??

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    2. Hi Donna, I'm glad you've found the recipe inspiring to you. I've never tried cashew "cheese" with this recipe, but would definitely suggest trying it out. There are many variations on cashew "cheese" out there, but basically it is just soaking raw cashews in water overnight then drain and blend. Finally mixing in whatever ingredients you'd like. A little nutritional yeast, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic and basil might be good for this recipe. If you try it out, let me know!

      Delete
  2. maybe you could puree some veggies, like peas? or maybe lentils? Also, I don't know if you know this, but spinach has a "neutral" taste, so you could cook it, puree it and give it a flavor that you like. I make a spinach cake (not savory, it's like a dessert), and you can't even taste it.

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  3. Yum! I have an eggplant asking to be made for dinner tonight!
    And a good "cheese" outside of cashews that I just discovered is Macadamia nuts! A little pricey but fantastic! Similar to the cashews in preparation and I think a great change.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi! I’m new follower of your blog and would like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/02/clever-chicks-blog-hop-22.html



    I hope you can make it!



    Cheers,

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those look great.......Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Do you think this would freeze well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never tried freezing this recipe, but I bet it would do okay. I'd recommend freezing prior to baking.

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  7. This is a great recipe. Both myself (Vegan) and my wife (non-vegan) loved it. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to take a look.
    I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Great blog and brilliant style and design.

    My page - k53 learners

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am always looking for new s ways to prepare eggplant. This is one of the best that I've seen. Plus, several of the ingredients can be grown at home. Good way to match stuff from a home garden with ingredients purchased at the grocery.

    ReplyDelete