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I hope all is well as we start at the beginning of another weekend. Here in the Northeast, it seems we are in for a chilly weekend in the 30’s and possibly snow. Even though it’s Spring, Mother Nature is still unsure.
Of course in the cooler weather, I love to be in the kitchen making a hearty meal, but on Friday, I decided to change that pattern, and Bob and I ordered lunch in from a local restaurant and it was quite filling and delicious.
When dinner rolled around we were still full from lunch and we wanted something that was not a heavy meal, but fast and delicious.
I looked in the refrigerator & cabinets for something quick and we had pasta & fish with lunch so that was out and then I spotted a lonely eggplant in the veggie bin.
I hadn’t used this eggplant because it was a lot smaller and thinner than what I usually buy to make a meal (it was part of an instacart food delivery) and then I had an idea…..
Bob and I Love eggplant rollatini but this eggplant wouldn’t make a complete meal because of the size, but it would make some appetizers and then the dinner idea blossomed…
I had ricotta and mozzarella and I always have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer. I would just use my eggplant rollatini recipe with a few adjustments.
I also had a bunch of fresh spinach that needed to be used so I sauteed the spinach in garlic and oil and added it to the filling. It worked out perfectly.
These mini eggplant rolls would be a great idea for a party platter.
So, I wanted to share my “adjusted” recipe with you. Also, if you increase the number of eggplants and serve it with a small side of pasta or a salad, it could be a complete Lenten meal.
The recipe below is for the appetizers, but if you are interested in a full meal, as I said above, just add additional eggplants and increase some of the ingredients.
I usually bread and fry the eggplant but I decided to make the meal extra easy and skipped that step and baked the eggplant with no breading.
I hope you try it and enjoy it.
Baked Eggplant Rollatini Appetizers
- 1 medium eggplant (long and thin for the appetizers), sliced lengthwise (¼ inch)
Cooks Note: if you are making the eggplant rollatini for a dinner, then use 2 large eggplants and double the other ingredients.
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated cheese (I used Locatelli Romano)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (1/2 for filling and ½ for topping the eggplant rolls)
- 1 egg
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 shakes of ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp of fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 tbsp of fresh basil, chiffonade
- 2-3 cups of pasta sauce (homemade is preferred or a no-salt jarred sauce).
- OPTIONAL: sauteed fresh spinach or frozen spinach, thawed and drained well.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Slice the eggplant lengthwise in ¼ inch slices (they will shrink a little when cooked)
Lay the eggplants on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat (if you don’t have either then use cooking spray or grease the pan lightly with olive oil). Season with black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and let cool for an additional 10 minutes so you can easily handle the slices. The softer they are the easier they are to roll.
If you are using spinach in your filling, sauté in olive oil and garlic and cool (use a slotted spoon to add this mixture to the filling so you don’t add the olive oil making the filling too watery) or if using frozen spinach, drain the thawed spinach & squeeze dry to remove the water before adding to the filling.
Prepare your filling:
In a large bowl, ADD the ricotta, grated cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, nutmeg, minced garlic, basil, and an egg. Mix well.
Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish
Once you can handle the eggplant, place a 1 tbsp scoop of the filling on each eggplant slice and then roll the eggplant slices up and place them in the baking dish with the seam side down.
Once completed, add the remaining tomato sauce on top of the eggplant rolls and follow with the remaining mozzarella cheese
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you want additional crispy cheese, broil for 2-3 minutes but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.
I hope you give this recipe a try for a Lenten meal or an appetizer platter at your next get-together or holiday. Enjoy!
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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