You guys should know by now that I am a big fan of eggplant … The eggplant is a wonderful vegetable that can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Baked, roasted, grilled or used in an oven dish; the eggplant suprises again and again by its delicious and unique flavour. The only annoying thing about the preparation of eggplants is that they contain so much water, so you have to use a lot of oil during the frying process. However, there is a little trick that you can use in order to keep the amount of oil in check: cut the eggplant in slices, sprinkle them with coarse salt and allow to drain for a while. By doing so, the eggplants will lose their excess water, so you have to use a lot less oil during their preparation. Of course, this is a little bit of extra work, but I assure you that it’s definitely worth the effort! Especially in this dish, where the eggplant plays a leading role: this vegetarian oven dish consists of grilled eggplant slices that are stuffed with a very tasty filling of spinach, ricotta cheese, mozarella and fresh basil, while a simple and quick tomato sauce takes care of the rest!
Besides, did you know that – apart from its unique flavour – there are several other amazing things about eggplants? I always knew that eggplants were good for you, but what I only discovered just recently is that there are soooo many health benefits to putting eggplant on your menu regularly. All of the health benefits of eggplant (27 (!) in total …) are listed for you in this well-written and science-backed article. You should definitely check it out and discover that eating eggplant is not only good for the proper functioning of your body’s immune system, but also for the maintenance of the youthful structure of skin and proper hair growth, as well as to prevent or deal with painful headaches and migraine attacks … Double plus: the article also contains some super-easy eggplant recipes at the end ;-)!
Eggplant rolls with spinach, ricotta & mozarella
- Eggplant rolls
- 2 eggplants *
- 200 g (frozen) spinach defrosted and drained
- 250 g ricotta
- 125 g mozarella cut in cubes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic chopped finely
- 4 tbsp fresh basil chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp lemon zeste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- Tomato sauce
- 2 shallots chopped finely
- 1 clove of garlic chopped finely
- 1 pinch of chili flakes or 1/4 red chilly pepper, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
- 1 tsp cane sugar
- 450 g canned tomato cubes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- To finish
- 100 g mozarella cut in cubes
- 25 g Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
- Cut eggplants lengthwise into slices of +/- 0.5 mm thick. Put eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt. Rinse slices after 20 min with cold water and dry well with kitchen paper (or use a clean kitchen towel).
- Put eggplant slices on a baking tray with baking paper. Brush slices with the olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20-25 min.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large cooking pot on medium-low heat. Add chopped shallots and garlic and let them fry for a minute. When shallots are shiny, add chili flakes, tomato concentrate and cane sugar. Stir well. After 2 min, add tomato cubes, water and dried oregano. Mix well and season with pepper and salt, according to your own taste. Let the sauce simmer on a low setting while preparing the rolls.
- Prepare the filling: combine spinach, ricotta, mozarella cubes, garlic, basil, lemon zeste and lemon juice into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Season with nutmeg, pepper and salt, according to your own taste.
- When the eggplant slices are done, remove them from the oven (don't turn off the oven yet). Place 1 tablespoon of filling at the end of each eggplant slice and roll up.
- Distribute a little bit of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the rolls in the dish and divide the rest of the sauce over the rolls. Top with the mozarella and grated Parmesan.
- Bake the rolls for another 30 min until the cheese turns lightly golden.
- Serve the rolls warm with a tossed green salad and a piece of (garlic) bread.
* Use elongated eggplants. They are easier to make (good looking) rolls.