I am constantly on the lookout for dinner ideas. As a vegetarian, it is pretty easy to get stuck in the pasta and salad rut—pasta one night, salad the next, and repeat. But there is so much out there to try, and so many delicious veggies to experiment with! This recipe is a testament to that.
Eggplant can be a tricky vegetable to understand. It gets a pretty bad rap in the vegetable world for being soggy and flavorless. But with a healthy sprinkle of salt to draw out the moisture and some time roasting in a hot oven, eggplant is easily one of my favorite veggies.
And come on, what doesn't taste better when it is stuffed with cheese?? Rolling these babies up with some creamy ricotta takes this dish to the next level. It's almost like a gluten free cannelloni pasta, especially once nestled into a flavorful tomato sauce.
Served along side some delicious whole wheat rolls (recipe coming soon!) and a fresh citrusy salad, this makes for a complete and healthy Italian meal, and easy to boot. So simple and delicious in fact....I have a feeling it's going to show up on our dinner table again soon :)
- 2 large eggplants (short, fat ones are better than tall skinny ones in this case), peeled
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, and chopped coarse
- 8 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- kosher salt and pepper
Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch think planks- you should get about 6 from each eggplant.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on prepared sheets. Brush one side of eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then flip each slice over. Heat the broiler.
Meanwhile, while the eggplant is cooking, heat the remaining one tablespoon oil in a 12-inch broiler safe skillet over medium low heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup pecorino, basil, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Place a dollop of the ricotta mixture on the wider end of each eggplant plank. Gently roll up each slice and place seam side down in tomato sauce.
Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until eggplant is well browned and cheese is heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup pecorino and let stand for 5 minutes until serving.
adapted from cooks illustrated