Baked Eggplant Rollatini

If you have a purist on your hands who thinks rollatini is only rollatini if it’s breaded and fried, feel free to call it eggplant lasagna rolls or something else.  But what I call it is delicious!

If you’re vegan and soy-free and have been sad that you can’t have yummy ricotta-filled dishes, be sad no longer.  Here, and in many savory dishes calling for tofu, I use navy beans.  Navy beans are a little tiny miracle to us soy-free folks.  They are creamy and take on the flavor of whatever you mix them with.  They are what I like to call “the tofu of beans”.  While they may not be the star of the show here, they definitely deserve a nomination for “best supporting actress.”

Baked Eggplant Rollatini | Veg-am

Baked Eggplant Rollatini

Serves  5-6 if served alone or 8 if served with a salad

  • 2 large eggplant (aubergine)
  • 1 recipe Navy Bean Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe bread crumb topping (recipe below)
  • 4 cups of your favorite marinara, jarred or homemade – I used the Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara

Preheat the oven to 425F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the top and bottom off the eggplant so it will stand up relatively well.  Slice vertically in slices just a bit thicker than 1/8 inch.  You will get “wasted” eggplant doing it this way.  You can’t use the outside slices because it’s almost all skin and you’ll probably lose some in trying to keep the slices even.  But, I got about 8 slices per eggplant and had some left over that I chopped up to use in baba ghanoush.  Don’t worry if the slices aren’t perfect.  You’re going to roll them anyway.

Lay the eggplant in a single layer on the parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes, until the eggplant is pliable.  If you cut yours a little on the thick side, bake a couple minutes longer. If you have a few pieces that don’t fit,  you can put the extra pieces in the oven when you are rolling the first batch.

Evenly spread 1 cup of marinara in the bottom of a  9×13 glass dish

Once the eggplant comes out of the oven, let it cool enough to handle and turn the oven temperature down to 350.   Then, working on the parchment (I piled all the eggplant up on one side of a pan and worked in the other half), top a slice of eggplant with the navy bean ricotta.  Don’t go all the way to the edges because rolling the eggplant will push the filling out to the edges.

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Roll it up, starting from the narrow end.  Place the eggplant roll into the 9×13, seam side down.  Repeat with all eggplant slices.

Baked Eggplant Rollatini | Veg-am

Cover with remaining marinara.  Evenly distribute the breadcrumb topping.

Bake at 350 uncovered for 30 minutes.  If you want a little extra browning on the topping, you can broil it for a minute or two at the end, just keep an eye that it doesn’t burn.

Baked Eggplant Rollatini | Veg-am

Let the dish cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.  I didn’t do it for the picture because it looked messier, but after dishing out the rolls, I spoon more sauce from the dish on top of the rolls.  Another option so you can keep the prettier plating, would be to put the extra sauce in a separate bowl and let your guests spoon the sauce on their rollatini as desired.

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Navy Bean Ricotta

(adapted from the Cashew Ricotta from Veganomicon)

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for 1-4 hours
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups cooked navy beans (equivalent to one can)
  • ½ cup water* – see note below
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Place all ingredients, except basil, in a food processor. Let it run until it is smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary.  You don’t want any chunks of cashew or bean left.  Depending on the strength of your processor, this could take 5-10 minutes.  Remove from processor into a small bowl and fold in the finely chopped basil leaves.  Let chill in the refrigerator for several hours or until the next day (see note below about water)

Bread Crumb Topping

  • ¾ cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I used Food for Life Brown Rice Bread – 2 slices)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp soy-free Earth Balance
  • garlic salt to taste* – see note below

In a small bowl, using your fingers, break up the Earth Balance into the other ingredients until it resembles a crumble.

Notes:

1.  I make the filling several hours to a day in advance.  I do this for two reasons.  It makes dishes seem like less work if this is done ahead.  And, it lets the flavors mingle together better.  Because this filling thickens as it sits in the refrigerator, if you are going to use it right away, start out with less water or your filling may be a little runny.
2.  I used a 1/2 tsp garlic salt.  This was A LOT if I had been serving just the topping, but when spread around with everything else, considering the fact that my sauce was salt-free, it worked. If your sauce is on the salty side, this is too much.  Just remember, you can always add salt, but you can’t take it out. 
3. If you want to sprinkle on a vegan mozzarella instead of the bread crumb topping that would work too. I’ve used that when I made this dish lasagna style instead of rollatini style.
4. Which brings up the point that this is basically my eggplant lasagna too.  Just cut the eggplant in rounds instead of vertical slices, add some diced tomato to the sauce, and do the layer thing instead of the rolls.


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  4 comments for “Baked Eggplant Rollatini

  1. September 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    YES!! Thank you! I love making lasagna, rollatini, manicotti, and pretty much every other cheese-filled pasta for my Italian family, but I am sooo sick of tofu ricotta. I am bookmarking this!

  2. September 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Ohhhh yum. This is one of those dishes that you can serve to omnivores and everyone at the table would be happy.

    On the list for this winter, for sure :)

  3. September 5, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Wow, that looks amazing! I’m definitely going to try this, Dawn!

  4. Mel
    September 5, 2013 at 10:43 am

    This looks gorgeous Dawn! It’s the sort of thing I like to bring along to a family Christmas dinner. I’m very intrigued about your navy bean ricotta.

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