As the election results were rolling in last night, I was rolling up eggplant. Yes, things were crazy over here. J
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s meaty and filling but with only 35 calories per cup, so feel free to indulge in a little extra of this delicious veggie (fun fact: it's actually considered a berry) on the side. It’s also packed full of antioxidants which fight the free radicals in your body. As free radicals accumulate in cells, they slowly cause damage which results in aging. Eggplants are low cal and it fights aging? I'll take it!
Eggplant and cheese are always great combinations but this recipe adds a surprising flavor with the spicy tomato sauce. It really isn't a sauce, more a chunky marinara, but with green chilies to really add a kick. If you are not into spicy food I suggest adding less than I call out for in this recipe. I had three rolls and a salad to make a dinner but you can also serve these as appetizers. Bon appétit!
Stuffed Eggplant w/ Spicy Tomato Sauce
Makes about 3 servings:
2 medium sized eggplants, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons of olive oil
First, we need to get some of the water out of the eggplant slices. Lay them out on a wire rack (even the top portion of your broiler pan will do) over your sink. Lightly salt each slice and let them sit for 15 minutes. If you have more time, maybe an hour or two, use it. It will make the eggplant easier to roll and will let the eggplant get the delicious flavor of the olive oil without as much. If not, 30 min for both sides will be just fine! Flip and repeat.
Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil over a grill pan and heat. Grill each slice of eggplant on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, flipping in between. Set aside to cool.
3 Cheese Mixture
2 ½ cups ricotta
2 ounces of goat cheese
¼ cup of grated parmesan
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 cup of baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoons of basil
½ tablespoon thyme
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350º. Combine all three cheeses and spices in a bowl. Heat olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Throw spinach in and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add to cheese mixture. Stir. Dollop a hefty spoonful of cheese on to the end of an eggplant strip and roll, placing the roll on to a baking pan. Once these are all completed put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of green chilies (more or less depending on the desired temperature)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
½ garlic clove
1 teaspoon of olive oil
While the eggplant is baking, put together the tomato sauce. Heat olive oil in a sauce pot on medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and green chilies. Cook for 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and cook on low heat until eggplant is ready to be served.
It’s weird. Whenever I have cheese in a recipe, a little dog seems to appear at my feet while I’m cooking.