I once read on a food blog that casseroles are ugly. Most of the time, I’d agree. This casserole breaks that mold. It is almost as nice to look at as it tastes. The colors are perfect for this time of year, too.
If you have carnivores in your crowd, don’t be scared of this meat free dish. The first time my husband ate it, he didn’t even realize there wasn’t meat in it. The eggplant is very hearty so you don’t miss the meat.
Eggplant Involtini (Serves 6)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped small or grated
2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon garlic powder, divided
12 (¼-inch-thick) lengthwise slices eggplant (about 2 medium)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 slice whole-wheat bread, toasted and torn into pieces
8 ounces low fat cottage cheese
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain well
1 large egg
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
1. Heat oil in medium saucepan. Add onion and carrot. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add tomatoes, salt, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes. Process in food processor or with immersion blender until smooth. Set aside.
2. Preheat broiler to high.
3. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet (you may need to work in batches.) Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil 4-5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Let cool about 10 minutes, or cool enough to touch.
4. Preheat oven to 375.
5. Pulse nuts, bread, and remaining ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add cottage cheese, egg, and spinach. Pulse until smooth. Stir in basil and ¼ cup parmesan.
6. Spread 1 ½ cups tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread 2 tablespoons cheese mixture onto each eggplant slice; roll up jelly-roll style. Place rolls, seam sides down, over sauce in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):
Protein: 15 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 42 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 607 mg
Recipe Notes: I usually hate ingredients in pounds, but I actually do weigh tomatoes at the store for this recipe. You could easily sub in your own favorite marinara sauce for this recipe. Make sure you squeeze a lot of water out of your spinach. Otherwise the filling will be soggy and gross.
Recipe source: adapted from Cooking Light