In an effort to cut back on starches, I’ve been wanting to play around with the versatility of vegetables. One of the more versatile vegetables out there is the eggplant, but I’d only ever made eggplant parmesan. I don’t want to downplay eggplant parm – oh hell no – eggplant parm is the only parm in my world! But, you know, experimenting is cool.
So this happened.
Some Grilled Eggplant Roulade recipes call for grilling only; I’m calling this a Grilled Eggplant Roulade since the eggplant is grilled, but baked for a stint later on after being stuffed and rolled. I’m just callin’ it like it is – but I didn’t want to confuse anyone. I also didn’t want to cause a mouthful by calling it a “Grilled and Baked Eggplant Roulade” because…no. Why? No.
Mediterranean flavors and manicotti were my inspirations for this dish. I wanted to incorporate all of the yummyness of basil pesto, roasted red peppers, and artichokes with the rich and creamy texture of ricotta.
The sauce I made with this is a super simple tomato sauce. You can use any tomato sauce you darn well please, but I’ll include the recipe for my simple little tomato sauce here. I can’t remember the last time I bought a jar of pasta sauce! It’s just so much more fun when you have control of the flavor balance in your sauce and all of it’s sauciness.
Grilled Eggplant Roulade with Pesto Ricotta Filling
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil approx.
- 1 large eggplant sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 cup of ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of basil pesto
- 1/2 cup marinated artichokes
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers sliced
- 1 cup of tomato sauce can use any, but I've included my recipe
- Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
OPTIONALChives for garnish
FOR SAUCE22 fl oz of strained crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic smashed
- 1/2 onion minced
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 basil leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh parsley chopped
- Heat grill to high heat.
- Toss the eggplant slices in olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, and ground black pepper.
- Using tongs, place the eggplant slices directly onto your clean grilling surface.
- Grill until eggplant is browned on both sides, approx. 3-4 minutes per side.
- Remove from grill and set aside to cool down to room temp.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella (set aside the rest for garnish), basil pesto, egg, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of ground black pepper.
- In an 8 x 10 inch baking dish, poor 1/4 cup of pasta sauce to evenly coat the bottom surface.
- Spread approx. 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture onto one side of each slice of eggplant, top to bottom.
- Evenly spread out a few pieces of the sliced roasted red peppers and the marinated artichokes.
- Starting at one end of the eggplant slice, gently roll towards the other end of the eggplant, securing the stuffing inside.
- Place each roll into the sauced baking dish, lipped-side down to prevent unrolling.
- Bake in the oven, uncovered, for approx. 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Top each roll with a tablespoon of sauce, some grated mozzarella cheese, and chives (chives are optional).
SAUCE (Make a few hours in advance)Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan on low heat.
- Add smashed garlic cloves and simmer for approx. 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Do not brown the garlic.
- Add the onions and fresh flat leaf parsley; simmer until onions are translucent, approx. 4-5 minutes.
- Add the strained crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, sea salt and sugar.
- Allow to simmer on low for approx. 3 hours or so, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Hannah from Love The Little Bakery.