I've been on a real eggplant kick lately, so I created a low-fat rollatini that I can't wait for you to try.
It's baked in the oven with a thin brush of olive oil, leaving it so tender and tasty you won't miss the typical breaded, fried coating.
Even Hubby, who doesn't usually enjoy the oddly shaped purple vegetable, agreed to give it a chance for dinner. "For eggplant, this is really delicious," he said. I think that was a compliment.
Nonfat feta cheese adds a lovely savoriness to the creamy ricotta filling, punched up by fresh garlic, basil, parsley and spinach.
While I pride myself on making many versions of my own sauce, that night I was really in the mood for Rao's, the only jarred version I will happily buy. (I know a few hard-core Italians who swear by this stuff, too, so I don't feel so guilty when it's not from scratch.) I purchased the "Sensitive Formula" version, which really allowed the flavors in this dish to shine.
My eggplant rollatini is light on the palette, filling in your stomach, and won't cost you a ton of fat and calories. Pretty good deal, right?
Low-fat eggplant rollatini
1 large eggplant
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon nonfat feta cheese
1 clove garlic
About 1 cup fresh spinach (2-3 leaves per eggplant slice)
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
5 leaves fresh basil
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar Rao's Sensitive Formula Marinara Sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (plus more to taste)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and peel eggplant. Remove stem. Slice lengthwise into about eight to 10 pieces. Brush each side with olive oil. Season both sides with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes on each side. Turn oven off. Chop parsley. Add to a bowl filled with ricotta cheese. Chop fresh basil. Add to the cheese. Mince garlic. Then, you got it, put it into the ricotta bowl. Mix well, then add feta cheese. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place about a tablespoon of filling onto the larger end of each eggplant slice. Top with two to three leaves of spinach. Roll the eggplant. Coat the bottom of your baking dish with one cup of sauce. Nestle eggplant into the baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella over top. Broil for about 3 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Eat and enjoy this healthier twist on a yummy classic.
Jenn Press Arata is a food writer and blogger. Visit her blog at thatssojenn.com. She also can be followed on Twitter, @thatssojennblog.