Anyone else out there love eggplant as much as I do? I’ve met many people who really don’t care for it. I love it! Especially, when it’s wrapped over “cheese”, smothered in savory sauce and baked to deliciousness. Ya feelin’ me? This Vegan Eggplant Rollatini is the perfect dish to have, if you want to enjoy an Italian-style meal, but without feeling weighed down. This dish is light, yet super satisfying. Also, this baby is gluten-free…what more can we ask for!
This vegan version of the Italian classic, is savory and delicious! It’s completely versatile, and you can serve it with a big salad, a bed of sautéed spinach or serve it as an appetizer. It’s the perfect crowd pleaser! They’ll think you spent hours in the kitchen on this beautiful dish. If you want to save even more time, just use your favorite store-bought sauce. It’ll work just fine.
So, what’s in this flavor-packed dish, you ask? Of course the usual suspects like eggplant, Italian red sauce and seasonings, but for the cheese, I made a cashew ricotta with fresh basil. It has the perfect texture and flavor, just like the original, but this one is cruelty-free and guilt-free. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?
So, why not give this Vegan Eggplant Rollatini a try? Don’t forget the wine!
- Rinse cashews and discard water. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. (about 2-3 minutes) Scrape down sides a couple of times. You can add a bit more water, if needed. Add a pinch more salt if needed.
- Add tomatoes to a blender, and blend until smooth.
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add oil, a pinch of salt and onions. Sauté 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned
- Add garlic, red pepper, oregano, basil and parsley. Sauté for 2-3 minutes
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper, to taste. Bring sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat, but maintain a simmer. Stir every 5-10 minutes.
- Cook for about 30 minutes, or until thickened and flavorful.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees
- Salt each side of the fillet, and place in a colander over a plate or in the sink. Let sit for 15 minutes. This will reduce moisture and bitter flavor. When done, lightly rinse and dry well with paper towels.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Season each side of the fillet, with salt and pepper and place on paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly soft. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees
- Add approximately one cup of sauce to the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Set aside
- Add 1 heaping tablespoon of cashew ricotta to each fillet and roll up. Place seam side down into baking dish. Continue until everything is used up. Pour sauce down center of eggplant fillets. Place back in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned.
- *Optional : About five minutes before eggplant is ready, prepare the sautéed spinach. In a large pan add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 salt salt and spinach. Sauté until just wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Spread spinach onto a serving dish, lay eggplant on top and serve immediately.
To make this recipe easier, you can use your favorite store-bought red sauce. Also, you can make the cashew ricotta ahead of time and leave it in the fridge.
Top with fresh basil, pine nuts or some vegan parmesan cheese.
If you make this Vegan Eggplant Rollatini, or one of my other recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me, Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs.