My earliest memory of eggplant is some time in the 90’s when my mom brought an eggplant home from the grocery story that had a large, protruding lump in the middle which made it resemble Bill Clinton (according to her). Something along these lines:
#childofthe90s. No disrespect to Bill Clinton, but I have never liked eggplant. Something about the texture always gets me – it’s such a mush pile. In six years writing this blog I think I’ve only published one eggplant recipe. I am trying to stop being a baby and learn to like it (file under: adult goals, along with remembering to wear deodorant every day and not laughing every time I see 69 written anywhere, in any context). 👀 I figured that a good place to start conquering my eggplant aversion would be in some context where the flavor and texture is completely masked by other things. Baby steps.
Eggplant Involtini is kind of like eggplant parmesan except rolled up and no breading. This version subs the standard ricotta for a vegan (tofu-based) ricotta and is literally all vegetables and tofu except for a bit of olive oil, so you can eat the whole thing and feel like a vegetable champion.
Inspired by The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
- 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2″ thick slices
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 14 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 can peeled tomatoes OR 3-4 large fresh tomatoes*
- extra fresh basil for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375*. Brush each side of the sliced eggplant with olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place the eggplant on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking. Allow the eggplant to cool for 5 minutes, then flip each slice over using a spatula
- Meanwhile, place the tofu, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 tablespoon olive oil and fresh basil in a food processor. Process until all combined and smooth, 15-20 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil and add the garlic. Cook, stirring for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15-2o minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the sauce in a skillet (if oven-proof) or pour into an oven-proof casserole dish.
- Starting at the wider end of the eggplant, spoon about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Roll each eggplant up and place into the bed of sauce. Repeat with all eggplant slices, reserving a bit of the mixture for topping.
- Heat broiler to medium then place the skillet or casserole dish under for 5-10 minutes until browned. Remove and garnish with a dollop of ricotta and basil, or your favorite vegan sprinkle cheese. Serve hot.