Meatless Eggplant Roll-ups


olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 (10-ounce) bag washed spinach
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup toasted almonds, soaked overnight in enough water to cover
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated on a Microplane grater


  1. Preheat the grill and the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with the cooking spray, and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers to the hot skillet and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and the water has evaporated. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Spray the skillet again and place over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until a deep golden brown. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and half the basil leaves and saute just long enough to wilt the basil. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture reaches a thick sauce consistency, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spray the eggplant slices with cooking spray and season with salt. Grill the eggplant on each side until lightly charred, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of sauce to the bowl with the vegetables, season with salt and red pepper flakes, and mix well.
  7. Place the eggplant slices on a clean work surface, making 4 overlapping, 5-inch-wide x 10-inch-long rectangles.
  8. Place an even amount of the vegetables and some of the remaining fresh basil leaves on each rectangle and roll up. Place the rolls on top of the remaining sauce in the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over each roll.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.
  10. Place the almonds in a blender with just enough of the soaking water to blend them and process on high until it’s a thick and smooth ricotta-like texture, about 1 minute.
  11. Remove from the blender and place in a small bowl, add the cheese, and season with salt.
  12. Pool a little sauce from the skillet on each of four plates, place 1 roll on top, and top each roll with the almond mixture.

Cook’s Tips

  • Add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the almond mixture for more tang.
  • Remove the cheese from the recipe to create a vegan dish.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Negative Calorie Diet