Eggplant Rollantini is one of my all-time favorite dishes. It’s basically all the goodness of Eggplant Parmigiana rolled up, and you know how I love my Eggplant Parm. You know what I don’t love though? All that fat and calories. It’s kind of frightening. In fact, I’m eternally grateful that most restaurant menus don’t reveal the caloric count, because I’m pretty sure I’d have a heart attack on the spot. Even though I know deep down the Eggplant Rollantini I ordered in all its breaded, cheese-covered glory is going to tower into the 700-800 calorie vicinity, I prefer to ignore that.
So what is there to do when I want some Eggplant Rollantini without a side of guilt? Make a lighter version, of course! We make a couple of quick switches: lighter cheese instead of full-fat, spinach to bulk up the dish with vitamins, a light marinara sauce, and nix the frying. The last step is doubly helpful because not only do you save fat/calories, but you also avoid pain-in-the-butt breading and frying. Therefore, this Eggplant Rollanti is much easier than the standard recipe.
Just because we’re skimping on calories doesn’t mean we’re skimping on any of the good stuff. Each roll is so stuffed with creamy ricotta and fresh spinach that they’re bursting at the seams. And there ain’t just cheese inside the rolls; they’re covered in a gooey layer of mozzarella too! On a side note: has anyone noticed that I tend to whip out the word “ain’t” when I get really excited?
Well, there’s a lot to be excited about here: tender eggplant stuffed with cheese then topped with more cheese and zesty sauce. It’s such a comforting, filling meal that it’s easy to forget that you can have two honkin’ rolls of eggplant for under 300 calories.
Yay for being full of food, not guilt!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- You can use part-skim mozzarella instead, which will taste more indulgent. It’ll cost you a few more calories, but will still clock in under 300.
- The thinner you slice the eggplant, the easier it is to cut.
- This dish actually has a LOT of protein, which makes it a great vegetarian meal.
- USE FRESH BASIL. Dried = icky.
Light Eggplant Rollantini
Adapted from Hungry Girl
Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 large eggplant, ends removed, cut lengthwise into 8 slices
- 1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
- 2 tsp. chopped garlic
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 cups low-fat marinara sauce (like Ragu)
- 1 cup shredded fat-free, reduced fat, or part-skim mozzarella cheese (fat-free will be lowest in calories)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets and a 9″ X 13″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Lay eggplant slices on the baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Flip slices. Bake until soft, about 5 more minutes. Leave oven on.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, thoroughly mix spinach, ricotta cheese, basil, egg substitute, garlic, pepper, and salt.
- Lay eggplant slices in front of you with the short sides on the top and bottom. Distribute spinach-ricotta mixture among the bottoms of the eggplant slices. Roll up each slice around the mixture, and place them in a single layer in the baking dish, seam sides down. You may want to use toothpicks to secure the rolls, but make sure you remember to take them out before you eat!
- Cover rolls with marinara sauce. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and sprinkle rolls with mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, until cheese has melted, 10 – 15 minutes. Serve it up!
Serving Size: 2 rolls (1/4th of recipe), Calories: 288, Fat: 7.5g, Sodium: 937mg, Carbs: 30g, Fiber: 8.5g , Sugars: 15.5g, Protein: 24.5g (Note: Nutrition stats are calculated using part-skim mozzarella. Fat-free will have less calories and fat).