Who doesn’t love a good lasagna? This hearty dish is a favorite in our household, but it’s not something we can eat all the time (at least that’s what my doctor told me). These eggplant and spinach lasagna roll-ups are just as good as its classic Italian cousin, but aren’t as hard on your waistline.
- 5 tbsp. olive oil
- 3-pounds plum tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2-pounds eggplants, halved crosswise and cut into slices less than 1/4″
- 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
- 1-1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 10 oz. baby spinach
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- 1-pound ricotta cheese
- 8-ounces lasagna noodles (not the no-boil kind)
Making the Sauce
Start by preheating the oven to 450F.
- Mix tomatoes with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Arrange tomatoes cut-side up in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. You may need two or more dishes.
- Roast tomatoes on the upper and lower racks, switching positions halfway through, about 35-40 minutes. The skins should be wrinkled and browned slightly.
- Remove from oven, and allow the tomatoes to cool slightly on racks.
Once the tomatoes are cool enough to work with, remove and discard the skins. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor with its juices until smooth. Now you can finish making the sauce:
- Cook garlic and onions in 2 tbsp. oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in water, tomato puree, pepper and salt.
- Bring to a simmer, and cover partially.
- Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly. Reduce to about 4 cups.
- Add the basil.
Roasting the Eggplant
- Mix the eggplant with the garlic clove, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes on the upper and lower racks, switching positions halfway through and turning the slices over.
Lower the oven temperature to 350F.
Assembling and Baking the Roll-Ups
While the sauce is cooking and the eggplant is cooling:
- Cook the spinach in a 4-quart pot of salted boiling water for one minute.
- Drain the spinach in a colander, and allow it to cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water.
- Chop coarsely.
- Mix egg yolk, ricotta, salt, Parmesan cheese and pepper until well combined.
- Cook the lasagna noodles in an 8-quart pot of boiling water (add salt to stop the noddles from sticking). Stir occasionally.
- Drain the noodles in a colander.
- Rinse under cold water.
- Spoon 2 cups of the tomato sauce into a baking dish.
- Arrange four lasagna noodles on your work surface, and spread filling evenly over each one.
- Cover the ricotta mixture with one eggplant slice.
- Roll up the noodle.
- Place the roll-up seam-side down into the baking dish.
- Repeat for the remaining noodles.
- Gently brush the noodles with water.
- Spoon sauce down the middle of the roll-ups.
- Cover tightly with foil.
- Bake on the middle rack until fully heated, or about 20 minutes.
Heat up the leftover tomato sauce to serve with the roll-ups.