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Spinach and Eggplant Lasagna Roll-Ups

eggplant-and-spinach-roll

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.

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

  • 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

Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • 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)

Instructions

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.

Meanwhile:

  • 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.

To assemble:

  • 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.

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