Italian meals are always a favorite in our family. Can't decide on dinner, Italian it is! Eggplant Rollatini has been a standing menu item in which I've been perfecting for years. This dish was actually the first recipe I ever developed on my own and it in turn sparked the idea for my blog. I once served it for dinner without telling anyone that I had replaced the traditional ricotta with tofu and in all honesty no body was any the wiser! I call that serious success.
Happy New Year!!! If you find yourself looking for healthier alternatives to traditional meals- look no further. This dish is an exquisite (and easy!) meal with no carb guilt involved. I absolutely love it and you will too! Don't let new ingredients such as nutritional yeast or tofu scare you off. Nutritional yeast provides the replacement cheese flavor we all know and love.
Eggplant Rollatini with Tofu Basil Ricotta
For the Tofu Basil Ricotta:
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed (instructions below)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (or more if needed)
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil or 2 tbsp dried basil
- 1 TBSP lemon
- ¾-½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp finely ground pepper
For the remaining dish:
- 1 large eggplant, sliced thin lengthwise on a mandolin or very carefully cut into thin long strips
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups homemade or 1 jar store bought marinara sauce
To press the tofu: Cut the tofu block into 6 long strips. Place the tofu onto a clean kitchen towel (or several layers of paper towels). Add another clean kitchen towel on top of the tofu and top with a cutting board. Set several heavy books or really anything very heavy you have on hand to the board. Let sit for two hours. This process presses the liquid out of the tofu and is an essential step in making tofu ricotta!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper. Depending on the width of your eggplant and how many strips you get, you may need two sheets.
- Brush each side of the eggplant strip with olive oil and sprinkle with salt pepper.
- Add to baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, be careful to not let them burn since they are thin.
- Meanwhile make the tofu basil ricotta: Add the cashews to a food processor and pulse them until finely ground. To the cashew crumbles, add in the pressed tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Process until the tofu forms a very sticky cheese type mixture. It should take about one full minute. Taste and season with more salt or pepper if needed.
- Let the eggplant strips cool.
- Add 1/3 cup marinara sauce to an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.
- Add the ricotta (about 1 rounded TBSP) to each eggplant strip spread evenly.
- Roll tight and place in pan.
- Cover the rolls with remaining marinara sauce, you may not need it all!
- If desired, top with dairy-free mozzarella, my preferred brand is Follow Your Heart.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbling and hot.
Optional: Sprinkle with extra basil and red pepper flakes