Ever since I found out how to make my own cashew ricotta I find any and every excuse to use it. It is seriously so delicious that I could just eat it by the spoonfuls. However I am slowly learning that spoonfuls of ricotta may not be an actual meal…which sucks. However because sharing is caring, I decided it be best I find recipes where others can enjoy this vegan ricotta too! So, I have been trying to get inventive with my uses of it.
I decided, why not give it a whirl with eggplant to make a rollatini? Who doesn’t love a good rolled eggplant stuffed with delicious cheese?
I absolutely love eggplant but I am not a huge fan of all the breadcrumbs that typically come with it. For the past few years I have been replacing breadcrumbs with ground flaxseed meal. It gives a much nuttier and more complex set of flavors than regular breadcrumbs do. Not to mention flaxseed is jam-packed with heart healthy Omega-3.
If it tastes better and is better for you, why not make that simple change? I am a big proponent of tiny little positive changes that add up over time. Don’t cut something out completely overnight (unless you need to for medical reasons). Instead, make small daily decisions that will, in time, create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
However, if you read that and think this chick is crazy, then by all means you can use breadcrumbs. (There should be plenty on the shelves since I am on the flaxseed train these days.)
- 1 large eggplant, sliced thinly
- avocado oil or any oil that works well on high heat
- 1/2 cup (or more as needed) of ground flaxseed meal
- 2 beaten eggs or non-dairy milk in replacement
- about 1 cup of cashew ricotta
- about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- a few fresh basil leaves
***If you are using store-bought ricotta or red tomato sauce, I suggest you season them both. I tend to find that they are under seasoned and could both use a little sprucing up before adding them into this dish. Add in a teaspoon of both dried oregano and dried basil to your ricotta and to your tomato sauce. If you like a little heat, add a pinch or more of dried red pepper flakes to your sauce as well!
To begin, slice your eggplant into long thin slices. I use a mandoline to slice it quickly but it can be done with a knife if you do not have one. If time allows, you can lightly salt and cover the slices with paper towels to help the excess water sweat out.
Place a large skillet, on medium/high heat, and pour 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. I always use avocado oil when pan searing eggplant because it works well with high heat.
Then, take two bowls out. Fill one bowl with your beaten eggs or non-dairy milk and the other bowl with your ground flaxseed. You will begin to bread each piece of eggplant, starting first with an egg wash then placing it into the flaxseed until completely coated on both sides. After it is “breaded” place the slice of eggplant onto the skillet. Let the eggplant cook on each side until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes a side).
Repeat the steps of breading and browning until all slices of your eggplant are cooked. You may need to refill the bowls of flaxseed or eggs depending on the size of your eggplant. Be sure to add new avocado oil when you notice it run out on the skillet. Eggplant has a tendency to soak up oils, so you will want to make sure you are coating the pan enough to prevent any sticking.
To remove excess oil, I place the cooked slices of eggplant onto to sheets of paper towels. When you have finished cooking all of your eggplant, you can preheat your oven to 350F. While it is preheating you can begin to assemble your rollatini.
Take out a large lasagna dish and coat the bottom with your tomato sauce of choice (obviously I already know you are going to choose my sauce but I am trying to be humble here). Then take one slice of eggplant and spread about a spoonful of cashew ricotta onto it. Then roll your slices up tightly and place them down into your dish . Continue this process until you have either filled your lasagna dish or you have run out of eggplant. Then top the (adorable if you ask me) rollatini with more of your red sauce.
Place any remaining ricotta in small dollops on top of the eggplant. Then place a few fresh basil leaves on the top. This will add a fresh fragrance to the pan. Then place your lasagna dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes. It does not need all too much cooking time as you have already cooked your eggplant. So this is really an opportunity to let the flavors marry one another and for everything to heat up together!
When the timer goes off you are ready to serve! I like to keep the eggplant in the same dish for serving. It will keep everything warm for longer and I love how beautiful rollatini looks. (Is that weird that I think rollatini is beautiful? Whatever, ya gotta be true to yourself!)
I hope you enjoy this yummy little dish and I cannot wait to find more creations that allow me to use this cashew ricotta!