Eggplant replaces pasta in this simple and delicious vegetarian dish. Great for brunch! And what a delicious dairy dish for Passover! If Parmesan cheese is not available, omit it. Fresh spinach can be used if frozen is not available. Wash it well, drain and cook covered for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry.
Food Editor's Note: This recipe got rave reviews from our taste-testers! I loved it and would make it any time, although it is particularly good for Passover as it has no breading or pasta. It is healthy, low-carb, easier to make than you think, and can be prepared ahead and cooked or reheated when a delicious vegetarian entrée (or even side dish) is needed. I used a 1 1/2 pound eggplant and got 10 rolls (12 slices). There was plenty of room in the 9 by 13 casserole, so you could use a smaller dish if you'd like, or even double the recipe. I used marinara sauce from a jar, but you could definitely use home-made sauce if you're up to it. (I also used 2% milk and regular cheeses, not low-fat!) I wasn't sure what "pressed dry non-fat cottage cheese" was, so I just used regular cottage cheese and squeezed out the liquid using cheesecloth. I later asked Norene if this was a product in Canada, where she lives, and this was her response: "Pressed cottage cheese is similar to your dry cottage cheese that is smooth like cream cheese. You might call it farmer’s cheese or hoop cheese. Otherwise, drain cottage cheese by squeezing it in cheesecloth or putting it in a strainer. We use a product called “dry cottage cheese” which is like cream cheese but lower in fat and a bit more crumbly. All are interchangeable but the fat content and moisture content differ."
1 medium eggplant (do not peel)
10 ounce package frozen spinach, cooked, drained & squeezed dry (or use fresh)
1 cup pressed dry non-fat cottage cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup skim milk
Salt, pepper & garlic powder, to taste
2 cups tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 12 slices, discarding the outer slices. Arrange on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until soft and pliable.
Meanwhile, process spinach, cheeses, basil, milk and seasonings, or just mix well. Pour 1 cup of sauce into a sprayed 9-inch by 13-inch casserole. Spread filling in a thin layer on each slice of eggplant and roll up tightly. Place seam side down in casserole. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle lightly with cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Perfect with a garden salad.
Yield: 8 rolls. Freezes and/or reheats well. (You can freeze before or after baking.) Double the recipe if you have guests.
102 calories per roll, 2.7 g fat (1.6 g saturated), 11 mg cholesterol, 10 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 582 mg sodium, 480 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 3 g fiber, 173 mg calcium.
Norene Gilletz is a valued contributor to ShalomBoston.com. This recipe is from her book Healthy Helpings: 800 Fast & Fabulous Recipes for the Kosher (or not) Cook ($19.95 U.S., Woodland Publishing). Norene lives in Toronto, Canada, and has several other kosher cookbooks to her credit, including one of my personal favorites, The Food Processor Bible (Whitecap Books). See recipes, food tips, nutritional information, and more on her web site at http://www.gourmania.com.