I love Italian food, but unfortunately, the options that vegetarians are left with when dining out at an Italian restaurant are typically either heavy (white) pasta dishes, plates loaded with cheese, or the wonderful eggplant parmigiana – breaded and fried. Ick.
While I do love pasta, I try to stay away from the typical white stuff that contains nothing but empty calories.
This vegan eggplant dish gives you the full flavors of a traditional Italian entree without the calories that come along with alfredo sauce and fried veggies.
Smoky slices of eggplant are pan seared and rolled up with a mixture of quinoa, spinach and toasted almonds, then baked in sizzling marinara sauce.
Vegan Eggplant Rollatini with Quinoa, Spinach & Toasted Almonds
- 1 cup Quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 ½ cups Water
- Olive Oil
- 2 medium Eggplants
- ½ cup sliced Almonds, toasted*
- 2 cups fresh Spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 TBSP fresh Oregano
- 2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
- 1 ½ cups of your favorite Marinara Sauce
Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in the toasted almonds, chopped spinach, fresh oregano and nutritional yeast and set aside.
Slice eggplants lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices (about 16 pieces). Heat about 1 TBSP of olive oil in your largest flat-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add as many slices of eggplant as you can and cook for about 4 minutes per side or until they start to brown. Remove the pieces from the skillet once cooked and put on a plate and set aside. Continue cooking all of the eggplant slices, adding olive oil to the pan in between as needed.
Pour the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 13”x9” baking dish. Starting with the coolest pieces of cooked eggplant, drop a spoonful of the quinoa mixture at the large end of the slice and roll up (don’t worry if some of the mixture falls out, I made a mess). Place the roll seam-side down into the prepared baking dish. Continue doing this until the dish is full and you have used all the eggplant slices. If you have any leftover quinoa, you can save this for a light lunch or you can spoon it in between the eggplant rolls. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes or until the sauce is nice and bubbly.
*To toast the sliced almonds, preheat the oven to 400°F and bake almond slices on a pan lined with foil for about 5 minutes or until fragrant.