Baked Eggplant Rolls with a Tomato Basil Sauce

This meal was BEAUTIFUL! The sauce, the filling and everything about it was delicious.

I made this dish last week as an entree and I have to say, it was a delight to eat. I even  went back for seconds and that was after I’d consumed a slow-cooked chicken dish and a ramekin of rhubarb and apple crumble! Greedy, much?! 🙂

The dish takes a little bit of time to prepare but it really is worth it. I added a small amount of crumbled cow’s feta into the ricotta mixture and bit more on top with some basil as a garnish. Enjoy!

Egg-plant

Baked Eggplant Rolls with a Tomato Basil Sauce
Serves 4

  • 2 fresh eggplant, trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 6
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 800 g whole tomato canned in tomato juice, chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, torn
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 150 g reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tbs grated parmesan cheese, chopped
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • Oil spray

Preheat oven to 230 degrees. Spray a baking tray with oil and set aside.

Lay eggplant in a single layer on prepared baking tray and spray with oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make filling, spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil and place over medium-high heat. Add onion and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, or until onion starts to soften. Add 1 clove garlic and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile combine ricotta, parsley, basil and 2 tablespoons parmesan in a seperate bowl. Stir to combine. Add the cooled onion mixture to ricotta mixture, then add egg and season well with salt and pepper.

To make sauce, place the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic and saute for 2 minutes, or until light brown. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine then reduce heat to low. Add basil and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

To make eggplant rolls, reduce oven temperature to 210 degrees. Spoon 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce into the base of a 20 cm square ceramic baking dish. On a clean chopping board place a slice of eggplant. Spoon 2 tablespoons of ricotta filling at narrow end and roll up. Place in prepared baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.

Arrange rolls in a single layer in dish. Spoon over remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted. Garnish with chopped basil and a sprinkling of feta. Enjoy.

These can be made a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight continer in the fridge. They are best reheated in a moderate oven for 15 – 20 minutes, though I didn’t have any left for the next day to reheat!

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Spinach and Feta Tartlets

I actually can’t recall when I first saw this recipe. No doubt in some women’s magazine I picked up briefly at the supermarket or in a waiting room. I truly believe one of the best fillings for pretty much *anything* is the spinach and feta combo. Spanakopita, quiche, tarts, omelettes, bread…you just can’t beat it. In fact, I’m pretty sure any time I cook with either it is always a success.

This recipe is a gorgeous combination of spinach and feta cheese in a nice pie crust. I could seriously eat one of these almost every day, well I wish! The filling is so quick and easy to throw together, too.…what’s not to love?

Go on…enjoy this lunchtime delight.

Spinach and Feta Tartlets
Serves 12 

  • 200 grams baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 200 grams creamy feta
  • 200 grams puff pastry
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100 grams sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Turn the oven on to 180 degrees. Spray a 12-hole muffin tin. Roll out pastry into a large rectangle and using a pizza cutter, slice into approximately 8 x 8 cm squares. Next carefully mould each piece into the muffin pan.

Pop the spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, nutmeg and eggs into a bowl and combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture evenly amongst the pastry cases. Place into the oven to bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Put one of these into the lunchbox along with a side salad!

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach and Cheese Pie)

I love Greek food. Maybe it’s just because I have a not-so-secret love affair with feta and spinach combos!

The weekend called for spanakopita (a Greek dish which literally translates to ‘spinach pie’). Kiallas, my local café in Newtown, sell out of these puppies as quickly as they can make them. They are the most popular items on the menu – they really are that good and have the richest, creamiest, feta EVER… utter heaven. Sunday was one of those days (sadly!), but I’d been dying to try spanakopita at home and what a perfect excuse!

This recipe was recommended by a friend and comes from Jamie Oliver. The filling is extra creamy and luscious but best of all, the process for making spanakopita is really simple and only takes 20 minutes in the oven making it a healthy (ish!), vegetarian meal perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Yes, this recipe is incredibly delicious. I cannot wait to visit Greece one day and have a spanakopita, or the lesser known, but perhaps more traditional Tiropita (no spinach). Enjoy this one!

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach and Cheese Pie)

  • 100 grams of pinenuts
  • 5 eggs
  • 300 grams of feta cheese
  • 50 grams Cheddar cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • 1 lemon
  • A knob of butter
  • 400 grams of prewashed baby spinach
  • 1 x 270 gram pack of filo pastry
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole nutmeg
Turn on the oven to 200 degrees. Put a medium frying pan on a medium heat. Put the pinenuts into the dry ovenproof frying pan to toast, tossing occasionally. Keep an eye on them as they tend to burn veeery easily!
Crack 5 eggs into a mixing bowl and crumble in 300 grams of feta. Grate in the cheese. Add a pinch of pepper, a couple of pinches of dried oregano, zest of 1 lemon and a glug of olive oil. Once the nuts are light golden, add them to the egg mixture and mix well.

Put the empty frying pan back on the heat, add a little olive oil and a knob of butter and pile in half of the spinach. Gently push and move it around and add more as it wilts down. Make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom and, when there’s room, start adding the rest, stirring frequently.

Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper, approx 50cm long, on the worktop, rub a little olive oil all over it, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again. Arrange 4 filo pastry sheets in a large rectangle, overlapping at the edges, so they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over them. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Repeat until you have 3 layers. Don’t worry about any cracked bits.

Once the spinach is really nice and dense, take the pan off the heat. Add the wilted spinach to the egg mixture and grate in ½ a nutmeg. Mix well. Carefully move the greaseproof paper and filo into a glass oven proof dish so the edges spill over. Push it down into the sides, then pour in the egg mixture and spread it out. Fold the filo sheets over the top.

Place the spanakopita into the hot oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Eat while hot with a delicious green salad! Bon appetit!