Grilled Eggplant Rollatini

Growing up, when my mother prepared eggplant for dinner, she had to make it two ways: eggplant parmesan for my brother and sauteed eggplants with peppers, onions, and tomatoes for me. I just never became a fan of eggplant parm, at least the way I had always been served it: breaded slices, sauteed, then layered with sauce and cheese. I didn’t realize why at the time, but now I get it: the taste of the eggplant is completely lost in the mushy, greasy breading after layering and baking with the other ingredients. It wasn’t until I made a grilled eggplant parmesan that I realized just how delicious this dish could be. The smoky flavor achieved by grilling is, to me, the perfect way to enjoy eggplant. That’s why when I decided to try my hand at eggplant rollatini, I knew grilling was the way to go. Oh, and how could I forget to mention – of course, it’s healthier this way too!

The filling was also lighter than many other recipes I looked at for inspiration, getting it’s creamy texture from cottage cheese and sharp flavor from a small amount of stronger cheese (the more flavor, the less you need!). I knew I wanted to make a spicier tomato sauce to go with the smokey eggplant, so I chose to use sweet Italian turkey sausage for contrast. This meal was a bit time consuming, but the end result was delicious and worth the effort.

Grilled Eggplant Rollatini
For eggplant:
2 medium eggplants, sliced (yields about 1 1/2lbs)
olive oil spray
salt & pepper

For filling:
2 links Jenny-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
6 oz lowfat cottage cheese
1 1/2 oz shredded Italian blend cheese (such as TJ’s Quattro Formaggio)
1 tsp dried basil

For sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
pinch of crushed red pepper
basil – freshly chopped, dried, or frozen cubes (a great find at TJ’s!)

Salt the eggplant slices and let stand at least 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry, then spray both sides with olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes per side, until tender. Let cool.

Meanwhile, remove the sausage from casing and cook in a skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until crumbly and no longer pink. In a bowl, combine the cooked sausage with the cheeses and basil.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat and cook the garlic and red pepper for about 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Add the basil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a baking dish with nonstick spray. Lay out the eggplant slices and divide the filling evenly among them. Carefully roll up each slice and place seam-side-down in the baking dish. When finished, spoon the sauce over the eggplant rolls. Bake for about 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 493.9
Total Fat: 22.6 g
Cholesterol: 100.0 mg
Sodium: 1,620.9 mg
Total Carbs: 35.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.6 g
Protein: 39.2 g

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