The Flaming Vegan

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Awesome Eggplant Rolls with "Cheesy" Spinach Filling
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Awesome Eggplant Rolls with "Cheesy" Spinach Filling

This delicious and satisfying  oven-baked dish is a vegan take on the classic Italian "melanzane alla Parmigiana" (eggplant parmigiana), made with eggplant in rolls, rather than in layers. I have also made a version of this recipe with cannelloni in place of the eggplant – it just takes longer to stuff the cannelloni tubes with the filling! However, not only are the eggplant rolls quicker, and have that "meaty" texture, but nutritionally they are better for you than pasta in any case (not that I am knocking pasta, as I adore it; it is just that using aubergine you get extra vegetables, which is even more healthy). You don't usually need to slice and salt the eggplant before cooking for this dish, just don't add too much oil, as they absorb a lot!

You can either make your own tomato sauce, as directed below, or use ready-made pasta sauce, to save time (home-made sauce adds extra richness and deliciousness though). The stuffing also consists of vegan ricotta, and I have recently posted a blog with two recipes for this, so you are good to go! (I usually make the ricotta about a day in advance, which is then one less step to do for the recipe).

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 eggplant, cut into thin slices, lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g/1lb 2oz spinach, either fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 250 g vegan ricotta *
  • grating of nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp grated vegan cheese
  • 2 chopped red peppers

Tomato sauce: **

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 350 g can of tomato pureé ½ cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


1) To make the sauce, heat oil over a medium ring and saute the onions. Add the garlic and sauté. Add herbs, tomato pureé, sugar and water, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

2) Whilst the sauce is cooking, heat the oven to 220 °C/gas 7. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with oil, then lay on a large baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tender, turning once.

3) Meanwhile, if using fresh spinach, put it in a large colander and pour boiling water to wilt it. Cool, then squeeze out the excess water. If using frozen spinach, thaw it out thoroughly first. Mix with the ricotta, peppers, nutmeg and plenty of seasoning.

4) Dollop a spoonful of the cheesy spinach mixture in the center of each eggplant slice, fold over to make a parcel and lay, sealed-side down in an ovenproof dish.

5) Cover with tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes until piping hot.

6) Serve with a green salad and crusty bread, or garlic bread. It also tastes delicious reheated the next day! Enjoy!

* See my previous blog, "A Cheesy Subject!", for recipes for vegan "ricotta."

** Or use 1 350g can of ready-made tomato sauce.



*Photo courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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Leave a Comment

  1. pftsusan
    #2. This looks good. I invite you over to read my new blog, To Get More Vegans Accepted in Society.
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  2. BuddhasDelight
    mmmmmmmmmmm. voted. :)))
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  3. Carolyn
    Umm, Veganara sounds wonderful! Vote #4!
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  4. Akanksha
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  5. SnakeWitch
    I'm a huge pasta fan, so I know that if I make this, it will surely be with pasta most of the time. But, as you say, healthy does need to be considered, so I will chose the veggie only format at times. Voted! Have you had a chance to read my latest post? The American Food Guide states that dairy is only *suggested* now. Hope you enjoy it!
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  6. Roopam
    I love eggplant what you've cooked up...eggplants make for yummm recipes...great recipe...voted!
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  7. kristo
    OH YES! I am in love with these! voted!
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  8. Virtually Homemade
    Virtually Homemade
    Yum! Voted
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  9. Kristin Barton
    Kristin Barton
    Hi! Once I surmised that aubergines are what Americans call "eggplants" I was very taken with this recipe. Will try it!
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    1. Veganara
      LOL Kristin, yeah, I have sometimes experienced a language barrier problem with using this website too, being British! It took me a while to figure out what you all meant when recipes included ingredients such as "scallions" (UK: spring onions) and "cilantro" (UK: coriander) !! I try to use the American terms now as much as I can, to make it easier for you all! Thanks a lot for the votes and comments everyone, glad you all like this one. This is a great dish to serve if you are having guests for dinner, even omnivores.
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  10. MauiKat
    I'm curious about the amount of sugar in the sauce. You list it twice, first 1 tsp. then again 1/2 cup. Do you really use this much sugar?
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    1. Veganara
      Ooops, that was a complete mistake! No, you only need about 1 tsp sugar, that half cup shouldn't be there! That must have sneaked in from another recipe, sorry about that. Thank you for pointing it out anyway. You definitely DON'T want that much sugar, it would taste very weird!
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