…or as I like to call it, “eggplant rolltini!”
Have you tried eggplant roll…er…involtini? It’s a classic dish from southern Italy with breadcrumbs and ricotta cheese rolled up in slices of eggplant and roasted in tomato sauce. This version is slightly different from a traditional eggplant involtini, as I made a Moroccan-style sauce instead of a classic Italian sauce, and skipped the breadcrumbs altogether in order to keep the recipe gluten-free.
To cut corners, you can use store-bought pasta sauce for the recipe, but I loved how unique the Moroccan sauce made the dish! You could also use gluten-free breadcrumbs if desired, but I thoroughly enjoyed the dish without…because no breadcrumbs = more ricotta cheese = delicious.
To my knowledge, “Moroccan Marinara Sauce” isn’t a real thing…it’s just the title I’m giving the sauce since it’s basically the same recipe you would use to make a classic Shakshouka (eggs stewed in Moroccan sauce). You can look at it as a classic tomato sauce all gussied up with harissa and bell pepper for some Moroccan flair.
You can use the Moroccan-style sauce on your zoodles, regular noodles, in your lasagna recipes, for chicken parmesan…the list goes on and on – the sauce can go anywhere a red sauce can go. So if you’re looking for something a little otherworldly to change up some of your classic recipes that call for tomato sauce, this one may just be your jam.
And as it turns out, it’s DUH-lish with eggplant, so there is that.
Recipe prep…the elephant in the room.
I will say, this meal is better suited for the weekends than any ol’ weeknight. In order to prepare it, you need to slice the eggplants, then let the water drain out for an hour or two. While your eggplant slices are leeching water, you can prepare the Moroccan marinara sauce, which is a real cinch! You then cook the eggplant slices in a skillet for a couple of minutes in order to soften them up and turn them into noodle-like apparatuses. Then comes the stuffing, rolling, and baking, which doesn’t take long and is actually pretty fun and therapeutic, but from start-to-finish, you’re looking at roughly 2 to 3 hours of prep/wait/cook time.
You can make this recipe vegan by using homemade vegan ricotta cheese (or vegan chevre!). If you’re in need of some hearty protein, ground turkey or beef would be amazing stuffers right along with the ricotta.
Rolltini your eggplant!