One of my favorite methods of de-glutening favorite Italian dishes is to use vegetables in place of pasta. Not only am I sparing myself some unnecessary discomfort, but also sneaking in some bonus nutrition. Usually, this works pretty well. Though it’s a pretty well-known FACT that kids possess a unique veggie-detecting radar. No matter how much sauce and cheese you top it with.
In researching dishes for my purple and blue veggie week, I saw some tasty looking eggplant roll-ups. In an effort to up the ante on my little veggie sleuths (and I’m including my husband in this one, considering his negative feelings on eggplant), I took some extra steps in modifying this recipe.
It’s helpful with this particular recipe to choose eggplants that are relatively straight and uniform in size. This will help with minimizing waste when you are preparing your slices. Securing the roll-ups can take some getting used to, so don’t fret if it seems difficult at first. I found it helpful to pre-poke holes for the toothpicks so that you don’t inadvertently prick yourself securing a particularly stubborn piece of eggplant.
Some of your cheese will escape when placed in the pan for browning, and this is ok! The crispy cheese is the best! Embrace the imperfect (I’m still working on this one in general, but in cooking, I’m excellent at it!).
Let me know how you like it, and if your kiddos are able to detect the extra nutrition or not!
Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan Roll-ups
By: Lauren M. Koch, RDN (The Family Foodnag)
Prep time: ~20min Bake time: 50 minutes (total)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, and slice eggplants lengthwise into 1/4″ slices. Salt both sides, and allow to slices to “sweat” for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, use a paper towel to dab slices dry. Bake on a lined cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, until just starting to get soft.
- While eggplant slices are cooking, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, one egg, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Blend well.
- Once cooled, place 1-2tbsp of cheese mixture on bottom end of eggplant slices. Roll from the bottom, securing closed with a toothpick as in photo.
- Whisk the remaining egg, and place breadcrumbs in separate a low dish. Coat roll-ups with egg, allowing excess to drip off. Coat in breadcrumbs, and allow to sit for a few moments.
- Warm coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Brown roll-ups, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place in a baking dish close together.
- Top with marinara sauce, extra mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.