I can’t take credit for this recipe, even though I did modify it slightly. I had this at my neighbor’s house once (Terri Mason) and I thought it was SO fantastic. I think I may have eaten 6 of them..I kept asking for more! Even people who don’t like eggplant (or don’t think they do) have been converted to eating this. I made it yesterday as an appetizer to take to another neighbor’s house for Football Sunday and I am pretty sure there was only 1 or 2 left. It does take about 45 minutes to put it all together, but it’s definitely worth it.
- 1 or 2 large eggplants depending how many rolls you want to make (I used 2 and it made approx 25)
- 3 large tomatoes (3 for 2 eggplant, 2 for 1 eggplant)
- 1 small jar of pesto. In the summer when I have mint and basil in my garden I make my own (recipe to follow if you want to do that)
- 1 small jar of marinara sauce (I recommend Victoria’s if you don’t have any of your own homemade on hand)
- 1 small bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil for brushing the eggplant
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper (I always use a grinder for sea salt, never right from the container because you can easily over salt that way).
- Cut the top and bottom off the eggplant and cut it into very thin slices as you see here:
- Lay them all flat on a large cutting board, lightly brush with olive oil, and add salt & pepper to each one. I had to do this in 2 separate batches since I had so many. At this point turn on your grill and let it heat up for a few minutes.
- Spray the grill with non stick spray. Lay each piece of eggplant on the grill using tongs (med-high heat) with the evoo/s&p side down. Since they are so thin they only take about 3 minutes. I only grilled 1 side and that was the side I used on the outside of the rollup. Don’t walk away from them, they will burn easily if you don’t pay attention. Use tongs to pick one up and see how floppy it is (yes, very technical term). They should have a nice grill mark on them and be pliable enough to be rolled.
- Take them inside and let them cool for a few minutes. When cooled, brush them lightly with pesto:
- Slice your tomatoes VERY thin – the rollups won’t work if overstuffed. You need a very sharp knife for this. Put 1 slice of tomato on each piece of eggplant (not all my slices came out perfectly and that’s fine):
- Now for a tester!! I rolled one up and ate it just like that – it was awesome! So start at the bottom and slowly roll it up using your fingers to keep the tomato inside and centered. If the roll doesn’t work, just unroll and try again!
- After you roll each one, place them in your baking dish with the seam side down:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350. Using a spoon, pour marinara sauce on each one, then some shredded mozzarella, and bake for about 25 minutes! YUM!
I believe Terri had also put ricotta cheese on the inside of the rollup. One of these days I plan to be unhealthy and try the fried version because as delicious as this is, the fried one is even better!! 🙂
If you’d like to make your own mint basil pesto, it’s super easy. In a food processor or blender add:
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 1 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Pulse until well blended (you can also add pine nuts or pistachios if you wish, about 1/4 cup). Now taste it and see if you need more s&p. Now add 3 TBSP olive oil to this and pulse again. I don’t like mine very oily, so you can keep adding a TBSP of oil at a time until you get to your desired consistency. I have stored this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.