I tend to get my fresh vegetables on Tuesday, so by the time Sunday rolls around, I’m down a lot of produce. I wanted to make something yummy for dinner, but the only fresh veggie I had was an eggplant. My husband has undertaken a massive pantry operation (we have synched eLists and everything now), so I knew I had lasagna noodles, canned tomatoes, and pine nuts in with our non-perishables.
I’ve been wanting to play around with the idea of rolled lasagna for a while. It’s fun, easy, and not as messy to serve. I’ve found that vegan lasagna falls apart even more readily than its dairy counterpart since it doesn’t have solidifying cheese to keep it together. Rolled lasagna holds its shape marvelously and it’s attractive. It’s also a great way to make smaller portions of lasagna, if you don’t want a huge casserole dish full of it.
I baked mine in gratin dishes (you know me and individually portioned food). You can just as easily bake this in one large dish; there shouldn’t be a difference. You can also fill them with whatever you like. I think sundried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers… any of those would be a fabulous addition. I’ll add some possible variations to the recipe below.
Eggplant and Pine Nut Rolled Lasagna
Serves 4 (easily adapted)
8 Lasagna Noodles
2+ Cups Marinara Sauce (your favorite)
2 Slices Bread, toasted (or prepared breadcrumbs)
Pine Nut Spread
1 Cup Pine Nuts
1 Tbs Water
1/2 tsp White Wine Vinegar, or lemon juice
1 tsp Dried Italian Herbs
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt
Add 1/3 Cup of Sun Dried tomatoes to pine nut spread
Add 1 Cup of sauteed spinach when filling
Add fresh baby spinach leaves when filling
Add 1 Cup of sauteed mushrooms when filling
Add strips of sauteed summer squash when filling
Peel eggplant. I find the easiest way to do this is to cut off both ends and use the edge provided to get your vegetable peeler started. I’ve found it difficult to get the peeler to cut the skin otherwise.
Place the eggplant upright on the cutting board. Slice the eggplant in long, thin vertical slices. Then slice each of these in half again, also vertically. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet, begin browning the eggplant strips in olive oil, 2-3 Tbs a batch (or more). When strips are very tender and nicely browned on both sides, set aside.
In the hot skillet you cooked the eggplant in, add the pine nuts. Toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat until golden brown, being careful not to burn. Add the pine nuts to the work bowl of a food processor. Grind the nuts as well as you can, then add the remaining ingredients for the pine nut spread. Process until well combined.
Toast the bread and process into breadcrumbs.
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Spread a little pine nut spread ontp each noodle. You don’t need a lot, it’s very rich! Add eggplant strips, as well as any other filling.
Roll up each noodle and place in your baking dish(es) seam-side down. Cover generously with sauce.
Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes. Since everything is already cooked, they just need to heat up and slightly brown. If you’re baking them in individual gratin dishes as shown here, place all the dishes on a baking sheet for easier removal from the oven. Serve immediately!