Back when I was still in my first few months of eating WFPB and not really making “difficult” recipes yet, my awesome mom invited me to a tea party at her house and treated me with these eggplant rollups she found from Vegan Runner Eats. Fair warning: they take awhile to make. There are multiple steps involved. I tried, in the directions below, to “layer” the steps to reduce the time it takes to make them as much as I can. The rollups mostly taste like the potato stuffing. Unless I cut the eggplant slices very thick, I don’t really taste much of the eggplant outside of its texture. If you like the eggplant taste and texture, you’ll want to cut thicker slices than the directions call for. I’m not a huge eggplant fan so I try to cut them as thin as I can manage without ruining the rollups. For how long it takes and how involved it is to make them, you don’t get a whole lot. It would probably be best to double the batch so you have plenty to eat and lots of leftovers, for how long it takes to make them. The original recipe says it takes about an hour to make, but I think it was closer to an hour and a half or longer for me. The more you make these the easier and faster it gets. It’s a lot of multi-tasking but, like anything, it gets faster as you learn the process.
Servings: roughly 6-8 rolls, depending on the size of your eggplant, about enough for 2 adults? you’ll probably want to make a side salad with this
- 1 large eggplant or two small-mediumish eggplants
- 1 cup marinara sauce [I use Muir Glen portabello mushroom marinara]
- 2-3 medium potatoes cut into ½-1″ cubes (about 1½ cups worth) [I used yukon gold potatoes but whatever works fine]
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ yellow or orange bell pepper sliced into 1″-long strips
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbs. oregano
- ½ tbs. thyme
- ¼ tbs. sage
- ½ tbs. paprika
- 2 tbs. nutritional yeast
- salt & pepper to taste [don’t leave these out!]
Slice the eggplant lengthwise into about ¼”-thick slices. Sprinkle sea salt on both sides and put the slices into a bowl of water. Let the slices sit in the water for 15-20 minutes (it takes out the bitterness). Turn the oven on to 400° to bake the eggplant when it’s done soaking.
I used a cup to hold the eggplants underwater…I didn’t know eggplant floats. I guess that makes sense. After 15-20 minutes, no matter where you are in the directions below, you need to get the eggplant on a baking sheet and in the oven to keep the process moving along and not extend the time to make these things. I explain the process for baking the eggplant further down.
While waiting on the eggplant to soak, chop up the yellow potatoes and start steaming them (if you have a steamer) or boiling them on the stovetop until they are soft, about 15-20 minutes-ish. (It took me closer to 30 minutes.) You should be able to easily poke a fork into the potato pieces and squish them a bit.
Then chop up the onion and start sautéing them over medium heat.
Mince the garlic, slice the bell pepper, then add both to the onion mix. Let it cook together until the onions are mostly translucent and bell pepper is soft.
Add the rinsed/drained black beans and all spices except the nutritional yeast. Stir well and let the whole thing heat through.
If your cooking process went like mine, my eggplant was done soaking by this point and the potatoes still needed time to cook. So we’re going to leave the bean mix alone over very low heat and go back to the eggplant.
Your oven should be preheated by now. Use paper towels to pat some of the excess water off the eggplant slices. Arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then flip each side and bake for another 5 minutes (up to 10, but 5 should be enough). When the eggplant is done, set the baking tray aside and let them cool while we finish the bean mix. Reduce the oven heat to 375º
Back to the black bean mix…
Whenever the potatoes are done, dump them into the bean mix and smash the crap out of them. Mix it all up. Dump the nutritional yeast over it all and mix it up again. Taste test the mix. It is REALLY IMPORTANT that you taste test! If you aren’t in love with how it tastes, add salt and pepper until you like it more. The bean mix is almost all of the flavor and texture of this (except the eggplant texture…which will always be distinct), so if the stuffing isn’t flavorful enough, kick it up with salt and pepper. I think salt would do more for the mix than pepper, but add it to your own tastes.
At this point you should have mostly-cooled eggplant slices and a completed stuffing mix. Now we’re ready to start making the rollups.
Add 1-2 tbs. of marinara sauce to the bottom of a baking dish. I used a small glass one I had. I think it’s probably better not to have tons of space between them so the marinara can clump up better.
Hold a slice of the eggplant. Put a spoonful of stuffing on one end and roll the eggplant over it. The ends should barely touch. If they’re overlapping, you haven’t added enough stuffing. If the ends aren’t touching, you’ve added too much stuffing. Put your rollup in the baking dish with the seam facing down.
If you have stuffing leftover (like I always do) you probably didn’t pick a big enough eggplant. I didn’t think about it at the time I made these, but you could just smash the leftover stuffing over the top of the eggplant. These things are a little messy to eat anyway, so it wouldn’t hurt to smother the rest of the stuffing on the top. Do whatever you want. I eat the stuffing with a spoon as leftovers for lunch the next day!
Dump the marinara sauce over the top of the eggplant rollups and mush it around to cover them (but don’t squish it all down the sides, you want to keep the marinara on top).
Bake in the oven (which should have been set to 375° as per earlier instructions), uncovered, for 20 minutes. Once they’re done, let them sit and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Boiling marinara hurts.
The next time I made these I trimmed the skin off of the eggplant since I really don’t like that part and I layered the ingredients like a lasagna. It was much faster to assemble and there wasn’t any leftover filling. Cut and serve like lasagna. It freezes and reheats well to take to work for lunch. It also looks more appetizing than baked bloody pigs in a blanket.
I thought about removing the skin before slicing the eggplant but I wasn’t sure how the meat would hold up without it when I go to roll them. I can see how this recipe would work well as a lasagna. I will have to give that a try when I’m next in the mood to make this recipe again