|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This recipe for deliciously grilled eggplant slices rolled and stuffed with a savory spinach and feta cheese filling, which is then baked in a flavorful tomato sauce, make this Greek recipe a hit with everyone—vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. These eggplant rolls can be a great meatless entrée or a tasty side dish to your favorite meal.
- For the Eggplant:
- 4 pounds eggplant (unpeeled and thinly sliced lengthwise)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for brushing)
- For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- For the Filling:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pound chopped fresh spinach
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
- 2 cups soft myzithra cheese
- 2 tablespoons kefalotyri cheese (grated)
- Optional: 2 roasted red peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
Generously salt the eggplant slices and place them in a colander for 30 minutes to sweat. The salt will draw out the water and will temper the bitterness of the eggplant.
Prepare the Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the parsley, oregano, tomato puree, sugar, and water and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.
Prepare the Filling
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Saute the onion until it's translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and spinach and saute for approximately 5 minutes or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
Combine feta, myzithra, grated Kefalotyri, diced red pepper (if using), and the lightly beaten egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Depending on how salty your feta is, you may want to add a little more salt and pepper.
Fold the cooled spinach into the cheese mixture and mix well. Chill the filling in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the dish.
Assemble the Rolls
Rinse the eggplant slices and pat them dry. Brush them lightly with olive oil and grill them over medium-high heat, turning once, for about 5 minutes per side.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9x12-inch roasting pan or baking dish. Place a heaping spoonful of spinach stuffing at the widest end of the eggplant. Roll up the stuffing in the eggplant slice and place in the baking dish seam-side down.
Spoon a generous amount of tomato sauce on each roll and bake for about 45 minutes or until the ingredients are heated through. (You can sprinkle some additional feta cheese on top before baking if desired.)
Tips and Variations
You can save yourself a step by using your favorite brand of jarred pasta sauce instead of making your own sauce if you're pressed for time.
You can use frozen spinach if you can't find it fresh. Just thaw and drain well.
Ricotta cheese can substitute for the myzithra in a pinch.
You can substitute grated Parmesan for the kefalotyri if you can't find this Greek cheese in your market.