I came across a recipe from Giada deLaurentiis (she of Food Network fame) for Lasagna Rolls. I immediately thought, “yummm!” I wanted to try to make my own version of the recipe incorporating some roasted eggplant – one of my favorite vegetables. I just think that eggplant is an over-looked vegetable at times because it still looks foreign with it's dark purple color. Color aside, I think it's a versatile ingredient and takes on a world of flavor!
This recipe takes some patience because there’s a lot of different components to the dish - so make sure you set aside an hour or two to do this recipe justice (no 30-minute meals here), but the ooooh’s and ahhhh’s that you get when you serve the dish will be totally worth your time and effort!
1 jar of home-made easy marinara sauce (recipe below)
1 box of whole wheat lasagna noodles
2 medium eggplants
2 cups of kale, de-stemmed and sliced thinly
1 cup of white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of sliced onions
12-16 cloves of garlic (you can never have enough roasted garlic)
1 16ounce container of light ricotta cheese
1 16 ounce container of mascarpone cheese
½1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
3 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper (to taste)
red chili flakes
1. Bring a pot of water (6-8 cups) to a boil. Drop in the lasagna noodles and set the timer for 7 minutes to cook it al dente. Once the noodles are done, drain the water and set aside. Make sure that the large pasta noodles are not stuck together.
2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant in about 1/2 inch thick slices crosswise. Toss the eggplant and the garlic cloves in olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and 1 tsp of dried thyme. Put the eggplant and the garlic in a baking dish and set the oven timer for 20 minutes. Once the eggplant and garlic are roasted, take it out of the oven and set aside.
3. While the pan with the eggplant and garlic are in the oven, heat your skillet and add a tsp of olive oil to sauté the sliced onions, mushrooms, and kale. Add a tsp of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Once the onions, mushrooms, and kale have cooked through, set it aside in a bowl.
4. Mix the ricotta and mascarpone cheese in a bowl and set it aside once the two cheeses are thoroughly combined.
5. On a chopping board, lay out your lasagna noodles in a row. Take 2 heaping tablespoons of the cheese mixture and spread it on the surface of the noodles. Next take 2 tablespoons of the onion, kale, and mushroom and layer it on top of the cheese. Finally, take a couple of cloves of garlic and a couple of slices of eggplant and layer it on top of the onion, kale, and mushroom.
7. Take a deep baking pan and coat the bottom and the sides with olive oil. Pour a half cup of the marinara sauce so that it coats the bottom of the baking pan. Line the rolled lasagna pieces into the pan. Drizzle the rest of the marinara sauce on top of the rolled lasagna, add the chili flakes, and top with mozzarella cheese.
8. Bake it in the oven for 10-12 minutes on 400 degrees.
9. Serve the rolled lasagna while it’s still hot and the cheese is still warm and goooey. Enjoy!
Recipe Extra: Homemade Marinara Sauce
1 large can of stewed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1/3 cup of water
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup sliced basil
1 tsp of agave nectar
1 tsp of olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a saucepan, brown the minced garlic in the olive oil.
2. Add the can of stewed tomatoes, water, and tomato paste.
3. Add all the spices, including the basil, thyme, and oregano, and bring the sauce to a boil.
4. When the sauce starts to bubble, add the agave nectar and the salt and pepper to taste.
5. Keep the sauce in a tightly-sealed mason jar until ready to use. This marinara sauce can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for later use.