Israeli-Style Eggplant Rolatini
By Lily Aronin
Eggplant is practically one of the national vegetables of Israel. Not only that, it is a great, filling meat substitute, which is perfect, as Israel has the highest percentage of vegetarians in a Western country. While we absolutely celebrate the standard Moroccan and Turkish eggplant and sabeich salads, the fried eggplants that decorate so many falafel, mousaka and other cultural dishes, you can also find it in some interesting modern fusion dishes between Israel and it fellow Mediterranean countries of Greece and Italy. One of my personal favorite Israel Italian fusions is Eggplant Rolatini. Here in Israel, we take our cottage cheese very seriously and this dish is a celebration of simple Israeli produce with a little Italian flare.
In order to lower the fat content, while keeping the rich flavor of the eggplant, I roasted the eggplant slices instead of frying them.
● 2 Eggplants
● 2 250ml containers of 5% Cottage Cheese
● 1 Egg
● Dried Oregano & Basil
● 1 Tbl Parmesan
● 1 lemon
● 1 Cup freshly grated 22% Israeli Yellow Cheese
● 4 cups of your favorite jarred or homemade marinara sauce
● Fresh Basil Leaves
1) Take a glass, rectangle 9 x 13 baking pan and add 2 cups of marinara sauce to the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C
2) Slice the eggplants lengthwise. Place them onto a lines cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 10-15 minutes until they begin to soften.
3) While the eggplant is baking, mix together the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, half teaspoon of oregano and basil and the zest of one lemon.
4) When the eggplant strips are out of the oven and cool enough to touch, spoon one spoonful of filling onto your eggplant strip and cover with one basil leaf and roll up the strip. Place into the pan with the marinara sauce. Repeat until all of the eggplant strips have been used.
5) Spoon the last 2 cups of the marinara sauce over the eggplant strips and sprinkle with the yellow cheese.
6) Bake covered for 40 minutes, making sure to tent the foil so it does not pick up all the cheese. After 40 minutes, uncover the dish and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
This dish is a fun way to celebrate Israeli produce and dairy products in a healthy, gluten free way, with a little Italian twist.