DDD Ep. #112 – Vegan Spinach-Stuffed Eggplant Rollatini with Homemade Arrabiata Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

This is a really easy, 5-minute pasta sauce.  It is fairly spicy so cut back on the crushed red pepper if you are sensitive to heat.  Canned tomatoes are not desirable – even BAD – (read why you should avoid canned tomatoes & seven other foods HERE) – but they are sometimes the only affordable (and super convenient) option. .

Fresh herbs will also improve this sauce measurably but – in a pinch –  they are absolutely not REQUIRED to make this sauce tasty.

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Five (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 27 oz carton tomato sauce
Garlic to taste
1 tsp each of crushed red pepper, oregano, pepper & sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh thyme (optional)
Fresh basil – chopped (optional)
Fresh parsley – chopped (optional)
Fresh oregano – chopped (optional)
1 TBS olive oil
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DIRECTIONS
Heat the olive oil. I sautéed maybe 10 tiny garlic cloves whole. If giant chunks of garlic offend you or yours, you might want to crush them a bit with the side of a knife or press them through a garlic press or chop them fine. Just do not burn the garlic and burning is easier – the smaller you chop the cloves. With whole cloves – I sautéed a minute before adding the spices. If you chopped the garlic – add it and the spices at once.After about a minute of both the garlic and all other spices sautéing – add the tomato sauce. Be careful as it will sputter and splatter you when it hits the hot oil.
A few minutes in – I used a slotted spoon to fish out the garlic cloves & put them through a garlic press but this is not totally necessary.Heat over med-low heat until ready to use. Add chopped fresh basil/parsley at the very end – if you are using fresh herbs.

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Eggplant is an odd thing.  Some of my favorite dishes are made of eggplant – most markedly my nearly guiltless Indian Baingan Bharta & one of the most popular recipes of this blog’s history, my Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant – both seen just below.

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But if it is cut into slices or cubes that are too large & then under-cooked – it can have an icky texture & an icky flavor.  Lots of people categorically reject it because the first time they tried it – it was yucky.  But it is so versatile & can take on so many flavors so well.  I love it & I feel certain I could convert more than a few haters – if I served them the right dish.

THIS dish might just be that dish – assuming they do not also hate spinach.   The eggplant is very subtle & melts in your mouth.  This could be customized a zillion ways.  There are no rules.  Just make a little mash of some flavors you like & roll’em up & bake them – and voila!  Yes – there are a few steps but none are difficult & the result is delightful.  A tad hard to photograph but really delicious.

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Oh!  I got this new little garlic press at Bed Bath & Beyond for (I think) under ten dollars & I am kind of in love with it.  There are to ways to go with this – sliced or minced (there is a second blade tucked into the base) & all you do is press the garlic through & it creates a little drawer of crushed garlic for you.  Se easy & easy to clean & no garlic fingers!

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Easy Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach 

Should feed 4

INGREDIENTS

2 medium eggplant – tops removed & sliced 1/4 inch thick (thick makes assembly harder)

1 lb fresh spinach (or 8 oz frozen or other spinach – thawed)

3-4  cups (28 0z or so) – marinara (your favorite brand or homemade or the one I  post below) or my 5-minute spicy arrabiata 

Handful vegan Parmesan

1/2 cup vegan ricotta

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

4 oz vegan mozzarella

S&P

Olive oil

More vegan mozzarella to melt on top – to taste

Parchment paper (if possible but not imperative)

Foil

Garnish: more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil

 

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the eggplant & try to cut them evenly 1/4 inch thick.  I used a mandolin.  Lay the slices on paper towels & sprinkle with salt.  Flip & salt the other side (lightly – so they won’t be overpowered by salt).  Salting the eggplant helps release excess moisture & can temper any bitterness.  Let them sit for about ten minutes.

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Steam the fresh spinach by simply boiling a tiny bit of water to a very large stock pot & adding the spinach.  Cover the pan.  It should wilt in less than a minute (this works to thaw frozen spinach, too, though it might take longer).  Strain into a colander & run cold water on it.  Squeeze out as much water as you can & chop the spinach.

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Put the spinach, parsley, & your Parmesan & ricotta & mozzarella cheese in a large bowl & blend.  Add some S&P.

 

Pat the eggplant slices dry & sprinkle with ground pepper.  Place them on a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper (or foil treated with cooking spray – because you do not want these guys sticking).  Bake about ten minutes.

Layer some sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan.  Spread about 2 TBS of the filling on each of the eggplant slices.  If you have extra – spread it around.  Carefully roll those guys up & place them in the pan, seam side down.

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Layer some more sauce on top & then sprinkle with mozzarella.  Cover tightly with foil & bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven & uncover & let rest a good 5-10 minutes before cutting in.  Serve with more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil and copious red wine.  See?  You like eggplant!

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DDD #111 – The Ivy Copycat Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

The Ivy Copycat Grilled Vegetable Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

serves 2 as an entree

INGREDIENTS

for the dressing

Juice of 1-2 limes

match the lime juice with an equal part of olive oil so it is 50/50.

Add about 1 TBS each of balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar) and agave

Season to taste with S&P.

Combine & taste.  Tweak to suite your palate.

for the salad

Your choice of greens – or a mixture (arugula, romaine, butter lettuce, watercress, field greens – your call)

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

2 ears fresh corn – in the husks

1 bunch asparagus – tough bottoms trimmed

1 red bell pepper – seeded

1/2 cucumber – diced

1 handful cherry tomatoes – haved

3-4 radishes – chopped

1/4 small red onion – diced

1 avocado – chopped

OPTONAL  – chopped herbs (basil or cilantro), protein (chickpeas, black beans, vegan chicken or any other protein you desire)

DIRECTIONS

Make the dressing while the veggies are grilling.

Slice the zucchini & squash in 1/4 inch thick slices & grill until softened & there are grill marks – turning a few times.  Do the same with the red pepper & asparagus.  Set aside.  Grill the corn in the husks until blackened on the outside.  Cool & throw the husks away then cut the corn from the cobs.

Now – just assemble the salad the way you would any other.  If there are going to be leftover veggies – do not dress them.  They will stay fresher in the fridge undressed.

Serve & enjoy!!!

 

DDD #110 – Jackfruit Company Teriyaki Jackfruit Review

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the review.

 

DDD #107 – Herbivorous Butcher No Box Unboxing & a Vegan Cheese & Deli Meat Review

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image below to watch the video.


 

 

 

 

DDD #105 – Herbivorous Butcher Unboxing & Review

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch as I unpack a bunch of Herbivorous Butcher items & review them. Also – meet BRUCE – my newest foster – rescued from the South Korean dog meat trade.

 

DDD #97 – REVIEW! Miyoko, Punk Rawk, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheeses

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the review.

 

DDD #96 – Vegan Parsley Herbed Potato Gnocchi

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image about to watch the gnocchi video.

OK – spicy marinara is really arrabbiata – I know.  And I have posted many versions of simple pasta sauce before but I am just gonna go ahead and post another here.  Pasta sauce is so easy – there is no excuse to buy bullshit jarred sauce at a far greater price.   HERE is one you can make in the time it takes your pasta to cook.  But – in a pinch – your favorite jarred sauce will do.

I used some wrinkly sad cherry tomatoes in my sauce.  Every time I consider whether produce is still edible, I think of the Diary of Anne Frank.  They lived on sub-par or rotting produce.  For years.  So, I am usually guilted into finding a way to use the questionable items.

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Gnocchi are remarkably easy to make, too.  Once the potatoes are baked – it can all come together pretty quickly & so incredibly delightfully.  This recipe should feed 4 pretty easily but if you want to save a bunch for the future – simply put uncooked gnocchi on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Put the sheet in the freezer & once the gnocchi are frozen, put them into sandwich bags in the freezer.  When you want to eat them – boil them frozen or they will get gooey.

In the past, I have made these with eggs but this recipe is vegan & they came out SO LIGHT & PILLOWY!   I will never use eggs in gnocchi again.  I had to subsidize my Russet potato quotient with some random yellow potato.  It didn’t hurt anything.  But try to use Russet because of the starch & moisture factors.

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Vegan Parsley Herbed Gnocchi with a Spicy Basil Marinara

INGREDIENTS

for the gnocchi

3 lbs Russet potatoes

1 TBS olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 1/2 cups (plus more) flour

S&P to taste

for the spicy basil marinara

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 28 oz crushed tomatoes

30 grape or cherry tomatoes – quartered

1 TBS olive oil

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 cup chopped basil

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper – optional

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

for the spicy basil marinara

Heat the olive oil over medium heat & saute the garlic for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomato paste & fry another minute or so.  Add the crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes & basil & about 1 cup of water.  Add the crushed red pepper – if using.

Simmer covered on low for the hour it takes to bake the potatoes.

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for the parsley herbed gnocchi

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake the potatoes (directly on the rack) for an hour or until soft.

Halve the potatoes & let cool a bit & then peel them.  If you have a ricer – rice the potatoes.  Otherwise – mash’m up good with a potato masher.

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Mash in the olive oil, parsley & some S&P.  By hand, incorporate the flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get a dough that you can handle without it being too sticky.  Depending on the sort of potatoes you used & their moisture – this might take more or less flour.

Roll out chunks of the dough into snakes less than an inch thick & cut into gnocchi.

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You can leave them like that or roll them on a fork or a gnocchi board to get little grooves on them.

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I like the little gnocchi board so that is what I used.  They are super cheap – if you decide to buy one – like maybe $5.

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Now – you can either freeze a bunch as I explained above or get to cooking them up.  I let mine sit out an hour or so.  It didn’t harm them.

Boil some salted water & when it is rolling – add the gnocchi.  They are done when they float & stay at the top.  Scoop out with a slotted spoon & serve with the marinara & more basil.  Add some cheese or vegan cheese – if you desire.  YUM!

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Oh – and remember to buy my book!  IT IS HILARIOUS!  www.BathingBook.com

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