Eggplant Roulades are a great Sephardi dish.
Moroccans are big on eggplant, we just couldn’t be without our eggplant. We use it in endless variations, from dips to main course and everything in between. These eggplant roulades are fun and delicious, and a great choice for a vegetarian entree. The exact same dish can be presented as stuffed eggplant and other stuffed vegetables; I have included all variations in this post.
As always, I ignore the eggplant’s insatiable appetite for oil and skip the frying:
My fried eggplant slices are roasted!
I bake them just long enough to make them pliable and ready to roll! No problem making eggplant roulades with gluten-free bread crumbs.
These eggplant roulades reheat very well:
Place them in a 300°F oven for just a few minutes. Please scroll down for all variations.
- 2 medium eggplant, unpeeled, sliced evenly lengthwise ¼ inch thick, about 16 slices total
- Vegetable oil spray
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 small bunch flat parsley
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and grated (use a food processor)
- 1 large tomato, or 2 plum tomatoes, diced small (settle for 1 cup crushed canned tomatoes)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs, from any plain bread, gluten-free OK
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- Paprika for dusting the finished rolls
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with vegetable oil spray. Arrange the eggplant slices on top and spray again.
Bake about 20 minutes. Reserve the slices and leave the foil lining on the cookie sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
Meanwhile, make the stuffing: Heat the oil in a skillet. In a food processor, coarsely grind the onion, garlic, basil and parsley, and add to the hot oil. Sauté until translucent. Add the grated eggplant, tomato and wine, and cook until most liquid evaporates. Add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper and oregano, and combine.
Place a little filling in the center of an eggplant slice, and close the flaps toward the center. You will get a neat roll. Place the roll seam side down on the same cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining slices and filling. Dust the finished rolls with paprika for a nice color. Bake 20 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.
Variations: Play with the mother recipe above, and take it places.
Meat or Fish Stuffing: Substitute 1 1/4 pounds ground fish or meat for the grated eggplant and the breadcrumbs (just to be clear: no grated eggplant, no bread crumbs), and proceed as above.
Rice Stuffing: Substitute 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown) for the bread crumbs, and proceed as above.
Stuffed Mushrooms: Select large mushrooms, and finely chop the stems, using them instead of the grated eggplant in the filling. Fill the caps generously (no need to roast them first), packing the stuffing in, and bake just as above.
Zucchini Roulades: Proceed just as above, substituting large sliced zucchini for the sliced eggplant. Substitute 1 large unpeeled grated zucchini for the grated eggplant in the filling.
Stuffed Onions: Pick small, but not tiny onions (bigger cipollini will be perfect), cut off the tops, and scoop out the insides, leaving the two outer layers intact. Mince the scooped onion flesh (in this case do not add the eggplant or zucchini listed in the ingredients) and proceed as above.
Stuffed Eggplant and Zucchini, Whole or Halves. If you get your hands on small eggplant or zucchini, scoop them out carefully so as not to tear the shells (use an apple corer), mince the scooped inside (in this case do not add the eggplant or zucchini listed in the ingredients) and proceed as above. Fill the cavities with the stuffing, no need to roast the scooped eggplant or zucchini first. Same for Stuffed Peppers or Stuffed Tomatoes.
A Sephardi touch: Play with Sephardi flavorings. Skip the basil, wine and oregano, and add minced cilantro, ground cinnamon, lemon zest, pinch cayenne, a handful raisins, a handful toasted pine nuts, etc...
More Saucy: Proceed as above, pouring 2 cups tomato sauce over the stuffed vegetables before baking. Serve the baked vegetables with the sauce on top. Serve with rice or other grain, mashed potatoes, or root vegetable puree.