Eggplant Rollatini Quinoa Casserole
Cheese cheese and more cheese. I know that it’s summer and maybe you’re trying to only eat salads and all that jazz. But I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to wait until the fall to share this eggplant rollatini quinoa casserole with you. There are plenty of veggies inside and fresh herbs – so that counts as summer food right? I’m going with it.
So while this may not exactly be the prettiest looking dish in the world, it makes up for it in taste. I was trying for eggplant rollatini but without the bother of having to actually roll them up. And I think I nailed it, if I do say so myself. All the flavors are there and you get the added nutritious goodness of quinoa. And … And! This dish is way easier to put together. Quinoa for the win!
Funny that I should say that because as of a few months ago I wouldn’t touch quinoa with a ten-foot pole. What can I say, I can be a fairly stubborn person?
But anywho, the whole idea for this casserole came after I made this cheesy chicken enchilada quinoa bake from Nicole over at Cooking for Keeps (so good – do yourself a favor and make it). We are all very aware that I love love love enchiladas and am always looking for ways to work them into my weekly meal plans. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. And you don’t even want to know about all the other recipes I’ve made. So many enchiladas.
I figure though that I should at least attempt to branch out every now and then. Hence this casserole. Eggplant rollatini is totally different right!? So proud of myself.
You get tender roasted eggplant, along with the classic ricotta / spinach rollatini filling, plenty of your favorite marinara sauce and lots of mozzarella and fresh parsley to finish it off. All combined into one simple quinoa bake.
Healthier comfort food at its finest. Errr, I mean summer food at its finest?
- 1 cup uncooked tri-colored quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (10 ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 ¼ cups your favorite marinara sauce
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Add the quinoa and vegetable broth to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, give it a stir, cover, then reduce the heat to medium-low / low and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let the pan sit covered for 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the eggplant to a rimmed baking sheet and add in the olive oil, salt and garlic. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender. Remove from the oven and transfer to the bowl with the quinoa. Maintain the oven temperature. To the same bowl, add in the spinach, marinara sauce and ½ cup of the mozzarella. Gently mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a square baking dish (mine is 9x9) and spread evenly in the pan. Drop on dollops of the ricotta and then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, turn on the broiler and cook for 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly on top. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
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