Aubergine ricotta and spinach rolls in a tomato sauce recipe

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni is a classic dish, but it can feel heavy. We’ve put a lighter, wellbeing twist on this family favourite, replacing the pasta tubes for aubergine. Complete with a rich tomato sauce and a dusting of hard cheese, it’s one that’s sure to go down a treat. Dive into our aubergine spinach and ricotta rolls for a dinner that will satisfy all!

Aubergine is one of our wellbeing heroes and is teeming with healthy benefits. Its purple skin is full of antioxidants. These powerful molecules help to remove damaging free radicals that accumulate in the body as a by-product of metabolism. Aubergines are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6, and potassium. Potassium is one of the most important minerals in our body. We need it for the normal functioning of our cells – it even plays a role in regulating our heartbeat and supporting our muscles and nerves.

Serve our aubergine spinach and ricotta rolls with a side of crunchy salad, drizzled with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. A truly delicious and nutritious dinner!

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Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 aubergines, cut lengthways into 1cm slices (8 full slices)
  • 160g spinach
  • 250g ricotta
  • Generous grating of nutmeg
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Small handful of grated Parmesan (or vegetarian hard cheese)
  • 2 Romaine heart lettuces, roughly chopped
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Add the chopped onion to a large non-stick pan with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and soft. This will take around 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further three minutes.
  2. Pour the chopped tomatoes into the same pan, alongside the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the aubergine slices onto a griddle pan and griddle on a high heat with the remaining olive oil. Griddle for approximately two minutes per side until browned with griddle marks. Set aside the slices.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Wilt the spinach by stir frying in a pan with a drop of oil. Once cooked, squeeze out the excess liquid. Finely chop the spinach and leave to cool.
  5. Place the ricotta in a large mixing bowl and add the wilted spinach, nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir to combine and season generously with black pepper.
  6. Spread the tomato sauce along the base of a large baking dish.
  7. To assemble the aubergine rolls, add a generous tablespoon of the ricotta filling into the centre of each aubergine slice. Gently fold over to make a parcel and lay each parcel sealed-side-down in the same ovenproof dish.
  8. Top with a small handful of Parmesan, or hard cheese. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Toss the lettuce with the remaining lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve alongside the aubergine rolls once cooked.