Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato-Stuff Eggplant Rollups

Eggplant roll-ups

Finally, I am back in the kitchen.  It felt so good to cook my own meal after a couple weeks of letting Mom and the Monkey Scientist cook for me.  They both make slam dunk dinners, but I just love the act of cooking - there's something about slicing veggies at the end of the day that I truly enjoy.


The Monkey Scientist had a great idea this week.  Instead of waiting until January to start resolutions, we're going to have some Fall resolutions.  Mainly, this involves eating healthier and exercising more.  I think this is great - I was so good in the first quarter of the year of following my resolutions (blog more, eat better, run a 5K) but I've let a lot of it slip.  This will be a great pick-me-up going into the often unhealthy holiday season.

spraying eggplant to grill

For me, eating healthier is going to be a lot about eating with the Monkey Scientist without eating as much as him. I've mentioned before that a home-cooked meal lasted me a week before I met him, as I'd eat a little and have leftovers all week.  Now, it lasts that night.  My rule is to try to let him eat 2/3 of what I make - we'll see how it goes.  Also, just making some healthier foods!

Roasted red pepper

This recipe came from the Weight Watchers' New Complete Cookbook, which a friend recently borrowed from the library and let me make a couple photocopies out of it.  It's a super easy cookbook, and it's all available on Google Books, so I recommend checking it out.  I plan to make a few more recipes from it in the coming weeks.  It has loads of options for Meatless Mondays - like this one!

Stuffing for Eggplant roll-ups

Weight Watchers designed this recipe to make 4 servings, and 1 serving has only 95 calories and 5 g fat (my adjustments only related to spices, so this should still be about right), so even if I ate almost 2 servings that's a pretty light dinner.  (Complete nutrition facts are available in the cookbook, see link in the recipe). The eggplant is meaty and filling so I wasn't left hungry or missing meat.  I served it up with some seasoned brown rice (made in the rice cooker - getting way better at using it!) which is healthier than pasta or white rice.

grilling eggplant

Of course, I kicked up the spice.  Feel free to leave out the cayenne and red pepper flakes if that scares you. I had a little bit of a portion issue on the stuffing - my tomato was too small and my onion was a little too big, so I'd adjust that next time.  I'd also probably roast the tomato and onion along with the red pepper.  I'm just not a huge fan of raw onion.  I found rolling the eggplant to be pretty difficult and it didn't come out quite as pretty as I would have liked.

Eggplant roll-ups

Still we liked this recipe.  I liked the small amount of goat cheese instead of loading it with ricotta.  All the veggies made it pretty hearty and I enjoyed the kick from the cayenne and red pepper flakes.  The Monkey Scientist said he didn't know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised (he might not have used exactly those words).  Overall, a nice, easy, healthy dinner.

Eggplant roll-ups

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato-Stuffed Eggplant Rollups
adjusted from Weight Watchers' New Complete Cookbook

1/4 c crumbled soft goat cheese
1 large plum tomato, chopped (optional - roasted)
1 chopped roasted red pepper
1 small onion, chopped (optional - roasted)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (1-lb) eggplant, cut lengthwise into 8 slices
Olive Oil non-stick spray (I used Pam)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

1. Stir together goat cheese, tomato, roasted red pepper, onion, oregano, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, & cayenne in a medium bowl.
2. Spray Forman grill with olive oil nonstick spray and preheat.  Lightly spray eggplant slices with nonstick spray and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Place eggplant on Forman grill and grill until well marked and tender, about 3 minutes. (note: only the bottom got marks on my Forman, but it should be ok!).  Transfer to plate; let cool.
3. To assemble rollups, spoon about 2 tbsp of tomato/onion/red peper mixture on wider end of each slice of eggplant.  Rollup tightly and place, seam side down, on platter (use a toothpick if needed).  (At this point, if you want you can roast in a 450 degree oven for 20 min or so). Drizzle oil over rollups and sprinkle with mint.

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