Eggplant Rollatini

Focused on eating healthy these days? If you’re looking for some new healthy dinner ideas, why not give this Eggplant Rollatini recipe a try? It’s not only healthy, but it’s vegetarian as well, and eggplant alone has so much nutritional value to offer. The best part of all is this dish is full of flavour. If you love lasagna recipes, pasta recipes, and rolled pasta filled with sumptuous ricotta cheese, then you will simply adore this vegetarian rollatini recipe.

Eggplant, otherwise known as “aubergine” in Britain, and “brinjal” in South Asia, is from the nightshade family, and so it’s closely related to potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. It’s a tropical perennial plant that can grow up to 59 inches tall; it tends to have a spiny stem and whitish-purple flowers. The eggplant fruit grows in a similar fashion to tomatoes, hanging from its vine-like stem until it is ripe enough to harvest. The fruit is egg-shaped when it first begins to form, and is often white in colour, darkening as it grows until it becomes a deep purple. Although we are able to buy eggplant fruits all year long, they are mainly in season from August to October, and this is when they taste their best. Eggplant started out growing wild in Asia, and it was the Chinese who first cultivated the plant in the 5th century B.C. It was first introduced to Italy in the 14th century, and is now often associated with this country because it’s a key ingredient to so many Italian dishes. As popular as it is in Europe today, eggplant was not very well received at first. It was considered to be more of a decorative landscaping plant than a delicious, nutritious type of food because, at this time, the fruit was still quite bitter tasting. Because of its unpleasant taste and its close association to the nightshade family, it was often looked upon with suspicion and even blamed for causing serious illnesses like leprosy, insanity, and cancer. It took a few more centuries for dedicated gardeners to develop a much more palatable form of eggplant fruit, that with a far sweeter flavour. Today, it is a very celebrated ingredient both in the Middle East and Europe - not only in Italian cuisine, but Greek, Turkish, and French as well.

As far as the nutritional value of eggplant is concerned, one cup of cubed eggplant is very high in dietary fibre, as well as high in manganese, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin B6. In addition, recent studies on eggplant are showing that its thick purple skin contains something called nasunin, an anthocyanin phytonutrient with potent antioxidant properties that is showing a keen ability to protect the cell membrane from damage. Only time will tell for sure, but it can’t hurt to consume eggplant skin along with the eggplant in some recipes, especially in salads. If you are to do so, however, please ensure that you are purchasing organic eggplants for optimum health benefits.

This awesome, yummy eggplant rollatini recipe comes from the “12 Tomatoes” website, where they specialize in simple recipes that are big on flavour. Here, you can find an abundance of Italian meal recipes like this one, as well as tons more healthy recipes, vegetarian recipes, eggplant recipes, entrée recipes, dinner recipes, and delicious potluck recipes. Did we mention this eggplant pasta recipe can be a fun recipe for kids? You can find more healthy meals kids will eat over at 12 Tomatoes.*

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