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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC


Eggplant Involtini 


Most eggplant involtini (or rollatini as they are often called in the U.S.) are stuffed with ricotta, loaded with oil, and baked in tomato sauce topped with mozzarella and parmesan. But here’s a high fiber, oil-free plant-based reimagining of the dish, every bit as elegant and delicious, but far healthier, more digestible, and kinder to our arteries and waistline.


I used eggplant, lined with summer squash for the rolls, lathering the layers with a tasty lacinato-garlic purée. The filling is a labneh, a rich, creamy soft cheese made here with strained cultured soy yogurt. The involtini are then baked in a chunky sweet pepper-basil sauce and topped with a creamy pepper rosé sauce.


Eggplant involtini are gorgeous as a starter or entree. Serve with thin slices of artisanal whole grain bread to mop up the tasty sauces. By the way, the three sauces used in this recipe are each terrific in its own right. Have fun using them also on pastas, potatoes, beans, and steamed vegetables.


Prep time 40 minutes to roast peppers and garlic + 1 hour

Bake time 30 minutes

Makes 9 to 11 involtini


Suggested Equipment

1½ foot square of unbleached muslin

A mandolin

A multi-tiered, flat-bottomed steamer

High-speed blender

Food processor


2½ cups unsweetened soy yogurt or other low-fat, unpasteurized plant-based yogurt, strained

7 red peppers, cut in quarters, deseeded, roasted

2 medium red onions, cut in medium dice

Up to ¼ cup no-sodium vegetable broth to deglaze pan

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves and stems

1 bunch lacinato kale, cut in chiffonade ribbons, steamed

½ head garlic, roasted and peeled

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 large Italian eggplant, cut in 3/8” slices, lightly steamed

1 medium-large zucchini, cut in 1/8” slices, lightly steamed

1 medium-large yellow squash, cut in 1/8” slices, lightly steamed

1 cup unsweetened soy milk


Grinds of black pepper

Grinds of white pepper

1/3 to 1/2 cup aka (red) miso paste or to taste

½ cup whole wheat or gluten-free breadcrumbs


To make the labneh yogurt cheese place the muslin flat into a bowl, with the edges draped outside the bowl. Spoon the yogurt on top and gather up the corners of the muslin to create a bag. Tie it up with a piece of string and either hang in over a bowl or the sink or in a strainer placed over a bowl, where it will gradually drain, ferment further, and thicken. Allow it to strain for about 3 hours at room temperature. The yogurt will develop into a spreadable, dense probiotic cheese with the consistency of cream cheese.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay the quartered red peppers on a large rimless cookie sheet lined with parchment. Peel off the loose papery skins of the garlic head and place it also on the sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until the peppers are soft and collapsing and tinged on their cut edges. Break off half the garlic head into cloves and peel them. Reserve the rest of the garlic for another dish. 


Heat a skillet over a medium flame for 2 minutes. Dry sauté the onions for a few minutes, stirring. They will release water and begin to caramelize and darken the pan. Deglaze the pan with just enough broth to scrape up the adhered sugars from the pan. Stir in the garlic and basil and cook for 2 minutes. Cool.


Add the roasted peppers and onion-garlic sauté to a food processor with ¼ to ½ cup of water. Run until you create a chunky, spreadable sauce. Season with grinds of black pepper and 2 to 3 teaspoons of miso. Taste to correct the seasonings.


Steam the kale until tender, about 10 minutes. Toss in a high-speed blender with the peeled roasted garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons of miso, and a few grinds of black pepper. Add just enough of the steaming water to facilitate blending and run on high for a minute. The puréed sauce should be smooth, dense, and spreadable. Taste to correct the seasonings.  

Using a mandolin, slice the eggplant lengthwise into 3/8” slices. Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into 1/8” slices. Steam them separately for 5 to 6 minutes, just until they become pliant and easy to roll up. Transfer immediately to plates and once cool, cover each with plastic wrap to stay moist.


To make the rosé sauce, transfer 1 cup of the cooked pepper sauce to a high-speed blender.  Add the soy milk, 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast, and 2 teaspoons of miso, and a grind or two of white pepper. Run on high to purée into a smooth, rich sauce. Taste to correct seasonings as you like.

Now let’s put it all together. In a deep metallic or ceramic covered casserole spoon in the remaining chunky pepper sauce.  Lay your first steamed eggplant slab on a cutting board. Spread on a coat of the green sauce.


Lay a zucchini and yellow squash slice on top of the sauced eggplant, side by side, trimming them if necessary to just cover the eggplant. Spread on another coat of the green sauce.


Spoon a small mound of labneh, about 2 teaspoons on one edge and gently roll up the eggplant. Transfer the involtino to rest on top of the chunky pepper sauce in the casserole. Repeat for the remaining slabs of eggplant, squashes, and labneh.


Pour the rosé sauce liberally over only the involtini, leaving the circle of chunky pepper sauce in the center of the pan untouched.  Sprinkle the involtini with breadcrumbs.


Bake in a preheated 375°F oven, covered, for 30 minutes. The involtini and sauces will swell in the pan and become melt-in-your-mouth tender and fragrant.  Serve hot out of the oven on heated plates, with a slice or two of a crusty artisanal whole grain bread.

Eggplant Involtini

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