These little Italian delights were fun to make and absolutely delicious! They would be a great dinner party choice as you can make them ahead so you can just pop them into the oven when guests arrive. They bake themselves so you can enjoy visiting with guests. They have a rich, creamy, cheesy lasagna-like flavor with a little spinach thrown in for some added nutrition. I served this with a lovely green salad and two filled us right up! Vegetarians can leave the meat out entirely and this is still a delicious dish. 🙂 Suitable for all phases of Atkins and other Keto diets. Paleo followers will need to leave the cheeses out.
1 medium (12 oz) eggplant
¼ c. olive oil
3 links Italian sausage, casings removed (4″ links)
3/4 c. Classico Spaghetti Sauce with Basil (or other low-carb sauce)
1 oz. baby spinach leaves
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Roma tomato, sliced into 8 thin slices
1/4 tsp. crushed dried basil leaves
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375º. Cut the stem and bottom bits off the eggplant and slice lengthwise into 8 long 1/4″ slices. Brush both sides with the olive oil and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Pop into hot oven and bake 10-15 minutes. Turn and bake on the other side for 15 minutes. You’re not looking for brown here, just softened (partially cooked). 🙂 Remove and cool for handling. Lower oven to 350º. Spoon 4 T. of the spaghetti sauce onto a ceramic baking dish and spread thinly to prevent sticking.
While the eggplant is baking, remove casings from sausage and using your hands as with meatloaf, mix the meat up into a single log. Divide the log into 8 equal portions and shape into smaller thumb-size logs. Lightly brown them in a skillet and then remove from heat. When eggplant has cooled enough to handle, place a log of sausage, 1 T. cream cheese, 4-5 baby spinach leaves, a tiny bit of the Mozzarella (about 2 tsp.) on one end of each eggplant slice. Carefully roll them as tightly as you can and place seam down into the baking dish. Spoon the remaining spaghetti sauce evenly over the tops of the rolls. There won’t be much sauce, but these are so rich, you won’t need any more! Sprinkle the Parmesan over the tops of the rolls. Next sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Slice the tomato into 8 thin slices and place one on each roll and dust with the dried basil leaves.
Cover with foil and bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and baked about 15-20 minutes more or until bubbly and cheese appears to be all melted on top. Dip up with a spatula so as to get the sauce off the bottom of the pan with each serving. Serve with a nice green salad and ENJOY!
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 8 rollatini, each contains:
280 cals. 23.3 g fat, 5.97 g carbs, 2.0 g fiber, 3.97 g NET CARBS, 12.5 g protein, 465 mg sodium