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Eggplant Involtini

Eggplant Involtini from Emeril Lagasse's Sizzling Skillets

I’m not a huge eggplant fan. I’ll eat it, but I’ve never gotten excited about it. I do love Italian food, however, and I don’t get much of that these days. Emeril Lagasse has given me a gift in the form of a low-carb dish I can make when I’m craving Italian food. Slices of eggplant substitute for noodles, but all of the traditional flavors of pasta are there – tomatoes, cheese, basil and oregano. Eggplant Involtini from Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders is very filling without being heavy. And you won’t need a nap an hour after eating it.

The Italian word “involtini” translates to “rolls.” An involtini recipe involves bundling something up inside something else (creating a roulade of sorts). You might take some veal, pound it thinly and spread on a mixture of cheese, prosciutto and Italian herbs. Perhaps you’d prefer some ricotta and tomatoes inside roasted red bell peppers? For Emeril’s recipe, you broil thick slices of eggplant until they’re soft. Then you combine mozzarella, bread crumbs, balsamic vinegar, pine nuts, herbs and tomatoes, roll it up inside the eggplant and bake it until the cheese is melted and gooey. Delicious!

Eggplant Involtini from Emeril Lagasse's Sizzling SkilletsEmeril’s recipe calls for a pound of fresh whole-milk mozzarella. I used half whole-milk and half part-skim mozzarella to reduce some of the fat content. There are a few things other I’ll do differently when I make this recipe again:

  • My eggplant slices were too thick. I think mine were about 3/4″ thick instead of the 1/2″ Emeril recommends. I didn’t plan to do this, it just worked out that way. My slices didn’t get as soft as they should have under the broiler and were hard to roll.
  • I’ll cube the mozzarella I put inside the rolls, but I’ll sprinkle some shredded cheese on top to get a more even distribution.
  • I’d look for some more interesting types of eggplant from the farmers’ market.

This dish is great either as a meatless entrée (2-3 rolls per person) or as a hot appetizer (1 roll per person). Leftovers reheat well.

Cooking with Emeril has really pointed out that I need to invest in some prettier casserole dishes!

All nutritional information provided below was calculated by Diabetic Foodie using the tools on the nutritiondata.com website.

Original Recipe – Eggplant Involtini, which is a good source of Manganese, is an example of how even a vegetarian recipe can be high in saturated fat.
Makes 6 servings
Per serving (Emeril’s original recipe): 524 calories, 39g fat (13g sat), 59mg cholesterol, 673mg sodium, 26g carb, 11g fiber, 11g sugar, 21g protein

Suggested Modifications – Simply reducing the serving size will cut back on the amount of calories and saturated fat in this dish.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving (reduced serving size only): 393 calories, 30g fat (10g sat), 44mg cholesterol, 505mg sodium, 20g carb, 8g fiber, 8g sugar, 16g protein

Since most of the saturated fat in this dish comes from the whole-milk mozzarella cheese, you could use half part-skim mozzarella.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving (reduced serving size and half part-skim mozzarella): 380 calories, 28g fat (9g sat), 40mg cholesterol, 502mg sodium, 20g carb, 8g fiber, 8g sugar, 17g protein

If that’s still too much saturated fat for your meal plan, use all part-skim mozzarella. You will lose some of the “mouthfeel,” but it will eliminate additional saturated fat.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving (reduced serving size and all part-skim mozzarella): 367 calories, 26g fat (8g sat), 36mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium, 20g carb, 8g fiber, 8g sugar, 17g protein

 


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Disclosure: For my participation in the One-Pot Blogger Cooking Party, I received a copy of Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders, a set of Emeril – by zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls and a jar of Emeril’s Original Essence. Upon successful completion of the party, I will receive a $50 grocery reimbursement and additional cookbooks by Emeril Lagasse. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will also be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker.
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