Grilled Eggplant Cannelloni with Feta Spinach Filling and Tomato Cream Sauce (Vegan + GF)

Eggplant Canneloni

The photos do not do this justice! This recipe was a challenge to capture in photos.

The flavours in this are so perfectly combined! I’m pretty proud of this one ;)

The quick vegan feta cheese is so delicious with sautéed onions and wilted spinach.

Then we wrap that in flavourful grilled eggplant, which I admit I was snacking on just on its own – and I didn’t even think I liked eggplant!

Topped with a tomato cream sauce that you won’t believe is made from real tomatoes (not a can! not a paste! not a jar!).

Ash loved this recipe so much (he’s been begging me to make it again), and he swears he doesn’t like eggplant!

I feel like this should be served at a very fancy vegan restaurant.

Eggplant Canneloni

This works as an appetizer at a fancy dinner party, or as a main. It will serve two people, but if your serving it as a main make something to go with it, maybe some chipswedges, baked or steamed veggies or a caesar salad.

If your really hungry, or want leftovers then double the recipe.

This is a really good recipe to have someone else help you with. One can grill the eggplants while the other can do the tomato cream sauce and feta spinach filling – it makes it a lot quicker. We have a tiny grill pan so it takes a while to grill the eggplant for us, so I asked Ash to grill the eggplant while I assembled the sauce and feta cheese – great job for a guy ;). You could also use a normal pan or bake the eggplant, but the grilling adds a really delicious flavour to it.

You can also make the tomato cream sauce and feta spinach filling ahead of time, up to a day ahead would be fine which makes the assembly so much quicker.

Grilled Eggplant Cannelloni with Feta Spinach Filling and Tomato Cream Sauce (Vegan + GF)
 
Not only does this recipe sound fancy, it tastes fancy too. Delicious eggplant replaces pasta and provides an amazing and smokey flavour to this fresh dish.
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • 2 medium eggplants (the bigger the eggplants, the better – but you will end up with less rolls)
Feta Spinach Filling:
Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce:
Method:
  1. Slice the eggplant into ⅛” / 3-4mm slices. If they are too thin, they will break and be hard to roll – too thick and they won’t cook through properly.
  2. Sprinkle each slice with salt on both sides. Let the slices sit for up to an hour, if you only have 5 minutes thats fine too.
To make the Tomato Cream Sauce:
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Sauté the garlic for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the garlic and tomatoes to a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix), add the coconut cream and blend until smooth.
To make the Feta Spinach Filling:
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. While this cooks I like to blend up the almond feta (see step 5 below), but keep an eye on the onion you don’t want it to burn.
  3. When the onion is translucent, add the spinach. If the spinach pieces are bigger, tear the spinach roughly. Cook the spinach until it changes color, reduces in size greatly and is wilted.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. (If using macadamias or cashews skip to step 9, if using almonds, do the following steps)
  6. Boil a kettle of water.
  7. Rinse the soaked almonds and place into clean bowl. Pour the water of the almonds and let that sit for 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse almonds with cool water.
  8. One almond at a time, slip the skin off between your fingers and catch the almond with the other hand.
  9. In a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) combine the almonds (or other nut), water, lemon juice and salt and blend until smooth, using the tamper stick as needed.
  10. Transfer the mix to a bowl and mix in the sautéed onion and spinach and the chopped parsley.
To grill the eggplant:
  1. Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush the slice with olive oil or coconut oil on one side, add to the grill pan and then brush the other side.
  3. Cook until you have grill marks and it looks cooked, about 6-8 minutes each side.
To assemble:
  1. Lay the eggplant slice, take a spoonful of the feta mixture and drop on the center of the eggplant. Roll the eggplant slice, and top with tomato cream sauce.

 

 

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11 comments on “Grilled Eggplant Cannelloni with Feta Spinach Filling and Tomato Cream Sauce (Vegan + GF)

  1. Oh my goodness! first the Eggplant Lasagna and now this! Just brilliant!! Your culinary ideas, Shae, whether just pondering on them or actually partaking of them, are mouth-watering dee.lish.ous. A great talent you have there, to be sure.

    Eggplant is one of those veggies that has (for me) always been a stumper; what to do with it without being repetitive or redundant. Well now, I am definitely going to put this one on the menu — I already know it’s going to be a major hit at the dinner table.

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

    • Hi Demitra, I’m so glad you love this idea, and thank you for the lovely comments!! I know, I have always been the same way with eggplant until recently. It’s definitely a one of those veggies that it’s really important to cook right or its just bleh. Let me know how you go with the recipe! :)

      • Well, I was about to make my first attempt at this recipe over the weekend but discovered too late that I had selected an eggplant that was not wide enough to roll up into cannelloni. Out of habit I forgot about the need for a wider sized eggplant, and as you well know I could not wrap much of anything up in them if they weren’t large enough. So I just ended up layering a pan with all the goodies and baked it lasagna style again. I don’t quite understand why, but somehow the ‘feta’ cheese blend that I made actually firmed up in the layers in a way that it’s never done before. Not for me, anyway. It really was like biting into chunks of cheese. I can just imagine how well that cheese inside the grilled cannelloni slices would have held together had I actually been able to follow the recipe exactly. I’ll do better next time. ;-) Still, in terms of flavor and deliciousness factor, this turned out to be an excellent meal. The spinach and onion layer along with the eggplant slices and ‘feta’ all worked very well together. Will drop you a line when I finally succeed in getting this recipe to look like the one you made.

        Thanks!

        • Haha, thats too funny Demitra! I do that ALL the time, go to make a recipe and then realise I’m missing ingredients! I thought it was just me. At least you found a clever way to make it work, I’m so glad you loved the taste still! :)

    • Hi, theres no actual feta in this recipe, but feta made from blending almonds. Check out the Feta Spinach ingredients & instructions above, it explains the process. Hope that helps :)

  2. I want to make this recipe it sounds tasty. I have a couple questions: 1. Is coconut cream and coconut milk the same? 2. What nut did you use for the filling? Thank you

    • Hi Debbie, yes we call it coconut cream here but I believe its called full fat coconut milk in the US. And I used almonds, but macadamias and cashews will work very well too. Hope that helps :)

  3. Well, I have to say this was one of the best meals I have made in a while! I have been looking for something different for a while and this hit the spot, and impressed the omni family. Did not change a thing except I added some savoury yeast flakes to the sauce for a cheesy flavour. Love love love.

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