Whenever I’ve been away from the blog for a while, I have a hard time writing the “comeback” post. This is my way of telling you that I’ve been away for most of this summer. Because I’m quite sure that you’ve been way too busy enjoying your summer (or whatever season it is where you are) to notice. My head’s not THAT big. ? Anyhoo, I am back and I’m super excited about it! Hope you’re ready for lots of recipes, because I can’t seem to stop the ideas from flowing – it’s like Niagara Recipes up in here.
Right now it’s prime time zucchini season, and wow do I have a great way to make summer squash sing! Roll it up with a basil-studded vegan spinach ricotta filling and layer it on a bed of protein-packed marinara sauce – summer on a plate! Let’s get started, shall we?
First, let’s discuss how to slice the zucchini so that it can be easily rolled. You could try your hand with a knife, but, let’s be honest, that’s just a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen. My vote? A mandoline slicer. I tried using my trusty Y-peeler, and it totally worked, but only if the zucchini width was narrower than the the peeler blade (read: not that wide). So…while I’m not big on gadgets, I do totally recommend this mandoline, for the following reasons:
5 Reasons Why You Need a Swissmar Borner V-Slicer Plus Mandoline
1. It literally makes julienned fries.
2. You can shred a head of cabbage in seconds.
3. You can get perfectly sliced veggies prepped for stir fry and salads in minutes.
4. Grilled potato nachos. They’re coming.
5. And, of course, get perfectly thin and even slices of zucchini to make…zucchini roll-ups. Imagine that.
Ok, so your zucchini are all sliced up, but there’s a problem. Those zucchini are chock full of water, and that water is going to make your roll-ups all…wet. And the solution is – salt! Sprinkling some salt over the slices and letting them hang out over some kind of a straining implement (colander, baking sheet, etc.) will draw out a bunch of excess moisture and also make the slices more pliable/easy to roll. Oh, yeah, and they’ll be seasoned, too. Problem solved!
Let’s talk filling. This is a good one, folks.
Remember the vegan calzones? No? Ok, well, make those next. You’re going to discover the deliciousness that is Vegan Spinach Ricotta, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to eat it with everything. So go ahead and get enough ingredients to make a triple batch. Trust me.
I wish I could explain to you how good this is. It’s savory, salty, lip-smacking, herbacious, fresh, light, and rich, all at once. You are seriously going to want to find me and hug me once you’ve tried it. My friend Erin’s son is tofu-averse, and when he tried this ricotta we did NOT tell him it had tofu in it, and he couldn’t stop eating it. It was also a huge hit recently as a layer in an epic vegan lasagna (COMING SOON), loved by picky eaters and human vacuum cleaners alike. In a word, it’s goodlicious (as one of my nephews would say).
Ok, you’ve got your zucchini slices and your filling, so let’s get rolling!
On a clean kitchen towel, lay out your zucchini slices. Spread a generous tablespoon of filling on each slice, then roll it on up. Repeat until all of the filling has been used up or you run out of zucchini slices, whichever comes first.
Now just nestle those green spirals of goodness into your marinara sauce of choice (this one, or that one, or this one here), and bake it all up at 350F for about 15 minutes. Just long enough to take the raw edge off the zucchini and warm everything through.
And that, my friends is a wrap. I mean, a roll. It’s time for bed. See you on the flippity-flip!
Protein-Packed Zucchini Roll-Ups with Marinara Sauce
- 2-3 medium zucchini (sliced thinly lengthwise (a mandoline is the perfect tool for this))
- 1 cup raw cashews or raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 12 ounce package firm or extra-firm tofu (drained)
- 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach (or 1 cup frozen spinach)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves*
- 2 cloves of garlic**
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon light miso (white (yellow, or chickpea))
- 2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional (but recommended))
- 2-3 cups of Protein-Packed Marinara Sauce or your favorite sauce (such as this, or that)
- Lay out zucchini slices on a cooling rack over a baking sheet, or in a large colander over a bowl (or in the sink). Salt the slices liberally and set aside for 20 minutes. The salt will draw out moisture from the slices and make them much easier to roll up.
- In the meantime, make the filling.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the cashews, miso, salt, and nutritional yeast until very finely ground but not completely pureed.
- Add in the tofu, spinach, basil, and garlic, and pulse until fully combined and the mixture is homogenized (no large pieces or tofu or spinach visible).
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Drain off any excess water from the zucchini and lay the slices out on a clean kitchen towel.
- Spread about 1 tablespoon of filling on each slice and roll up.
- Pour marinara sauce into a 2-quart casserole dish (8x8 baking pan or similar), and add the roll-ups in a single layer, spiral side facing up.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until warmed through.