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.
Raw cashews (or raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option)
Firm or extra firm tofu
Fresh (or frozen) Basil
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.
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I am making this tomorrow night! Perfect timing, my CSA provided a good amount of zucchini and basil! Can’t wait
Woo hoo!!! Can’t wait to hear how you like it, Liz. 🙂
Wow, this filling sounds so good! I use zucchini to make rollups with hummus and raw veggies, but haven’t tried it like this. Excited to try the filling!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed says
These are beautiful, so fresh and delicious!
Nicole Taggart says
that filling! OMG love it
These look delicious and so summery! I keep letting my zucchinis get too big (with big seeds in the middle) need to harvest a few at the right size for this. 🙂
Stephanie Dreyer says
Wow! This looks delicious. Do you serve it as a snack/appetizer or meal? Can’t wait to try it!
Hi Stephanie! Yikes, I just realized I never responded to your question! I serve it as either a snack or a meal, depending on how much I make and how many mouths I have to feed. 🙂 Works well for either!
MMMMMM! Beth, you are amazing! I’m a non-vegan, (sorry, still not ready to part with dairy), but my son and his beloved are full-on, so I needed a few great recipes for his b-day. Your vegan ricotta is truly lip smackingly good, and I’m getting ready to put together your best damned vegan lasagna as I type this. thanks so much for your blogs bc now my daughter has jumped ship to the vegan ways… Have to laugh when it was so challenging to feed them cauliflower as kiddos…
Wow! This is such a beautiful dish! I’m glad tofu is in it, I’m looking for more ways to make tofu delicious. I’ll let you know what I think when I try it. 🙂 ♥
Hi Orri! Looking forward to hearing what you think. 🙂 I’m all about making tofu delicious – have you seen my easy tofu bacon recipe? 🙂
I just finished eating this. First try. It was delicious! My meat eating family even liked it. With only one or two meat jokes! This will definitely be a regular in the vegan rotation! ????
Ha ha, only one or two meat jokes. 🙂 I’m so glad that it went over well with everyone! That’s my goal with these recipes, so to hear this makes me very happy. 🙂
Pam Albright says
This is so amazing! Full of wonderful flavor! I’ve searched hundreds of vegan recipes since going vegan almost a year ago and this one satisfies the most – really!! – It’s comfort food at its best, and you wouldn’t even know it’s vegan! I added more basil the second time I made it because we are pesto lovers and left out the salt because my husband and I are watching our salt intake and it’s wonderful without added salt.
Cynthia L Erbentraut says
This recipe is awesome. It can be used in many different ways. I have one question; Can it be frozen?