For today’s cook day, I found inspiration from a recipe I found on Paleo Leap for Eggplant Cannelloni. When I was a teenager, Olive Garden had a Cannelloni Al Forno dish that was to die for. My mom and I ordered it regularly and were heartbroken when it disappeared from their menu.
Thanks to the Internet, I have a recipe for it that is a dead-ringer for the original. But it’s VERY complicated and time-consuming, so I typically only make it once a year for my mom’s birthday.
Well, today I decided to try to make a paleo version using the eggplant pasta idea, and it turned out really well. I did, however, use some Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, so I guess this is better termed a “Primal” Cannelloni.
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced carrot
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, divided
- 1 lb ground veal or beef
- 1 lb ground Italian style sausage
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups beef broth
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp tapioca flour
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise
- No added sugar pasta sauce (This is what I used)
- 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- In a large, deep saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and saute onion, celery and carrot until soft
- Add 2 cloves garlic, cook 1 minute
- Add beef, pork and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned
- Add wine (if using) and reduce for 1 minute.
- Stir in broth, add herbs, bay leaf, salt & pepper. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes
- Uncover, reduce until almost dry. Discard bay leaf. Set aside to cool
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan set over moderately low heat. Add remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute)
- Whisk tapioca flour into coconut milk, and pour in with butter mixture.
- Once coconut milk starts to bubble on the edges, add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted
- Add parsley and nutmeg and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine cooled meat, egg yolks and cheese sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
- Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil and lay out sliced eggplant.
- Coat each eggplant slice with remaining olive oil (I used a silicone brush)
- Roast eggplant for 10 minutes and let cool for 5.
- Cover bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two. This recipe makes a lot of meat.) with 1/4 inch of pasta sauce
- Pour meat mixture into a food processor and run on low for 30 sec to a minute, just to get the meat to crumble down into smaller pieces and blend in the veggies.
- Place as large spoonful of the meat mixture at the edge of each slice of eggplant and roll the eggplant around the meat. Place rolled eggplant in dish with seam-side down
- Cover eggplant rolls with remaining pasta sauce
- Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese
- Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes or until cheese is brown and melted.