Nevermind we’re barely into June, I am just jumping on the summer train and I am planning to stay on it for as looooong as possible! Be prepared to see a lot of tomatoes, basil, corn, peaches, summer squash, blueberries, and melon in the near future. That’s all I want to eat between now and October.
I don’t know about you, but I have to think hard about recipes that will appeal to everyone in my family or a group of my friends. Mostly I have the plant-based crew, low-carb folks, and the paleo peeps to appease and when they all sit around the table together, it requires some thinking!
Zucchini rollatini have been a total hit with ALL my friends and my family. It’s like a little bite-size lasagna made from zucchini. You can serve them as a hors d’oeuvre with toothpicks or small skewers or as a main dish or side dish. I love them room temp as much as I enjoy them hot. You can use jarred tomato sauce in a pinch if you don’t want to saute fresh tomatoes (although I like the latter better.)
The hardest part of this recipe is slicing and roasting all the zucchini. You can even do that part a couple days in advance. I used vegan ricotta here but feel free to use dairy ricotta if you prefer. And if you really love cheese, add some shredded mozzarella to the filling and on top.
The sauteed cherry tomato base is one of my go-to toppings for a million things, like basic proteins to roasted cauliflower steaks to pasta and spaghetti squash to toast. It’s always good and truly goes with everything. You can always add to it as you like – anchovies, capers, sauteed mushrooms, more crushed red pepper, etc.
Both components can be made separately a day or two ahead and then brought together and baked until everything is heated through. This would be great with polenta, perhaps with fresh corn stirred through, or pasta with pesto, or a simple piece of grilled fish with lemon and herbs. How good does that sound???
Happy beginning of summer! If you make this recipe or any of my recipes, please tag me on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman!
You can shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:
- 4 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, trimmed, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices (you’ll probably get 6-8 slices per zucchini)
- ¼ cup unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil + extra for brushing zucchini
- ½ teaspoon sea salt + additional for the sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 ½ pounds cherry tomatoes, about 2 pints, stemmed and halved
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces Kite hill almond milk ricotta cheese or regular ricotta*
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Place zucchini slices on the sheet pan, making sure not to overlap them. Brush each slice with a thin coat of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until zucchini is soft, but not falling apart.
- Prepare the cherry tomato sauce: heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium low heat. Add the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until fragrant. When the garlic just starts to turn golden around the edges, increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes plus 2 big pinches of salt and pepper to taste. Cook tomatoes, stirring often until they start to lose their shape, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and remove from heat. Tear or slice basil leaves and stir into tomato mixture.
- Transfer the sauce to an 8 x 8 baking dish, a 9-inch pie plate or if you used an oven-proof skillet, leave the sauce in there.
- When the zucchini is cool enough to handle, spread about 1 Tablespoon of ricotta cheese evenly along each slice.
- Roll the slices and arrange them each seam side down in the prepared baking dish or oven-proof skillet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until rolls are heated through.
8 ounces cauliflower florets, cut into ½ -inch pieces (2 ¼ cups) or cauliflower rice
1 ½ cups raw cashews, chopped
2 ¼ teaspoons sea salt, divided
To make the ricotta: Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add cauliflower florets, cashews, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes. If using 8 ounces of cauliflower rice, add after 10 minutes (halfway through). Drain cauliflower mixture in colander and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Process cauliflower mixture, 3 Tablespoons olive oil and ¼ cup water in a clean food processor fitted with the metal blade until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mixture will be slightly grainy. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste.