This recipe is another example of just how good leftovers can be. You can transform the things you have in your refrigerator and pantry, the little bits and pieces that remained behind, into something new and interesting.
I had purchased beets from the farmers’ market and wanted to do something different with the leaves than the usual saute with olive oil and garlic. As much as I like that particular dish, I think I’ve O.D.d on it. So I started thinking about other ways of using them.
I also happened to have leftover roasted eggplant slices and some millet in the pantry. After some thought I came up with this recipe: beet green rolls stuffed with millet and eggplant. Millet is the perfect grain for stuffing because it’s sticky and you won’t have little individual grains skittering across your plate. It will hold everything together. It’s also gluten free, so those of you with (or who have loved ones with) Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, this is a great recipe for you. Further, beet greens are loaded with iron, vitamin C, beta carotene, and antioxidants.
Since I will assume that you don’t just happen to have roasted eggplant slices already in the fridge, or perhaps not even millet in your pantry (even if you do, I doubt you’d have both at the same time), I’ve written this recipe so that you can start from scratch. Btu it’s a very easy recipe—you can even make the eggplant a few days in advance so that you can just jump right into this recipe.
This is the perfect autumn/winter dish—hearty, delicious, and great to bring to gatherings. You can serve it as an appetizer, a main course, or side dish. Enjoy!
Beet Green Rolls Stuffed with Millet and Eggplant
½ cup olive oil, plus extra
1 medium Italian eggplant
¾ cup millet
Greens from 1 bunch beets
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. If you’re using foil, grease it with some of the olive oil.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices lengthwise and lay them on the baking sheet (use more than one baking sheet if you have to). Set aside 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and use the rest to brush both sides of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning over once, until browned on both sides, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Chop up the eggplant finely and measure out 2 cups. Reserve the rest for another recipe.Meanwhile, place the millet in a small saucepan with 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.If the water hasn’t been all absorbed, drain the millet in a mesh strainer. If it needs to cook some more, you can add a little more water and continue simmering.Transfer the millet to a bowl. Add the eggplant, parmesan, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper; mix well.Place the beet greens in a large bowl of water and wash the greens in several changes of water.
Pick out the largest, nicest leaves (you’ll need about 14) and place them on a kitchen towel to dry.Cut off the stems of the leaves. You may need to cut out a little bit of the ribs a the bottom if you find the leaves difficult to roll. Place 1/4 cup of the filling—less, if the leaf is smaller–at the base of a leaf and roll the leaf up. (It’s okay if the leaf tears a bit or the rib pokes through—you’re not making rolls that people will eat with their hand. These are fork rolls!)
Place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining leaves. Pack the rolls close together. Gently brush olive oil over them.Cover tightly with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Transfer them to a serving platter, sprinkle more parmesan over the top, then drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.Serve hot or at room temperature.