This baked eggplant rollatini is easy to make and deliciously comforting. You won’t be able to resist the ricotta and basil-stuffed eggplant rolls!
Think of eggplant rollatini as a mix of eggplant parmesan and eggplant lasagna. You’ll find the cheesy, herby, and tomato sauce-covered bites from these classics, but all rolled up in slices of baked eggplant.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly dinner or a new weeknight staple, baked eggplant rollatini is the right answer!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Super cheesy. You’ll find not one, but two kinds of cheese stuffed in the eggplant rolls.
- Baked, not fried. Each bite is packed with flavor but doesn’t feel heavy thanks to the lack of excess oil.
- Gluten free and vegetarian. This recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, making it perfect for dinner parties and get-togethers!
What I love most about this recipe is how similar it is to many other easy-to-love comfort foods, like lasagna, cannelloni, and eggplant parmesan. The whole family is sure to love this one!
Eggplant rollatini vs. eggplant parmesan
There are a lot of similarities between these two dishes, from the eggplant to the tomato sauce to the cheese. However, the main differences revolve around the assembly and cooking methods of each:
- Eggplant parmesan is made with breaded and fried eggplant before it’s layered with marinara sauce and mozzarella.
- In eggplant rollatini, baked eggplant slabs are rolled and stuffed with a savory ricotta filling before being covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella.
Both dishes are baked in the oven until soft, tender, and cheesy. Eggplant parm is rich and comforting while rollatini remains light and full of Italian flavors.
This recipe calls for simple ingredients that are similar to a traditional lasagna. I recommend using store-bought tomato sauce and ricotta to get this recipe on the table faster. Here is what you’ll need:
- Eggplant. Sliced, salted, and baked.
- Olive oil – A must before roasting eggplant. It provides fat and flavor to the typically bland vegetable.
To make the ricotta filling:
- Ricotta cheese – Try to find a low-moisture ricotta. The last thing you want is watery cheese!
- Parmesan cheese – For salty, extra cheesy bites.
- Egg – An egg will bind the cheesy filling together, preventing it from seeping out the sides of the eggplant while baking.
- Garlic – Fresh cloves are best.
- Basil – Fresh, preferably.
- Salt and pepper – For flavor.
To assemble the eggplant rolls:
- Tomato sauce – Use your favorite jarred tomato or marinara sauce, or make your own using my easy Low Calorie Pasta Sauce recipe.
- Mozzarella cheese – It’s shredded and sprinkled on top of the assembled rolls.
- Parmesan cheese – Because why only add one type of cheese on top when you can have two?
- Fresh basil leaves – The flecks of green on top make the finished dish pop.
How to make eggplant rollatini
This easy eggplant rollatini comes together in no time. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1 – Prepare the eggplant
Cut the eggplants lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt and set them aside. Salting the eggplant about 30 minutes ahead of baking will help it release excess moisture and tame its naturally bitter flavor.
Next, transfer the rinsed and dried eggplant slices to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over top and bake in the oven until soft.
Set it aside to cool while you work on the rest.
Step 3 – Make the filling
Stir the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper together in a mixing bowl until it’s combined.
Step 4 – Assemble the eggplant rolls
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
Add a small spoonful of the cheesy ricotta filling near the end of an eggplant slice. Roll it up tightly and place it in the dish. Repeat until you run out of eggplant/ricotta.
Spoon the rest of the tomato sauce over the eggplant rolls. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan.
Step 5 – Bake
Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven. After about 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake again until the cheese is melted and gooey.
Garnish with fresh basil if you want, then scoop and enjoy!
Tips to make the best recipe
- Don’t skip salting the eggplant. This process draws out excess moisture, helping you avoid watery eggplant rollatini!
- Save time by making the ricotta filling and baked eggplant 1 or 2 days ahead of time. Keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge until it’s time to assemble the recipe.
- Don’t use pre-shredded mozzarella or parmesan. They’re packaged with additives and anti-caking agents that prevent them from melting and stretching as nicely as the cheese you shred yourself.
- Both whole milk (full fat) and skim milk ricotta can be used in this recipe. I recommend using whole milk ricotta because it’s rich in flavor and extra creamy.
- Use noodles instead of eggplant. To make lasagna roll-ups instead, swap the eggplant for cooked lasagna noodles.
- Use zucchini instead of eggplant. Make this recipe with baked zucchini if you have an abundance in your garden during late summer.
- Add spinach to the filling. Fresh or frozen spinach will give the filling more body and nutrition.
- To store: The baked or unbaked rollatini will keep well in an airtight container or covered baking dish for up to 5 days in the fridge. Bake it directly from the fridge when it’s time to eat.
- To freeze: Either assemble the rollatini in the dish before freezing or bake it as normal, then freeze once it’s cool.
- To make ahead: You can assemble the rollatini in the baking dish and keep it covered in the fridge up to 1 day ahead of baking.
- Reheating: It’s best to reheat the eggplant rolls in a 350ºF oven until they’re warmed through. Reheat in a covered baking dish, then remove the foil during the last 5 to 10 minutes to get the cheese nice and bubbly again.
More vegetarian dinner recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
I don’t recommend it. Frying sliced eggplant can involve flouring the pieces, then frying in excess oil. The eggplant won’t be as pliable for rolling and all of that oil will make the dish heavier.
Absolutely. Prepare and assemble the rollatini as directed. Then, instead of baking, keep the baking dish covered and store it in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge before baking as normal.
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- 1 large eggplant
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese divided
- 1 large egg
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons basil chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Slice the eggplants into 1⁄4-inch slices and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let it sit for several minutes to release extra moisture.
- Line a large pan with parchment paper and spread the eggplant on it. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, fresh basil, salt, and pepper.
- Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Add a thin layer of tomato sauce. To a single slice of eggplant, add a small spoonful of the cheese mixture to one side of it and roll it up tightly. Repeat the process until all the eggplant is rolled up.
- Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the eggplant rolls and top with mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes, before removing the foil and cooking uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden.
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