This eggplant rollatini recipe is a hearty Italian style dinner everyone will love! Bake the veggie stuffed with a three-cheese filling.
Here’s a delightful Italian eggplant dish that makes dinnertime more special: Eggplant Rollatini! It’s like a combination of eggplant Parmesan and lasagna roll ups. Tender strips of eggplant are wrapped around a creamy three-cheese filling, then baked in homemade tomato sauce and more cheese. They’re extremely satisfying and make for the best showstopping dinner! Here’s what you need to know about this classic Italian dinner recipe.
Ingredients in eggplant rollatini
Eggplant rollatini is an American name for an Italian dish of thinly sliced eggplant rolled around a filling and baked. It Italy it’s called involtini, or involtini di melanzane (involtini made of eggplant). The eggplant may be breaded or dusted in flour before rolling, or it may be rolled without breading.
This eggplant rollatini recipe has lightly broiled eggplant strips wrapped around a filling of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The rolls are baked in homemade tomato sauce and covered in more cheese, which makes a cozy, homey vegetarian dinner. It’s also a great gluten-free dinner alternative to lasagna rolls. The ingredients you’ll need are:
Fire roasted crushed tomatoes
Oregano, nutmeg and salt
Chopped parsley and/or fresh basil
It’s important to use best quality ingredients in this eggplant rollatini for the best results. We recommend making the homemade marinara using fire roasted canned tomatoes, but you can substitute jarred marinara if you like. Here are a few specific ingredient notes to keep in mind:
Use fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes for the sauce.
Or, use best quality jarred marinara. To save time for prep, you can use best quality jarred marinara sauce instead of making the homemade sauce. Keep in mind, the flavor is best following the recipe below!
Whole milk mozzarella cheese makes a difference. This type of cheese melts much better than part skim mozzarella, and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating.
How to make eggplant rollatini
Eggplant rollatini is simple to put together, but it does involve some time and effort. A tip: you might want to get the help of a partner to put this together! It’s much more fun and comes together quicker. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Slice the eggplant thinly, then broil it. Broiling the eggplant takes just 4 to 6 minutes for a tray, but you’ll need multiple batches to cook all 20 eggplant strips. You can also bake both trays at 425F for about 10 to 15 minutes until they are tender and nearly cooked through.
Make the homemade marinara sauce following the recipe below.
Mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread a bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Place 1 tablespoon of the filling on each eggplant slice, then roll it up. Gently roll it around the filling, then place it in the pan.
Top with more marinara sauce and cheese, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving, which helps the texture to firm up and any liquid to be absorbed.
Storage and make ahead tips
This eggplant rollatini recipe takes about 1 hour to make, so it’s best for dinner parties or weekends when you have a good amount of prep time. If you’d like to eat it on a weeknight, you can prep some of the components in advance to make for a simpler assembly. Here are a few make-ahead tips:
Cook the eggplant strips and make the tomato sauce and filling in advance. This saves about 30 to 40 minutes off in the timing of recipe. Refrigerate all three until ready to bake.
Leftovers store refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can make the entire dish in advance and refrigerate if you like. Leftovers tastes great after re-warming in a 375°F oven.
If desired, you can freeze leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. However, the eggplant can become more mushy after freezing, so we recommend eating it after refrigeration if possible.
More eggplant recipes
There are so many great ways to eat eggplant! Here are a few of our top eggplant recipes:
1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided, plus more for topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Fresh basil, to serve (optional
Slice the ends off eggplant, then slice it lengthwise into 3/8” thick planks (you’ll have about 20 total). Place them on a baking sheet, then brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place one sheet in the oven and broil 4 to 6 minutes until tender and mostly cooked through. Then broil in separate batches until all eggplant planks are cooked.*
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer until making the eggplant rolls.
In a medium bowl, mix the filling ingredients: the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, oregano, nutmeg, chopped parsley, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
Spread some of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon filling to one end of each eggplant slice and roll up. Place it in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with all eggplant slices. Top the rolled eggplant with a line of tomato sauce, then additional mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving (this helps the texture to set and extra moisture to be absorbed). Top with fresh basil or additional chopped fresh parsley.
*If you prefer, you can also bake the eggplant on two trays at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes until tender and mostly cooked through, checking the tenderness with a fork during the bake time.
**If desired, you can substitute 28-ounces high-quality jarred marinara to speed up prep time.