In this eggplant rollatini recipe, bubbly marinara surrounds tender eggplant slices rolled around a rich ricotta filling. It's SO comforting and delicious!
Ok, saucy, cheesy comfort food fans – you’re going to love this eggplant rollatini recipe!
“Rollatini” is an Americanized version of the Italian word “involtini,” which describes small bundles of food made by rolling thin slices of meat or produce around a filling. In this eggplant rollatini recipe, I wrap delicate planks of roasted eggplant around a rich blend of lemon zest, pecorino, and ricotta cheese. I nestle the rolls in a dish of marinara sauce and bake until the filling is hot and the eggplant is tender.
The combination of flavors and textures is fantastic. The filling offers a bright, creamy contrast to the silky eggplant, and the marinara adds delicious tang. For a fresh finish and a welcome crunch, garnish it all with lots of basil and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Enjoy!
Eggplant Rollatini Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this eggplant rollatini recipe:
- Eggplant, of course! Look for two large globe eggplants at your farmers market or grocery store. When you slice them lengthwise, you want the planks to be large enough to wrap around a filling.
- Marinara sauce – Use store-bought (we like Rao’s!), or make your own. My homemade marinara and fresh tomato sauce would both be excellent here.
- Ricotta cheese – It creates the filling’s creamy base.
- Pecorino cheese – It adds savory, salty flavor to the ricotta mixture. Parmesan cheese would work well too!
- Lemon zest – For brightness.
- Garlic, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes – They add classic Italian flavors to the cheese filling.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It helps the eggplant soften and brown as it roasts in the oven.
- Fresh basil and pine nuts – For garnish.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
For a vegan alternative to the ricotta, check out the recipe card below. I’ve included my go-to recipe for a creamy plant-based “ricotta,” made from blended tofu and nutritional yeast. I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two versions. Both are delicious!
How to Make Eggplant Rollatini
The first step to making this eggplant rollatini recipe is preparing the eggplant.
Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks, and arrange them on a layer of paper towel or clean kitchen towels. Sprinkle them with salt and set them aside for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, pat the slices dry and arrange them on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Drizzle them generously with olive oil and roast at 425°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the slices are tender and golden brown. Make sure to flip the slices and rotate the pans halfway through.
While the eggplant roasts, mix up the ricotta filling.
Next, fill the roasted eggplant slices. When they’re cool enough to handle, place about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on the end of each slice. Roll to seal.
Finally, bake. Spread the marinara sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish, and add the eggplant bundles, seam side down. Cover the dish and bake until the eggplant is soft, about 20 minutes.
Serve with a shower of fresh basil and pine nuts for garnish. I also like to offer a salad on the side. This eggplant rollatini pairs perfectly with a homemade Caesar salad, Italian chopped salad, arugula salad, or simple green salad. Good bread or dinner rolls are also a great way to round out the meal.
Eggplant Rollatini Recipe Tips
- Salt the eggplant before you roast it. It takes an extra 20 minutes, I know, but it improves the eggplant’s flavor a ton. It also draws excess moisture out of the eggplant, which makes it more pliable, tender, and easy to roll.
- Don’t skimp on the oil. Raw eggplant acts like a sponge – it can soak up oil like nothing else can. As a result, you need to be fairly generous with the oil that you drizzle on the eggplant before you roast it. It’s crucial for helping the eggplant soften and brown as it bakes. With too little oil, the thin eggplant slices will dry out and maybe even burn in the oven.
- Stack the eggplant slices when they come out of the oven. Kind of a weird tip, I know, but stacking up the hot eggplant slices after their initial roast will help them steam and soften. This makes them easier to roll around the creamy filling.
More Favorite Eggplant Recipes
If you love this eggplant rollatini, try one of these fresh eggplant recipes next:
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Baba Ganoush
- Air Fryer Eggplant
- Oven Roasted Eggplant
- Grilled Eggplant
- Or any of these 12 Easy Eggplant Recipes!
- 2 large eggplants, sliced vertically into ¼-inch-thick planks
- Sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- Pine nuts, for sprinkling
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- 2 cups 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup grated pecorino cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Arrange the eggplant planks on a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes to draw moisture out of the eggplant.
- Pat the eggplant dry and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Drizzle generously with olive oil, toss to coat, and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheets. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender and golden brown, flipping the eggplant and rotating the pans halfway through.
- Meanwhile, make the filling*: In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, pecorino, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
- Assemble the rollatini. Spread the marinara sauce in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the filling onto the end of one of the roasted eggplant slices and roll to seal. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining filling and eggplant slices.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts and red pepper flakes, garnish with fresh basil, and serve.
- 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
I made this last night for a dinner party and it was a great success. I did not add garlic to the filling as I put extra cloves in the sauce. Definitely a recipe I will make again.
Hi Maribel, I’m so glad everyone loved it!
Can you make any part of this ahead? I’m planning to make this for our Italian themed Xmas this year. Would it taste similar if frozen? Probably not. I was going to just do the ricotta mix but it won’t save ME THAT much time. Might as well just make it.
Hi, You can make the ricotta mixture ahead of time, like you said, and you could salt and roast the eggplant slices ahead of time too. Store both in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake the rollatini. Hope this helps!
This was delicious! The ricotta mixture was difficult to not eat on its own too, added a full lemon worth of zest by accident, plus extra garlic and fresh thyme. The eggplant took quite a while to cook before rolling, but I picked a weekend night when I had plenty of time and it was unseasonably cold – this was the perfect slow and cozy food!!
Hi Jess, I’m so glad you loved it!
Loved this recipe, followed it very closely but added a touch more seasoning and lemon zest to the ricotta mixture.
It was delicious! My only real note is that I’d consider serving with pasta, as we found it a little rich on its own.
Hi Amber, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Great idea to serve with pasta.
I really enjoyed this recipe and the flavors were quite good. I think I took the tip to “not skimp on the olive oil” a little overboard. As a result my eggplant slices were very much done and soggy after roasting. This made it difficult to roll around the filling with you the eggplant falling apart. I did manage to get them wrapped though and in the pan. After baking, when I went to remove the rolls from the pan, I scooped under the rolls with a flat spatula and a good amount of the filling ran out of the eggplant rolls as I lifted them out of the pan, but I was able to scoop it back up and place it on top of the roll on the plate. I share my mistakes in hopes that others will not make the same ones. I found the dish quite yummy and will make it again but I will not use so much olive oil when roasting the eggplant and I might add an egg to the filling to give it a little more substance and help it to hold up better.
Hi Mark, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for the review, we’ll try to word that tip a little more clearly.
Excellent. I ended up having an unexpected guest and was so glad I made this as we all enjoyed it. I used a spoon to spread the ricotta mixture on each eggplant while still on the pan as to make sure each got equal amounts of filling. Then after rolling and placing them in the pan, I topped each off with more sauce and sprinkled grated parmesan then covered with foil. Delicious.
Hi Danielle, I’m so glad you both enjoyed it!
Amazing. I had no ricotta but I tried with feta cheese. Thanks for the recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
nice eggplant dish, wow,. love that it’s stuffed with ricotta too, thank you
I’ve never had “eggplant rollatini” before, so I followed this recipe all the way and it was sooo wonderful. Fresh basil from our garden made it all the better. Thanks again!! ♡
I’m so glad you loved it!
When you stick it back in the oven to bake, do you bake it at 350? The recipe doesn’t say but I’m assuming something in that range?
Excited to try it!
Hi Miriam, the bake temp is 425°F for both the eggplant and the final dish – the oven temperature doesn’t change. Hope that helps!
Thanks! It came out great, even my two year old loved it 🙂
I’m so happy to hear!
Does this freeze well?
I haven’t tried freezing it, so I’m not sure.