The Best Eggplant Rollatini

Updated: May 1st, 2024 · By Bethany Kramer
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Fall in love with the flavors of this cheesy eggplant rollatini, also known in Italy as Involtini di Melanzane! No breading, no oils, just cooked eggplant stuffed with ricotta, parmesan cheese, and lots of fresh basil. Then baked to perfection with freshly grated cheese and rich tomato sauce – the most delicious meatless dinner the whole family will love.

A white dish with eggplant rollatini in it, topped with fresh herbs. The dish is sitting on a wooden background with a cheese rind, napkin, and a small bowl of red pepper flakes arranged around it.

Over the years, I have fallen in love with eggplant in my recipes, especially in Italian dishes. And today, I’m serving up one of my favorites!

If you’ve never had it before, eggplant rollatini is an Italian dish consisting of thinly sliced eggplant traditionally dusted with flour and then “rolled” up with ricotta cheese and an herb filling. The word rollatini in Italy is also known as “involtini,” it refers to food that can be eaten in small bites or rolled up with a filling.

This recipe is a little different than the traditional Italian method. Instead of coating the eggplant in flour and pan-frying before rolling up and baking, the eggplant slices are baked rather than fried without any breading or oils. The results are delicious and may surprise some who are used to traditional rollatini!

Get ready to serve this one up at your next family gathering. I’m certain it’ll be a hit!

Ingredients – What You Need

This meal requires only 8 ingredients and takes only a few simple steps. See the full list of ingredients below!

Ingredients for eggplant rollatini arranged on a wooden board.

Eggplant: use two large eggplants or several smaller eggplants. Be sure they are wide enough to hold your filling when rolled up!
Ricotta cheese: a creamy cheese that is used for the filling that gets rolled up into the eggplant.
Marinara: we love using homemade marinara or Rao’s for store-bought!
Parmesan: freshly grated is recommended! This salty cheese is used in both the filling and on top of the rollatini for flavor.
Egg: to help bind the ricotta filling ingredients together.
Garlic cloves: fresh garlic is best to flavor the cheese filling, but you can also use garlic powder!
Basil: fresh basil is used in the ricotta filling, and it’s a must! I don’t recommend swapping for dried basil, the flavor will not be the same.
Mozzarella cheese: a fresh cheese that is creamy and mild in flavor. This cheese is for sprinkling over top of the rollatini for a melty top!

How to Make It – Step by Step

Preheat oven to 400F

  1. 1

    Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick pieces.

  2. 2

    Salt the eggplant on both sides with a small pinch of coarse salt. Let it “sweat” the excess moisture out for 10 minutes – then pat dry with paper towels and wipe off the remaining salt.

Two photos in a collage showing make eggplant rollatini. The first photo is showing eggplant slices into thin pieces laying on top of one another. The second photo is the eggplant slices laying on a sheet pan.
  1. 3

    Lay eggplant on a lightly greased pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.

  2. 4

    In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt & pepper, minced garlic, and fresh basil.

Two photos in a collage showing how to prepare eggplant rollatini. The first photo is eggplant slices cooked on a sheet pan. The second photo is a white bowl with herb ricotta filling ingredients in it on a wooden board.
  1. 5

    Then spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of the ricotta filling onto the bottom of the eggplant slice. Roll it up and repeat until the ricotta filling is finished.

  2. 6

    In a baking dish, spoon half the sauce onto the bottom and then place the eggplant rolls in the dish.

Two photos in a collage showing how to make eggplant rollatini. The first photo are two hands rolling up a slice of eggplant with cheesing filling in it. The second photo is a white dish with the rolled up eggplant and red sauce in it.

  1. 7

    Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the dish.

  2. 8

    Then top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes uncovered. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Two photos in a collage showing how to make eggplant rollatini. The first photo is a spoon pouring red sauce over rolled up eggplant in a white dish. The second photo is a hand sprinkling cheese over the same dish.

Tips for Success

Make sure the eggplant is sliced thin enough. If the eggplant is sliced too thick or unevenly, it will cause the rollatini to bake unevenly, leaving some pieces to be tougher and under-cooked. To ensure the eggplant is evenly cut and properly cooked, your best bet is to use a mandoline and slice each at 1/4 inch thickness.

Additional herbs you can use. What makes this recipe shine is using a ton of fresh basil! But that’s not the only herb you can use. This recipe also tastes wonderful with fresh oregano! And even fresh thyme or Italian parsley. If you’d like to add a little heat, you can also toss in a pinch of red pepper flakes to the herb filling too!

Our favorite tomato sauce to use. Choosing a quality tomato sauce for your rollatini matters because it’s a huge source of the dish’s flavor. If you want to use a store-bought tomato sauce, we recommend Raos! But if you want to make your own sauce, we love serving this with our San Marzano tomato sauce, or, our spicy arrabbiata tomato sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you salt the eggplant? Eggplant is known to have a high water content, so the excess moisture will need to be “sweated” from the eggplant using salt before assembling the dish. If this step is not taken, the water from the eggplant will pour into the whole dish while it bakes, making it a soupy mess, which we want to avoid!

How do you slice eggplant for rollatini? You can cut the eggplant two ways! One by hand with a chef’s knife, this is if you are experienced with a knife and can accurately make precise 1/4 inch cuts. The second way, which I recommend the most, is to use a mandoline slicer.

Do I need to peel the eggplant? Nope! Even though eggplant skin seems tough when it’s uncooked the skin becomes tender and adds so much flavor to this dish once it is cooked.

Is this recipe gluten-free? Yes, it’s naturally gluten-free because it doesn’t use flour or breadcrumbs to coat the eggplant.

How long do leftovers keep? Leftover rollatini should be kept in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Make sure leftovers are stored in an air-tight container to keep them fresh.

How to Freeze and Reheat

Reheating tips: preheat oven to 350F, place the rollatini in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Heat until warm (about 10-15 minutes).

Freezing tips: Prepare rollatini as directed, but don’t bake. Cover completely with plastic wrap first and then foil. Freeze for up to 1-2 months, then let thaw at room temperature and bake as the recipe instructs.

Serving Suggestions

Eggplant rollatini goes perfectly with pasta! We love to serve it with shells, radiatore pasta, or rigatoni. For greens, we recommend Italian-themed salads such as our Tuscan artichoke salad, or this Italian salad! And don’t forget crusty Italian bread for dipping into that cheesy sauce!

Eggplant rollatini with fresh herbs sprinkled over top in a white dish. Next to the dish is a parmesan cheese rind and fresh herbs.

More Italian Eggplant Recipes

Love eggplant as much as I do? Then you may also be a fan of these delicious recipes as well.

Eggplant Rollatini

4.99 from 55 votes
Fall in love with the flavors of this cheesy eggplant rollatini! No breading, no oils, just cooked eggplant stuffed with ricotta, parmesan cheese, and lots of fresh basil. Then baked to perfection with freshly grated cheese and rich tomato sauce – the most perfect, low carb, Italian dish that the whole family will enjoy. 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serves 5

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Slice and salt eggplant: First, remove the stems from the eggplant. Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Salt on both sides and let sit to "sweat" for 10 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel and wipe off remaining salt. Note: this process removes excess moisture from the eggplant and prevents a watery rollatini.
  • Bake eggplant: Lay eggplant on a lightly greased pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Note: this softens the eggplant so you can easily roll it with the filling.
  • Mix filling together: While eggplant is baking, add to a bowl: ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg, salt & pepper, minced garlic, and fresh basil. Mix together.
  • Prepare rollatini: Then spread a layer of half the marinara on the bottom of your casserole or baking dish. After the eggplant has cooled spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of ricotta filling on the eggplant, then roll it up and lay the rollatini in the baking dish with sauce. Repeat until finished.
  • Bake: Spoon the remainder of the marinara sauce over the rolled-up eggplant, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a light dusting of parmesan cheese. Cover with foil or lid and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Reheating tips: preheat oven to 350F, place the rollatini in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Heat until warm (about 10-15 minutes).
Freezing tips: Prepare rollatini as directed, but don’t bake. Cover completely with plastic wrap first and then foil. Freeze for up to 1-2 months, then let thaw at room temperature and bake as the recipe instructs.

 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword baked eggplant rollatini, how to make eggplant rollatini, what is eggplant rollatini
Freezer Friendly Yes
Author Bethany Kramer

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 18.3g | Fat: 10.7g | Cholesterol: 70.3mg | Sodium: 538.9mg | Sugar: 11.7g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 46.2mg

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Recipe Rating




163 Comments

  • Barbara says:

    5 stars
    Fantastic!! Definitely only use fresh basil. Making additional batches today as gifts.

  • Albertina says:

    This sounds delicious. I will be cooking this for an upcoming dinner party. I hope this will turn good.

  • David says:

    5 stars
    What I liked about the recipe was it was not fried so I tired it and it turned out great, my wife came home from work and was blown away with my surprise dinner and how good it was and so was I, made a simple side of pasta and opened a bottle of my Italian chianti from Tuscany.
    One thing I did was when I placed the filling inside the eggplant I added a tablespoon of my homemade marinara sauce but that was it.
    Very good recipe and saved the recipe for another time

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      So happy to hear that, David! I’m sure the chianti paired wonderfully with the meal. Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Marilyn Gibbons says:

    Fantastic! Will make again Flavor is incredible.

  • Maggie says:

    5 stars
    Great easy recipe. I would suggest slicing to 1/4 inch though, 1/2 inch was not easy to roll and thinly sliced eggplant is just better to me anyway. Also, the 12 x 16 pan was way too big! Delicious recipe and I plan to use it again and again!

  • Richard G says:

    5 stars
    Nice clean recipe ! Light and satisfying !

  • Sandra says:

    5 stars
    Fabulous – I doubled it and added spinach in the ricotta.

  • Callen says:

    I have a technical question about the method. Due to its acidity isn’t tomato sauce a no-no for cast iron? Thanks.

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      This is correct due to the taste changing. I would never recommend simmering a sauce in cast iron. But baking lasagnas and dishes like this are fine – especially if enameled! I used a cast iron skillet for photography sake. But I love baking Italian dishes in stainless steel!

  • Lori says:

    5 stars
    We had an extra eggplant and came across this recipe online and it was DELICIOUS!!!! YUM! I followed the recipe and just used one huge eggplant and it was perfect! Thanks!

  • M says:

    5 stars
    I have a Sicilian Italian neighbor who has been making this for us since he moved in two years ago. I asked if it could be baked cause we would rather not have fried stuff (even though it’s so tasty)…and was told probably not and won’t taste as good if so. So, I found your recipe as someone gave me eggplants and, first time making it…and it won’t be the last!!! SO DELISH!!! Flavors were amazing. Will make for my neighbor too after a few times under my belt!! Thank you for another “Yummly” recipe!!!

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      I’m so so happy to hear you enjoyed it!

    • Polly Ziskind says:

      5 stars
      I made a few changes to your recipe. 1) 1/2″ is too thick, do 1/4″ 2) Use fine table salt, not Kosher salt and you want a lot of surface contact 3) After salting for 30 minutes, rinse the salt off and squeeze the water out of each slice, squeeze firmly. It turned out great. I used more cheese than you said. One eggplant took 24 oz of grated cheese.

  • Susan Davignon says:

    Could this be made ahead of time? Assembled today and baked tomorrow before serving? Or would it get too soggy?

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      I’ve never tried it and fear it would be soggy. You could prepare the eggplant and the ricotta mixture then assemble when needed for better results! Hope this helps. 🙂

    • Erin Demirjian says:

      5 stars
      I loved the recipe! Came out great. I actually grilled the eggplant the day before. I then placed the eggplant on parchment paper, not the shiny side, to absorb a little of the moisture. I assembled before I was ready to put in oven. It did not come out soggy at all!

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing Erin 🙂

    • Toni says:

      Can I freeze this recipe

    • Bethany says:

      it should freeze well, yes!

  • Emily says:

    5 stars
    Just made this for a SECOND time!! Delicious!

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