Three Cheese Zucchini Rollatini (Involtini)
This cheesy zucchini rollatini is filled with cooked summer squash that is rolled up with fresh herbs, three Italian cheeses, and then served with rich marinara. A delicious vegetarian meal that everyone will love!
Rollatini – also known in Italy as involtini – is an Italian-style dish that is traditionally made with cooked eggplant that is sliced thin, then rolled up with Italian cheeses, and baked. So many readers have loved our classic eggplant rollatini, I thought it’d be fun to switch things up and use zucchini instead! Since this specific veggie is so abundant this time of year.
I especially love zucchini with Italian flavors! And this rollatini really allows this veggie to shine. The zucchini is sliced into thin ribbon pieces, then is stuffed with fresh herbs & ricotta filling, and baked with rich marinara sauce. It’s cheesy, fresh, and SO delicious!
If you love the eggplant version, I am certain you’ll be a fan of this recipe as well!
Ingredients – What You Need
You’ll need only 9 ingredients (minus salt and pepper) to make this dish happen! See the full list of ingredients below.
Zucchini: I used both yellow and green zucchini.
Marinara: quality tomato sauce is key because it will be a large source of flavor in this dish. I love using our San Marzano Tomato Sauce for homemade or Rao’s for store-bought.
Fresh herbs: using fresh basil and oregano (instead of dried) will add beautiful fresh flavor.
Garlic: for flavor! I recommend fresh garlic cloves instead of garlic powder.
Ricotta: for the filling! Be sure to strain off any extra liquid to prevent a watery rollatini.
Parmesan: freshly grated parmesan will be used for the filling and sprinkled on top.
Mozzarella: used for melting on top.
Egg: used to bind up the cheesy filling.
Step by Step Recipe Instructions
If you do not have a mandoline slicer to thinly slice the zucchini, as noted below the cooking steps will be slightly different for cutting by hand with a knife.
Preheat oven to 425F.
First, removes stems from zucchinis and carefully use a mandoline to slice into 1/8 inch thin pieces (lengthwise). If using a knife, carefully try to slice them as close to 1/8 inch as possible.
Then lay zucchini noodles flat on a baking tray and dust with salt to help “sweat” excess moisture from noodles for 5 minutes. Then bake noodles for 1 minute *this helps soften them and removes even more moisture* (if noodles are thicker you may have to bake them for several minutes). Remove from oven and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.
In a bowl, mix together ricotta, parmesan, chopped basil & oregano, egg, minced garlic, and salt & pepper.
Then, overlap two zuccchini slices to create one larger piece (this creates a wider rollatini). Spread about 1 Tablespoon of ricotta cheese filling evenly over noodles, then carefully roll-up. Repeat until you have used up noodles and ricotta filling.
Place in baking dish with 1/3 cup tomato sauce on the bottom.
Then spoon about 2 Tablespoons of tomato sauce over top of each rollatini.
Add a slice of mozzarella cheese (or shredded) and parmesan cheese over top. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is browned and zucchini is cooked.
Tips for Success
Mandoline vs knife cutting – a mandoline slicer is a safe and efficient way to get the perfect cuts on vegetables for recipes like this. They’re affordable and a great kitchen tool to have on hand! Using a knife to slice the zucchini works for this recipe (I’ve tried it myself) but you may run the risk of the zucchini being too thick and unable to be rolled up. If this happens, bake them in the oven (after salting) until they are soft enough to roll.
Remove moisture from ricotta – on occasions, some ricotta can have a bit of excess moisture with it. Whenever using zucchini you want to ensure there is nothing that could cause the dish to become “watery”. I recommend straining the ricotta in a fine mesh strainer or using paper towels to absorb the extra liquid.
My favorite marinara to use: for this recipe, I love using homemade tomato sauce, or to save time my favorite store-bought sauce. You can also spice things up and use our spicy arrabbiata tomato sauce!
What to serve it with – this dish goes perfect with pasta! We love using healthy chickpea noodles or regular pasta noodles with lots of marinara. You can also pair this with a salad like our Tuscan artichoke salad or Italian salad.
How to Freeze & Store Leftovers
Keep leftovers fresh: store leftovers in an airtight container and chill in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
How to freeze: assemble the recipe and before baking, cover with plastic wrap, then cover with foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Then thaw at room temperature and bake as instructed.
More Zucchini Recipes To Try
If you tried this Three Cheese Zucchini Rollatini (Involtini) recipe or any other recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK for more crave-worthy content.
This cheesy zucchini rollatini is filled with cooked summer squash that is rolled up with herbs, three Italian cheeses, and then served with rich marinara. It is so delicious, comforting, and naturally gluten-free!
- 3-4 medium to large zucchinis (or enough for 30 pieces of zucchini noodles)
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce/marinara
- 2/3 cup ricotta cheese see notes
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese divided
- 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
- 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon (each) salt & black pepper Plus more salt for the zucchini noodles
Preheat oven to 425F.
Slice zucchini: First, removes stems from zucchinis and carefully use a mandoline to slice into 1/8 inch thin pieces (lengthwise). If using a knife, carefully try to slice them as close to 1/8 inch as possible.
Salt and quick-bake zucchini: Then lay zucchini noodles flat on a baking tray and dust with salt to help "sweat" excess moisture from noodles for about 5 minutes. Then bake zucchini for 1 minute *this helps soften them to roll properly and removes even more moisture*. Remove from oven and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel. Note: if zucchini slices are thicker (especially if sliced by hand and not with a mandoline slicer) you may have to bake them for several minutes.
Mix ricottta filling ingredients: in a bowl, stir together ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, chopped basil, chopped oregano, minced garlic, and salt & black pepper.
Prepare baking dish: in a large baking dish or casserole dish, spread 1/2 cup (or more if needed) of tomato sauce. Set aside.
Fill and roll-up zucchini: Overlap two zuccchini slices to create one larger piece. Spread 1 Tablespoon of ricotta filling evenly over zucchini noodles, then gently roll up. Place the fold of the rollatini on the bottom to prevent it from unrolling. Arrange in baking dish with tomato sauce and repeat until noodles and ricotta filling are used up.
Add sauce & cheese: Then spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of tomato sauce over top of each rollatini. Add mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese over top. Then bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is browned and zucchini is cooked. Serve with fresh basil and enjoy!