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This Lightened-up Eggplant Rollatini is a hearty and comforting dinner that takes all the flavor of the traditional dish, but makes it just a bit more healthy while still being a total celebration of summer. Sliced eggplant is baked, and then rolled up with a lasagna-like filling, and baked with marinara and a bit more cheese.
Rolled Eggplant “Lasagna” Bake
Looking for a way to use up all that eggplant and basil you have as the summer growing season really ramps up? This Eggplant Rollatini bake is the perfect way to do it! It’s both comforting, yet doesn’t leave you feeling like you just had a heavy meal in the middle of summer.
And while the dish may look a bit fancy and complicated to make, it’s actually easy to do! Simply roll up sliced eggplant with a lasagna-style filling and bake. This recipe even calls for store-bought marinara (though you can make it homemade if you want) which makes it a great option for weeknight dinners.
Here is an overview of the ingredient list. Keep scrolling for the full recipe.
- Fresh Basil
- Ricotta Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Store-bought Marinara Sauce
- Dried Herbs and Spices
Eggplant: This recipe is for eggplant, but you actually could swap in zucchini if you had an overabundance of those! The recipe would nearly be identical, except you wouldn’t have to cook the zucchini in the oven for quite as long as you do the eggplant.
Ricotta Cheese: There are lots of dairy-free ricotta options on the market, feel free to use one of those if you need to. The same with mozzarella cheese.
Marinara Sauce: Want to make your own? Go for it! Otherwise buy your favorite store-bought version.
How to Make Eggplant Rollatini
This dish is pretty simple to make, but there are a few steps needed to get to the final product. Here is an overview of the steps needed to make this dish (and the full recipe is listed below):
- Prepare the eggplant, by slicing and salting it. You can skip the step of salting it if you want.
- Par-bake the eggplant. This makes it possible to roll-up the filling.
- Fill and roll the eggplant.
- Assemble and bake the dish!
Why Salt the Eggplant (Or Not)
There are a few reasons you salt an eggplant before cooking. The first is that an eggplant holds a lot of moisture. Salting it before cooking it helps draw out some of the moisture. This is less important when you are baking it, but it still can be a useful thing to do when it comes to our Eggplant Rollatini. But you have to let the eggplant sit for like an hour to help that moisture get drawn out.
The second reason to salt the eggplant first is so that it seasons the eggplant from the outside in.
However, if you do not want to wait for the eggplant to release moisture and you want to skip this step, that is totally fine! Because sometimes, we just don’t have an extra hour to wait to let our eggplants drain!
Serve the baked eggplant rollatini with a touch of extra marinara sauce. This can be a meal in and of itself, or you can serve with a side salad and a big piece of crusty bread.
Can It Be Frozen or Made Ahead?
The longer it sits, the more moisture the eggplant releases, so this is not a dish that lasts a long time as leftovers. And freezing and thawing will produce a very watered-down version of the freshly made one. So this might be ok for leftovers for one night, but not much more than this. It’s best consumed when fresh.
If you like this healthy Italian dish, check out these others:
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken (Paleo & Keto)
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
- Skirt Steak with Italian Salsa Verde
Eggplant Lasagna Rollatini
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 16 ounce container of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- Pinch sea salt
- 24- ounce jar marinara sauce
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Slice the ends off of the eggplant lengthwise, and then slice the remaining into 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set on a paper towel-lined sheet tray. Let it sit for 1 hour or so. Dab any moisture off of the eggplant with a paper towel.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Tranfer eggplant to a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender, but not mushy. Remove eggplant and let cool down slightly.
- In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, Italian seasoning, garlic, and salt.
- Line 8" square baking dish (or similar size) with 1/2 cup of sauce and begin assembling rollatinis: place about 2 tablespoons (depending on size of your eggplant) of the cheese mixure in the middle. Gently roll and place into the baking dish and repeat until all is used.
- Top with about 1 cup of sauce, and cover with remaining cheese, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cheese is bubbling.
- Garnish and serve hot with additional warmed marinara and fresh basil.