Eggplant Rollatini (Lightened Up): A lighter version of the classic eggplant rollatini, this old school Italian recipe is still an ultimate comfort food! Roasted eggplant is stuffed with 4 cheeses, rolled, and baked in marinara sauce and under a lid of mozzarella cheese.
When I say that all I want to do this time of year is tuck into some good old fashioned comfort food, I really mean it. Well, I guess there are other things I like to do in the fall but you get my drift, right?
Take this chicken and biscuits pot pie, for instance. It’s just about as cozy as comfort food gets! It’s chicken pot pie with biscuits on top for goodness sakes!
And this homemade tomato soup? I literally whipped this up last week in 15 minutes when I realized that I didn’t have all of the ingredients I needed for the dinner I had originally planned to make.
Paired with a grilled cheese sandwich using the Trader Joe’s Melange cheese (OMGOMGOMG SO GOOD!) on some homemade white bread, this was the perfect dinner on a rainy and windy fall evening.
This eggplant rollatini ranks right up there with pot pie and tomato soup on my favorite comfort foods list. It’s Italian food baked with sauce and cheese. So it’s usually a given that a meal like this would end up being one of my favorites.
I’m not sure about where you live, but around here, you can find eggplant rollatini on the menu at just about every Italian restaurant. And if we’re being completely honest (we are, aren’t we?), it’s never a dish I would consider ordering off a menu.
Especially if there’s any dish that has homemade ricotta cheese. Or chicken parm. (Hi! Creature of habit here!)
What Is Eggplant Rollatini?
If you’re not familiar with what eggplant rollatini actually is, let me explain. In the most simple of terms, it’s eggplant that is rolled up with cheese inside, covered with more cheese, and baked in marinara sauce.
There’s no better way to describe eggplant rollatini than calling it rolled and stuffed eggplant. And it’s PHENOMENAL!
Is Eggplant Rollatini Healthy?
Just because this is a vegetarian eggplant recipe, let’s not be hasty here. Remember, it’s still eggplant stuffed with cheese so it’s not a healthy recipe.
I haven’t checked the calories in eggplant rollatini recipes that are out there but I know that if you make it with breaded and fried (or breaded and baked) eggplant and full-fat cheeses, the dish will have more calories than this version, which clocks in at around 280 calories for 1 serving (2 eggplant rolls).
So, you can make it a little healthier and lighter by roasting the eggplant slices and using part-skim ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. To cut out some extra calories, this eggplant rollatini recipe also includes feta cheese which reduces the amount of ricotta and mozzarella in the filling and thereby also reduces the calories.
Can Eggplant Rollatini be Frozen?
Yes! It eggplant rollatini can be frozen! I made more than I needed the first time I made this meal and frozen a whole 8-inch square foil pan full of rollatini.
You can freeze the rollatini before or after it has been baked. Just make sure you cover the leftovers in a freezer-safe pan or dish and cover it tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. This will prevent freezer burn.
You can freeze the rollatini for up to 2 months.
How Do You Reheat Eggplant Rollatini?
If you’re heating the rollatini straight from the freezer, allow plenty of time for it to bake. It will need about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 400° F.
And if you are going to freeze the rollatini, you can also allow the rollatini to thaw before you bake it if you have some extra time. Leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw out and then bake it according to the instructions below. This will cut down on the baking time needed.
If you want to reheat eggplant rollatini straight from the refrigerator, you can also pop individual portions (on a microwave-safe plate) into the microwave on medium power for about 45 to 60 minutes.
So basically, this allows you to have an incredibly delicious work lunch, while making all of your co-workers jealous.
Not that I would know about this or anything.
What We Loved About this Eggplant Rollatini
First off, this is an outrageously delicious recipe! Even though this can be considered a slightly lightened up eggplant rollatini recipe, you absolutely cannot tell that it’s made with part-skim cheeses.
You definitely can’t taste the feta cheese either. My cousin, who flat out stated that she doesn’t like feta, agreed that the flavor blends into the other cheeses.
And you certainly won’t miss the fact that the eggplant isn’t breaded and fried first.
The whole concept of stuffed and rolled eggplant – and alllll the cheeeeese in it – reminds me a bit of my skillet eggplant lasagna, but without the lasagna noodles of course. The stuffed and rolled techniques are exactly the same as how I made my lasagna roll ups.
But this is a completely gluten free eggplant recipe. And using the eggplant in place of the lasagna noodles not only cuts way back on the carbs in the dish, but it also naturally ramps up your servings of vegetables for the day. WinWin!
This is also an easier eggplant recipe to make than eggplant parmesan is. And it’s quicker too!
While there’s definitely a time and a place to fit that eggplant parm recipe into your life, it’s a commitment to make what with all the eggplant draining, breading, and baking. For this recipe, you’ll just drain the eggplant and roast it for a few minutes before rolling the cheese filling up into them.
It’s not quite a 30 minute weeknight meal but it’s still so easy to make!
What to Serve with Eggplant Rollatini
- the best homemade garlic knots
- greek salad
- spicy turkey meatballs
- cheesy garlic pull apart bread
- whole grain ciabatta bread
- kale ceasar salad
- garlic parmesan pull apart bread
- eggplant meatballs
- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 lbs total), sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 1 ½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided
- ¼ cup grated parmesan, divided
- 1 tsp Italian herb blend seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 12 oz (about 1 ½ cups) marinara sauce
- Chopped fresh basil
- To prepare the eggplant: Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with some Kosher salt and place them in a large colander. Allow the eggplant to drain for about 10 minutes. Pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels and brush both sides of the slices with some olive oil and lay them out on a large baking sheet.
- Roast the eggplant for 8 minutes, flip, and roast for 5 more minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before handling.
- While the eggplant roasts, prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, feta, ¼ cup mozzarella, half of the parmesan cheese, the Italian herb blend, garlic, egg, salt and pepper together until well-combined.
- Lightly cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish with some of the marinara. After the eggplant has cool a little, sccop out about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture onto the end of a slice of eggplant. Roll the eggplant up from the cheese side and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining slices and cheese mixture. (Note: Because I lined them up in a single row for presentation purposes, I needed 2 dishes. If you're ok with packing them into 1 dish, they will definitely all fit.)
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top of the eggplant rolls.
- Bake, covered with a piece of greased aluminum foil, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Do Ahead: This eggplant rollatini recipe can be prepared through Step 6 above and frozen in the baking dish or a foil pan for up to 2 months. When you want to bake, bake from frozen at 400° F (covered with foil) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature in the center of the baking dish reads 125° F and then uncovered for another 10 minutes.
adapted from Diethood
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