Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe. This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside slices of roasted eggplant. It’s delicious!
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Involtini is actually the same thing as Rollatini. (I shared this awesome recipe for Bacon & Jalapeno Stuffed Chicken Rollatini a while back.) Rollatini is an Americanized word that sounds Italian, but it’s actually not Italian at all. Involtini is the Italian word. Involtini literally means “rolls” in Italian, and that’s exactly what Eggplant Involtini is. Roasted slices of eggplant filled with ricotta and rolled up into little bundles of deliciousness.
As noted above, Eggplant Involtini is very similar to Eggplant Parmesan. Instead of layering slices of eggplant (like when you make lasagna), you simply fill the slices of eggplant with ricotta and then roll ’em up. However, there are two tricks for making this recipe.
The first trick is salting the eggplant and letting it rest. And when I say salting, I mean salting. I used ~2 Tbsp of kosher salt sprinkled across the tops of ~15 slices of eggplant. Then you let it rest for a full hour or two. Salting the eggplant helps draw out excess moisture. Don’t worry about the eggplant tasting too salty, though. You rinse the slices with water and press ’em gently with paper towels before roasting.
The second trick? Roasting the eggplant. Unlike traditional Eggplant Parmesan where the eggplant is pan-fried, I opted for roasting the eggplant in a hot oven. Roasting the eggplant softens it up a bit so that it’s easier to roll in the next step. Plus, roasting the eggplant adds a ton of flavor! I’ve also heard of a version where the eggplant slices are grilled. How tasty does that sound!?
Lemon + Parsley Ricotta
Just to mix things up a bit, I played with the flavor profile of the ricotta filling in this recipe. Instead of traditional Italian herbs, I went with a brighter, lemony flavor. The fresh tang of the lemon ricotta filling was quite delicious! However, if you want to go with a more traditional version, you could omit the lemon juice and lemon zest and use dried Italian herbs instead. Oh, and I bet some cooked Italian sausage would be delicious in this filling. Next time…next time…
For this recipe, I included my basic go-to Italian sauce. I seriously make this sauce probably once a week. It starts with canned San Marzano plum tomatoes and sauteed onions. It’s a simple sauce, but it’s delicious! I highly recommend adding this one to your list. However, if you prefer jarred sauce, you can totally go that way – you’ll need ~3 cups of sauce.
Oh, and just for the record, this Eggplant Involtini makes for some pretty fantastic leftovers! Enjoy!
Did you make this Eggplant Involtini at home? Leave a comment, or better yet snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
For the Eggplant
- 2 medium eggplants ~1-1¼ lbs each
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon ~1 Tbsp
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cut into ¼” slices
- Trim eggplants and cut lengthwise into ¼” slices. Layer the slices in a colander in the sink, sprinkling each layer with kosher salt. Let sit for 1 hour. (Note: This step removes extra liquid from the eggplant. It’s important! While the eggplant is draining is a good time to go ahead and make the sauce.)
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Rinse the eggplant slices and pat each dry with a paper towel. Lay eggplant slices in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Brush tops and bottoms of slices with olive oil.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until bottoms of slices begin to turn light golden brown. Flip slices over and continue baking 8-10 more minutes, or until other side has begun to turn brown.
- Remove eggplant from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
- Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick baking spray. Spread 1 cup of sauce onto bottom of dish; set dish aside.
- Using a medium mixing bowl, add ricotta, shredded mozzarella, half of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and pepper; stir until well combined.
- To make eggplant involtini, place a spoonful of ricotta mixture near end of a slice. Roll slice up lengthwise and place seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining slices.
- Once all slices are in dish, spoon remaining sauce on top of slices. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese on top of sauce. Layer sliced fresh mozzarella in a line down center of dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until mozzarella on top has completely melted.
For the Sauce
- Using a medium saucepan, add olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic, crushed tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cover and reduce heat to low until sauce is needed.
Looking for more tasty eggplant recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: