Eggplant Involtini

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!

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!Doesn’t Eggplant Involtini sound so fancy and sophisticated?  “What are you having for dinner tonight?”  “Oh, well, we’re making Eggplant Involtini.”  In truth, this recipe is fairly straightforward.  It does require several steps, but none of the steps are all that difficult.  And in many ways, Eggplant Involtini reminds me of Eggplant Parmesan…just in a different form.

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!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.

Eggplant Involtini

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.

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!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!?

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!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…

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!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)!

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!

Eggplant Involtini

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 516kcal

Ingredients

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

For the Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • Tbsp fresh basil minced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

If you prefer to use jarred sauce here, you’ll need 3 cups total.

Eggplant Involtini is a classic Italian recipe.  This version features a lemon herb ricotta filling rolled up inside of slices of roasted eggplant.  It's delicious!

Looking for more tasty eggplant recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Featuring layers upon layers of flavorful eggplant, fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic (and delicious) recipe!Eggplant Parmesan

We're still in grilling season, but the days are getting cooler...this clearly calls for a batch of Grilled Eggplant Soup!Grilled Eggplant Soup

Caponata is a tasty and colorful summer recipe.  Serve it as an appetizer with toasted bread or as a side dish alongside grilled fish or chicken!Caponata

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22 Comments

  1. Looks really tasty, David. Funnily enough, even though I love eggplant, I rarely make involtini from them. Don’t ask me why, force of habit, I guess. But you may just have inspired me to get cracking. Don’t be surprised if you find a copycat post on my blog one of these days, lol!

    1. Glad this post inspired you, Frank! I do love the involtini angle with eggplant…it’s just something different, and that’s always fun. I’d be honored to see a copycat post on your blog! There are a ton of different ways to play with the ricotta seasonings, too. I went with a brighter lemony flavor, but you could have fun there. Hope you have a great weekend ahead, my friend!

  2. Wonderful. I just baked eggplant last night to make eggplant Parmesan for myself. Hubs doesn’t like eggplant 🙄 They were fresh from my friend’s garden so I didn’t salt them. Grocery store eggplants I salt! I’ve made this with zucchini, but never rolled eggplant slices. A great idea for when my pescatarian daughter visits, and very pretty!

    1. Oooo…I’ve never thought about making zucchini involtini. That’s a great idea, Mimi! It’s perfect for when you forget to check the garden for like, oh, two days, and the zucchini are as large as your forearm! 🙂

  3. Yes, this Eggplant Involtini recipe sounds fancy indeed! I’ve never heard this name, and honestly I thought this name referred a pasta type (There’s always one kind / shape of pasta you haven’t tried yet, you know!) Also, this dish is right up my alley; I adore the combination of ricotta and eggplant. Perfect flavour profile with lemon and herbs, too!

    1. Hah…you’re totally right about pasta types, Ben! I have a strange obsession with pasta types, and I always love buying new ones if I stumble across something different in the store. But involtini isn’t pasta at all – it’s just a fancy term meaning ‘rolled up.’ You should absolutely try this recipe, my friend!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made eggplant roll ups before, but didn’t know that it had a special name! And it definitely does sound fancy 😉 All kinds of cozy vibes with this one, David! It would make for such a lovely Sunday supper or even entertaining with friends. This, some crusty bread , maybe a side salad and some vino and I’m set! Have an awesome upcoming weekend!

    1. See! Now you can sound super fancy when you make eggplant roll-ups again. 🙂 You’re right, Dawn. This recipe channels all sorts of cozy, comfort food vibes! I’m with ya on the crusty bread and vino. In fact, I think a bottle of vino might be in order for us tonight. Yum! Hope you have a great weekend, too, my friend!

  5. 5 stars
    Your timing is perfect, David! We got two beautiful eggplants in our farm share this week and now I know exactly how to use them. We love Eggplant Involtini and I’m excited to try your version – looks so cheesy and delicious!

    1. Awesome! Eggplant Involtini is such a fun (not to mention delicious) comfort food recipe. I particularly enjoyed the lemon-y version of the ricotta filling here. Hope you have a great weekend ahead, my friend!

  6. 5 stars
    We rarely eat eggplant, but now I’m inspired to try this! It looks like a hearty, delicious meal. I love all the great tips, especially the salting of the eggplant. I’ll need to plan far enough ahead to make certain the salt has time to do its thing! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. I agree with you, Kathy. Eggplant isn’t a super common ingredient around here, either, but Laura loves it. And truthfully I enjoyed it quite a bit in this dish! It’s good comfort food for sure. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Priya! I really enjoyed the lemon-y ricotta filling here, but you could also play around with the flavors in the ricotta for a fun twist.

  7. 5 stars
    Aubergine is an all-time favorite veggie in our house, so your involtini would suit us just fine. We’ve made the traditional version, but not with the lemon twist. I like the sounds of that, so will give it a try. Me, I could make a meal of this. Give me a warm loaf of crusty bread, a bottle of red and I’m in heaven. But, you do have me thinking of that Italian sausage option.

    1. The lemon twist here is a fun way to mix things up, Ron. Truthfully, I prefer the original version just because I really enjoy traditional Italian flavors. With that said, the lemon version was still quite tasty. And I’m with you on the crusty bread and bottle of red. Heck, add in some olive oil for dipping and I could make an entire meal out of the bread and wine alone!

    1. Yes! The lemon ricotta is a fun twist on this Eggplant Involtini, Karen. I do enjoy the traditional ricotta seasonings, but I have to say the lighter lemony flavor was quite tasty. Hope you’re doing well, my friend!

  8. i’m not a frying type person so baking the eggplant sounds a great idea. i love eggplant i have to say:) this sounds so fabulous. i’ve had a recipe for this lurking forever so you are giving me a kick up the backside to make it. Cheers!

    1. It might sound fancy, but Eggplant Involtini is still fairly easy to make – and I like this version with the baked eggplant instead of fried. Give it a shot, Dawn! 🙂

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