Here’s a quick eggplant recipe that will delight even the most stubborn eggplant naysayers! This eggplant side dish is healthy and simple to prepare and my Eggplant Rollatini Recipe is ready in under an hour!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of eggplant, which is why this Eggplant Rollatini recipe being made by me in my own kitchen would seem absurd to my 10-year old self. My
loathing dislike for eggplant stems from my mother’s ratatouille when I was a kid… The vegetable yield from her garden assured us that we would never go hungry — and in order to preserve her harvest, she made her ratatouille recipe with loads of eggplant in quantities that would feed the NFL.
Then she’d seal them in those quart sized Ball canning jars, sink them into a boiling bath until they “popped” and display them on a custom shelving unit designed and built by my father — solely for the purpose of
torturing me storing her bounty. Consequently we rarely had a meal that didn’t include her ratatouille.
Years later, I’m just beginning to get over my aversion and have actually started looking for ways to incorporate eggplant into our diets. The issue now lies with my husband, Scott, and his intense dislike of mushy vegetables. When he saw this eggplant on the counter, I could almost see his body recoil in horror. His angst was palpable.
So for him, I’m taking baby steps… an eggplant side dish masked as an Italian lasagna-esque casserole, this Eggplant Rollatini recipe will convert even the most staunch eggplant-haters. To start, salt thin slices of eggplant to draw out the moisture. Pat them dry and then grill them (either on a grill or in your grill pan). The filling is a healthy blend of cottage cheese, eggs, fresh herbs and lemon zest.
Add a spoonful of filling to the bottom fourth of a slice of eggplant and roll it up.
Place the eggplant rollatini in a casserole dish spread with your favorite marinara sauce and continue to roll the remaining slices.
Top with a little more marinara and a healthy dose of shredded cheese. This is a quick eggplant recipe with depth of flavor greater than the sum of its parts.
Bake until the casserole is fragrant and bubbly. I’m telling you, it smells like an Italian restaurant as these rollatini are baking and no-one, not even my eggplant averse husband can deny that it smelled good.
For more baby steps, you can serve this grilled eggplant rollatini recipe on the side with a piece of roasted chicken, but it’s substantial enough to act as the main course in my opinion.
Serve it with a sprinkle of fresh basil and mint and extra cheese and marinara sauce if you like.
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Eggplant Rollatini Recipe
Tender pan grilled eggplant filled with a savory herb and cheese blend topped with your favorite marinara. Makes a great vegetarian main or delicious side dish.
- 2 medium eggplant
- 1 cup cottage cheese I used fat free
- 3/4 cup low-fat, part-skim mozzarella shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup grana padana or parmesan grated, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon basil chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons mint chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a small casserole dish with vegetable spray and set aside.
Cut the stems and heel of the egg plant, then slice the eggplant into 1/2" thick slices from root to tip. Place the slices on a wire rack sitting on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant and sprinkle the other side with salt and sit for another 15 minutes. Rinse the salt off the eggplant then dry thoroughly with paper towels.
Heat a large griddle pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and turn the pan to coat with the oil. Working in batches, lay the eggplant onto the hot grill pan and cook on one side for 4-5 minutes until tender and grill marks appear. Flip the eggplant and continue to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack to cool while you cook the remaining eggplant.
For the Cheese Filling:
While the eggplant is resting with the salt (step 2) make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup grana padana, the egg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the fresh herbs and lemon zest, stirring until herbs are evenly distributed in the filling.
Assemble the rollatini
Spoon 1/4 cup of marinara sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish and spread it around with the back of a spoon.
Lay a slice of eggplant (short end facing you) on a work surface. Add a mounded tablespoon of ricotta filling about 1 1/2" from the bottom of the eggplant and carefully fold the bottom over the filling and continue rolling the eggplant up into a tight roll. Transfer the eggplant to the casserole dish and continue in this fashion until you've used up the eggplant and filled the dish.
Spoon the remaining marinara over the tops of the rollatini. Garnish with remaining Mozzarella and Grana Padana. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and fragrant.
Let the dish sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with more chopped basil if desired.