May 6, 2024

Eggplant Rollatini with Marinara and Pesto Sauce

This recipe might seem like a lot of work at first, well, that's if you're making everything from scratch. In order to keep it simple and not overworking us housewives, it's ok to use some store-bought ingredients.

Just like two of my great helpers here, store-bought marinara sauce and pesto sauce. These two alone can definitely cut down at least 30 minutes prep time, not mentioning the cleaning work involved.

To further cutting down the workload, you can use the already shredded cheese. I use packaged shredded mozzarella here. However, I have to grate my own parmesan cheese. The reason is that I always stick to aged parmigiano reggiano, and there's no pre-grating version of this. But a bit extra work in exchange for a much more complex savory note, I think it's well worth tiring my hands and my arms in grating the cheese.

Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce - 

Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce


  • 2 big and round eggplants
  • Some salt
  • Some olive oil
  • 300 grams marinara sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons pesto sauce
  • 120 grams shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated aged parmigiano reggiano
  • Some fresh basil sprigs (for garnish/optional)


  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated aged parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Brush baking sheet with some olive oil. 

Cut-off both ends for the eggplants. If you can find big, round, and longer eggplants then that's your best choice. The shape makes it much easier to roll later on.

Slice the eggplant to 1/4 inch thick pieces from top down. Because the natural curvy shape of the eggplant, I'm not using the first and the last slices, only use the center part instead.

Eggplant slices

Lay out the eggplant slices and sprinkle some salt on both sides.

Sprinkle some salts over eggplant slices

Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You'll start to see some tiny water droplets forming on the eggplant. Wipe off these excess liquid while removing some of the salt on both sides.

Transfer the eggplant slices to the baking dish and into the oven for 10 minutes. Once ready, remove and let the eggplant cool-off, at least till cool enough to handle by hand. 

If you have to move the eggplant slices around while still a bit hot, better use a spatula and scoop from the ends. Otherwise some very soft part might separate while trying to pick up the eggplant with uneven force. 

While waiting for the eggplant to cool-off, prepare all the ingredients listed under the "filling" section. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves then transfer to a mixing bowl. Break in one egg, also add all other ingredients for the filling.

Cheese filling for eggplant rollatini

Mix till all the ingredients are evenly blended together.

Have a baking dish ready, medium size with some depth should work. Pour over some marinara sauce and spoon them evenly on the bottom.

Marinara sauce as the base layer of eggplant rollatini

Check and see if the eggplant slices have cooled-off. If so, take one spoonful of the filling to the end of the eggplant slice then start rolling up. Transfer rolled up eggplant to the baking dish, with opening side down. Continue to do so till the baking dish has been fully placed by the eggplant rolls.

Eggplant rollatini before baking

Spoon some more marinara sauce all over the eggplant rolls, also spread out about 3 tablespoons of the pesto sauce.

Using marinara and pesto sauce for the eggplant rollatini

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese all over first, then sprinkle 1/4 cup of that high quality aged parmigiano reggiano cheese on top too.

Mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano cheese for the eggplant rollatini

Cover the baking dish with foil then into the oven, bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and switch to high heat. Continue to bake till the cheese on top starts to turn slightly browned. 

Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil sprigs.

Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce

Remember the edges of the eggplant slices that I didn't use in this recipe? In fact, I ended up dicing them and used in a pasta dish. Besides that, I also used all the leftover marinara sauce and pesto sauce to the pasta dish too.

Eggplant rollatini with marinara and pesto sauce

So in the end I get to enjoy a full-on pasta meal paired with this eggplant rollatini. Not bad for a dinner combo.  

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