Eggplant Rollatinis {gluten-free option}

For some reason, I always associate the holidays with Italian food. I guess it’s because celebrating Christmas reminds of my grandmother’s delicious stuffed shells, my grandfather’s fresh homemade bread and cookies baked with Ghirardelli chocolate. It’s like you could taste the love inside of each bite.

Eggplant Rollatinis

I’m spending the holidays an entire country away from my family this year so I guess you can tell that I’m feeling a little nostalgic. Not in a pity-party way; I know there are a ton of families who have to be apart under much harder circumstances. I’m just hopeful for the future holidays we get to spend together with our families.

I still plan to cook a proper dinner for Brandon, Coco, and myself but I won’t try to mimic my grandmother’s stuffed shells. They can’t be replicated by anyone else, in my opinion.

Instead I have plans to make another Italian favorite of ours: eggplant rollatinis.

Eggplant Rollatinis

I know there are a lot of eggplant haters out there and I completely understand. I can be a little funny about it too. If it’s not prepared the right way, the texture can be chewy. Just the thought sends shivers down my spine.

But when it’s sliced nice and thin, coated in breadcrumbs and, ahem, fried…it can be pretty amazing.

Eggplant Rollatinis

It’s ideal to find a long and skinny eggplant for this recipe but I wasn’t so lucky when I made these last. Mine were short and stubby so I had to slice them a little thicker than usual but it still worked out.

Eggplant Rollatinis

To assure a texture that’s slightly tender but not soggy, you coat them with flour, dip them in egg and then cover in breadcrumbs before frying in a little olive oil.

Eggplant Rollatinis

I’ve made them with whole wheat flour/breadcrumbs in the past but this time I tried a gluten-free version using oat flour and these gluten-free breadcrumbs and they tasted just as good.

Eggplant Rollatinis

I also used a mixture of both fresh and dried herbs in the filling because I think fresh herbs really take it over the top but you could use all dried if needed.

Eggplant Rollatinis

Roll it up into a tini, top with your favorite marinara and grated parmesan and you’re good to go.

Eggplant Rollatinis

This isn’t a quick and easy dish that you make every week but it’s one that you can really take your time with and sit down to appreciate with those you love.

Eggplant Rollatinis

Eggplant Rollatinis {gluten-free option}

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 10 rolls

Eggplant Rollatinis {gluten-free option}


2 medium-size eggplants

1 cup all purpose, whole wheat, or oat flour for GF version

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 eggs + 1 tablespoon water

2 cups breadcrumbs

1/2 cup olive oil

15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoons fresh

1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

1/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (or just mozzarella or parmesan)

2 cups marinara

1.5 cups shredded Italian cheese blend


  1. Begin by washing the eggplants and cutting the stem off the top. Slice the eggplant into thin pieces about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Heat a large skillet with 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Using three medium-size bowls, combine the flour with the salt & pepper in one, the egg and water in the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third.
  4. Coat each slice of eggplant by covering it with flour then dip it into the egg mixture. After it is coated with egg, place it in the bowl with the breadcrumbs and flip until both sides are completely covered.
  5. Place the coated eggplant into the skillet and cook on each side for one to two minutes. Using the spatula, press down, focusing mostly on the edges, so that it gets as thin as possible.
  6. Once each slice is light golden brown, plate that’s covered with a paper towel. Continue until all of the slices are cooked, adding more olive oil as needed.
  7. To prepare the filling, combine the ricotta, egg, shredded cheese, thawed spinach, salt & pepper, garlic, and herbs in a large bowl and mix well.
  8. Prepare a 9 x 13” or two 9 x 9” baking dishes by covering the bottom with marinara, reserving at least half.
  9. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of the filling onto one edge of the eggplant and roll up lengthwise. Place into the baking dish with the seam side down and continue the same steps until all of the eggplant slices are rolled up with filling.
  10. Top each roll with marinara and sprinkle with cheese then bake in the preheated oven (375°F) for 25 to 30 minutes. I like to prepare them ahead of time and store covered in the refrigerator until the day of. Then all you have to do is bake them and they are ready.


Eggplant Rollatinis

I can’t wait to have them again for Christmas! Well after I wake up to a warm, gooey cinnamon roll, of course.


What’s your go-to meal for Christmas?