This Vegan Eggplant Rollatini is the perfect weeknight dinner. Easy and quick to make, this healthy dish will have your family scrambling for leftovers!
Who doesn't love easy and healthy dinners Italian dinners? I feel like when I think of Italian cuisine, at least Americanized Italian cuisine, I think of heavy and rich sauces and pasta. What I don't normally think of, is light and healthy dishes that are quick and easy to make. This eggplant rollatini is all of that and more. Rollatini is an Italian-American dish known as ‘rollatini di melanzane. Think of it almost like vegan eggplant parmesan, just different. Or, a vegan eggplant roll up with spinach and ricotta. All of these share similarities and they all have similar ingredients.
The rollatini is a dish prepared in the New World by Italian immigrants. Traditionally Italians prefer to use pounded veal meat when making this dish but the poorer immigrants created the rollatini recipes with the cheaper eggplant which was versatile enough to replace the expensive meat.
The term rollatini is not standard Italian either and might have come from the Italian communities who were trying to learn English. The rollatini recipes are believed to have been brought out on Fridays when the staunch Catholics observed a meatless day.
Traditionally, the only ingredients needed to make this recipe are tomato sauce, eggplant, and ricotta, however, we sauced it up a bit over here to give it a little more wow factor.
For other great Italian dishes, check out these Vegan Stuffed Shells, or this Tuscan Inspired Barley and Spinach Soup.
The ingredients in this recipe are easy to find and cheap, this is the perfect budget meal!
- Jarred red sauce (I used Trader Joe's Vegan Bolognese, however, any jarred marinara will do!)
- Firm Tofu
- Nutritional Yeast
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
Please see the recipe card for quantities.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
Slice the eggplants into ¼ inch slices and lay them out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Season generously with salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Allowing the eggplant to sit with the salt helps to draw the water out so it will not get soggy as you handle it.
After drying, blot the moisture away with a paper towel, and bake for 20 minutes or until soft.
While the eggplant is in the oven, in a food processor combine the tofu, spices, nutritional yeast, pesto, and spinach and pulse until combined. The mixture will resemble ricotta cheese. For me, I pulsed about 20-25 times to get the desired result.
Remove eggplant slices from the oven and turn oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the vegan ricotta onto the eggplant slice then roll it up, repeating for all slices.
In an 11x17-inch baking pan, pour ½ of the jarred red sauce, then add all the roll-ups seam down. Pour the remaining ½ of the jarred sauce on top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the eggplant rollatini is warmed through.
Hint: If crunched for time, you can buy store-bought vegan ricotta, however, I prefer to make my own so I know exactly what is going into it.
Can this dish be made keto-friendly?
Sure! Eggplant is keto-friendly, just make sure to use a compliant marinara sauce such as this one. The vegan ricotta can be made keto-friendly by leaving out the pesto which would be higher in carbs due to having a nut base.
Can this dish be made Gluten-Free?
Of course! This dish is already gluten-free with the ingredients that it is used, however, if using premade ingredients such as pasta sauce, always check the label to make sure there are no hidden gluten ingredients.
Can this dish be made Whole 30?
This dish can be made Whole 30. Make sure to use a compliant red sauce and for the vegan ricotta, try making a delicious Almond ricotta instead of using tofu.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes to the ricotta mixture to spice up the heat!
- Deluxe - top with some extra added pesto when serving to give it even more flavor.
- Low-Sodium- omit the added salt from the ricotta mixture
Check out this other delicious Italian recipe here!
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. I use baking dishes that are similar to these and this is the food processor that I use. I recommend them all!
Store the leftovers in an airtight container, they should keep for up to three days.
To freeze this dish, before the final bake, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and tin foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
Make sure to bake the eggplant before attempting to roll. The reason for par-baking the eggplant is to get it soft enough that it doesn't break when attempting to roll.
Vegan Eggplant Rollatini
- 36 ounces Jarred red sauce I used Trader Joe's Vegan Bolognese, however, any jarred marinara will do!
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
- 2 large eggplants
- ½ cup vegan pesto
- 1 package Firm Tofu
- 3 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
- Slice the eggplants into ¼ inch slices and lay them out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Season generously with salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
- Allowing the eggplant to sit with the salt helps to draw the water out so it will not get soggy as you handle it.
- After drying, blot the moisture away with a paper towel, and bake for 20 minutes or until soft.
- While the eggplant is in the oven, in a food processor combine the tofu, spices, nutritional yeast, pesto, and spinach and pulse until combined. The mixture will resemble ricotta cheese. For me, I pulsed about 20-25 times to get the desired result.
- Remove eggplant slices from the oven and turn oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the vegan ricotta onto the eggplant slice then roll it up, repeating for all slices.
- In an 11x17-inch baking pan, pour ½ of the jarred red sauce, then add all the roll-ups seam down. Pour the remaining ½ of the jarred sauce on top.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the eggplant rollatini is warmed through.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
I love Italian-inspired dishes! This vegan eggplant rollatini meal is hearty and comforting. Definitely will skip the Italian restaurant and make this rich and healthy plant-based dinner.
So glad everyone enjoyed it!
I love this recipe! We have so many eggplants at home so this recipe was perfect! I made this the other day and wow, I finally found such a delicious eggplant recipe! It was creamy, light and so flavorful! Thank you, I will make it again!
So glad you liked it!
Amanda Scarlati says
Loved this rollatini - so much flavor and the eggplant had such a good flavor in it!
Glad you liked it!
Wow, that looks so good. I agree this is a perfect weeknight dinner. My family will love this. Thanks!
You are welcome!
I made this, was delish. Defo going to make it again. My family love eggplants so this was really a treat! Thanks for sharing!
So glad everyone loved it!
I never know what to make with eggplant and this looks really easy and tasty! Great recipe!
Thank you! I hope you enjoy!
This Vegan Eggplant Rollatini was so delicious! It was surprisingly easy to make and we can't wait to make it again!
So glad everyone loved it!
Great recipe! I made this for supper and everyone thought I must have spent hours making it! The kids are already asking me to make it again! Thanks!
So glad everyone liked it!
I absolutely loved making this vegan eggplant rollatini! Eggplant doesn't get the love that it deserves. But it's soo gooood! My family all wanted seconds. I wish I would have made more!
So glad everyone loved it!
I would have never have thought to use eggplant this way, what a great idea. I loved making this vegan option instead of stuffing it with meat. Great recipe.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!
Megan Ellam says
How good is eggplant. I cannot wait to try this recipe. Thanks for another fab recipe.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy!
What a great vegan Italian meal! I would never think of using tofu instead of ricotta but it was actually really good!
This was so delicious, and I normally don't eat eggplant but am trying to eat healthier. I definitely recommend!
So hearty and flavorful! Yum!