Eggplant. There was one lone eggplant sitting in my produce drawer, begging to be put to good use.
Typically, I would make Eggplant Parmesan, because really, what is better than smothering crispy vegetables with luscious marinara and cheese?
However, I really did not feel like breading my eggplant, lightly frying, and then baking in sauce. So I decided to try something a bit new, that I thought the carnivores in my house would appreciate, Eggplant Rollatini.
Rollatini is a term typically used for any dish that features a filling rolled around a vegetable or meat and then baked.
Well, what do you know, I had some Chicken Italian Sausage that needed used as well?
So the meat and the eggplant needed to be combined into a dish and that is how I decided to make this dish.
I call this method of my meal planning: Cleaning out the Fridge!
I love it because it saves me a trip to the store, hence saving money and time and helps me get creative and inventive at times. Often my best creations come from being resourceful to use what I have.
I also decided to grill the eggplant instead of breading it, for a lighter version.
How to Grill Eggplant
- First, start by slicing your eggplant lengthwise into thin planks about 1/4 inch thick (This is a great time to put a mandolin to use if you have one, if not, simple knife skills will suffice and it doesn’t need to be perfect.)
- Next, place your slices onto a cooling rack that is placed on top of a large sheet tray. Lightly salt each slice of the eggplant on each side. Let sit from anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. The salt will draw out any bitterness that the eggplant has.
- Rinse the eggplant and carefully pat dry with clean kitchen towels or paper towels.
- Season the eggplant slices with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Grill the eggplant slices over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes per side. You want the eggplant to soften slightly and have grill marks.
Now we are ready to stuff these slices and transport ourselves to Italy!
How to Roll Eggplant for Rollatini
- First we must create our filling. And for this version, I simply browned up one pound of my favorite Chicken Italian Sausage. You can use any sausage you like.
- Next we must prepare our baking dish. In a 2 quart baking dish, line the bottom with a layer of tomato sauce .
- Then I divided the sausage evenly between the slices of eggplant–a couple tablespoons for each slice.
- I placed the meat on the fatter end of the egglplant and rolled up the eggplant, securing the meat inside.
- Place each slice of rolled up Eggplant into the baking dish.
- Generously Cover with more tomato sauce and top with cheese if desired.
- Bake at 375, covered for 45 minutes.
Serve with a simple salad or some steamed veggies for a light and refreshing dinner that still delivers on classic flavor.
Grilled Eggplant Rollatini
- 1 eggplant sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch each
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage your favorite brand
- 2-3 cups marinara sauce
- Parmesan cheese optional
- Mozzarella cheese optional
Grill eggplant, using step-by-step instructions.
Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of 2 quart baking dish.
Fill each eggplant with 2-3 tablespoons of meat and roll up securely and place seam side down into the baking dish.
Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the eggplant.
Top with cheese if desired.
Bake at 375, covered for 45 minutes.