This vegan eggplant rollatini is one of our favorite comfort food recipes! Soft eggplants are rolled with a high-protein tofu ricotta and drenched in a savory marinara sauce. Easier to make than it seems, healthy, naturally gluten-free and 100% dairy-free and plant-based.
Here is a super fun vegan dinner idea: vegan eggplant rollatini! It is similar to a lasagna, but made using eggplant instead of pasta and also, rolled instead of layered, which is even easier to make! I have made lasagna noodle roll-ups before, but I absolutely love this very-vegetable version!
I actually have been making this recipe a ton recently. It is just so delicious, creamy and satisfying. Plus, this recipe is so much simpler than it seems. I actually think that this vegan eggplant casserole is pretty forgiving and won't require you to be super specific with the details. You can add/remove flavoring ingredients to your taste and play around with more adds-on if you want.
All you have to do is roast the eggplant slices for a few minutes in the oven to soften them enough to be rolled, then make a super quick and simple dairy-free tofu ricotta in a food processor, which is done within 5 minutes. To build the dish, spread a layer of ricotta over each eggplant slices, roll and smother in marinara sauce in a baking dish before baking.
I often use a healthier store-bought marinara sauce so this recipe is pretty easy and quick, but you can also make your own marinara sauce or pomodoro sauce if you have the extra time.
And what a great way to enjoy eggplant! I used to think eggplant was a picky vegetable, but this eggplant roll ups recipe (plus this miso baked eggplant, yum) made me fall in love with this vegetable. No need to soak or cover the eggplant in salt in this case, super easy and much quicker.
Hope you give it a try! ❤️
Why you'll love this recipe
- Healthy and hearty vegan comfort food recipe
- Tasty recipe to eat more veggies, but that feels like eating pasta!
- Easy and fun to make, plus makes for a appetizing beautiful dish if serving to guests
- High in plant-based protein and very satisfying, thanks to the dairy-free tofu filling
- Great for meal-prep and makes for amazing leftovers
- Eggplants: aim for 2 medium-sized eggplants. You might have enough of one eggplant if it is very large and you slice it pretty thin. You will need 12-14 slices of eggplant for this recipe.
- Marinara sauce: use store-bought for convenience or make your own marinara sauce.
- Tofu: you will need a block of firm or extra firm tofu. This is the base of the vegan ricotta cheese!
- Fresh garlic: or use garlic powder instead if that's all you have.
- Onion powder: to flavor the tofu ricotta cheese.
- Nutritional yeast: adds a nice cheesy flavor the the tofu filling, I used 2 tablespoons, but add more if you are a fan.
- Lemon juice: so flavorful + fresh and adds a nice balance of tangy flavor to the vegan cheese. Use apple cider vinegar instead if you don't have any lemon.
- Dried herbs: use whatever Italian style dried herbs you like, I went for a mix of oregano and basil.
- Vegan almond parmesan cheese: or store bought parmesan or simply more nutritional yeast. This is the final touch to sprinkle over the dish before baking to add more flavor and an extra layer of texture.
How to make it
If you plan on using homemade marinara sauce, start by making it so it can simmer and thicken while you make the rest of the dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 400º and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice off both extremities of the eggplants and cut them in about ¼ inch thick slices. It can be a little tricky to get nice equal slices, but that's fine if it is not perfect. You will need 12-14 slices (check out my quick video to see how I do that)
Once done, turn down the oven to 375º.
Bake the eggplant
Place the slices of eggplant on the prepared baking sheet and spray some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over (optional).
Then, bake for 15-20 minutes. The goal here is not to roast the eggplant or brown it, but simply to bake it long enough to soften the slices so we can roll them. The eggplant will keep cooking later on!
Make the tofu ricotta
While the eggplant is baking, make the ricotta. To a food processor, crush the tofu using your hands and add the crushed garlic, nutritional yeast, onion powder, dried herbs, lemon juice and salt.
Process until creamy and uniform and taste to adjust flavor to your liking. Set aside.
Assemble and bake
To the bottom of a baking dish (a 13 x 9 inches dish works well), add about 1 cup of marinara sauce and spread out all over the surface. Then, place one slice of eggplant over a plate or a clean surface and spread some tofu ricotta over (about 3 tablespoons). Then, roll from bottom to top and transfer to the prepared baking dish with the seam down.
Keep going until you have no more eggplant slices left. Scatter more marinara sauce over the eggplant rolls and also sprinkle some vegan parmesan cheese or more nutritional yeast over.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely bubbly.
Serve right away with some fresh basil and more parmesan cheese.
Watch how to make it
- If you struggle to slice the eggplant thin enough, then you could also use a mandoline. But, as mentioned above, it is fine if your slices aren't perfect and all equal. Some might be thinner, some might be thicker, but at the end, it won't make a huge difference. Just do your best!
- Also, don't peel the eggplant!
- For a melty final touch, you can also top the dish with vegan mozzarella cheese. I usually don't include that to avoid processed ingredients, but it would work well here. OR, garnish with a vegan cashew cream just like I did in my vegan baked ziti.
- I recommend to crush the garlic into the food processor instead of simply adding the clove whole to make sure the garlic is well distributed within the ricotta.
Variations to the recipe
This recipe is quite simple highlighting the eggplant, tomato sauce and ricotta. But, you can add so much more to this meal! I think there is a lot of room to fill the ricotta stuffing with more veggies such as:
- Roasted mushrooms
- Wilted spinach or kale
- Jarred + chopped roasted red pepper
- Steamed + chopped broccoli
Also, I have made this recipe including lasagna noodles alongside the eggplant, just to make it more filling. To do it that way, simply boil the noodles until al dente and place one lasagna noodle over each of the slice of eggplant before spreading the ricotta and rolling. Slice the lasagna noodles in half if necessary.
Also, you can add some fresh basil, capers, red pepper flakes or chopped kalamata olives in the marinara sauce to boost the Italian flavor of this dish even more.
What should I serve with eggplant rollatini
I love serving this dish simply with a side of bread. It will make your meal more substantial but also, the bread is fun to dip in the extra tomato sauce and creamy tofu ricotta oozing out of the rollatini.
Simply pair with a French baguette or if you feel like making your own bread, then those whole wheat buns would be amazing with this recipe.
A side of brown rice would also work well and would add a healthy grain to help you feel fuller.
You can also serve this dish with a side green veggie, such as broccolini or green beans, but a fresh green salad would also be perfect and lighten up the meal a bit. Try pairing with this kale crunch salad!
Keep leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
These Italian-inspired rollatini are actually great for meal-prep. You can make the whole dish ahead and simply reheat individual portions using the microwave OR reheat the whole dish using the oven until warmed up.
Yes! Instead of making the tofu ricotta, make this cashew ricotta. This is what I used to make my lasagna roll ups, just as delicious!
I don't think it is necessary here, but I know some might disagree. Salting the eggplant can remove some of its bitterness (which I don't find that strong compared to other veggies) and also pull its water out (which I don't think is necessary in that saucy baked dish).
- Vegan white sauce lasagna
- Vegan baked cauliflower mac and cheese
- Creamy baked ziti
- Vegan creamy garlic pasta with Vegetables
- Eggplant and cauliflower curry
I hope you like this vegan eggplant rollatini recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
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Vegan Eggplant Rollatini
- 2 medium-large eggplants - cut in ¼ inch thick slices (about 12-14 slices total)
- 2 ½-3 cups marinara sauce
- vegan almond parmesan - or more nutritional yeast, to taste
- 14-16 oz extra-firm or firm tofu - drained and patted dry
- ½ lemon - juiced
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 clove of garlic - crushed
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried basil or oregano or a blend
- ½-1 tsp salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, distribute the eggplant slices over the baking dish and spray some oil and sprinkle some salt over. Bake the slices for 15-20. The goal is not to roast the eggplant slices or brown them, but mostly to soften them ebough so we can roll them. Once done, set them aside to cool down and turn down the heat to 375º.
- Meanwhile make the tofu ricotta. Use your hand to roughly crush the tofu into a food processor. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic (crush it first), dried herbs, onion powder, lemon juice and salt. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
- Add about 1 cup of the marinara sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish (13 x 9 inch work well). Then, once cool enough to handle, place one eggplant slice over a plate or a clean counter. Then spread some of the tofu ricotta all over the slice being gentle enough not to break it (about 2-3 tablespoons). Then, roll the eggplant from bottom to top and transfer over the prepared baking dish (seam side down). Keep going until you have no eggplant slices anymore.
- Then, pour the remaining marinara sauce over the rolls and sprinkle some vegan parmesan cheese over (or more nutritional yeast).
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until warm and nicely bubbly. Top with fresh basil (if desired) and serve.
- Store any leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Reheat using the microwave or the oven.
- You can use store-bought marinara sauce for a quicker and more convenient recipe or make your own marinara sauce from scratch.
- The eggplants can be tricky to slice thinly and evenly. It is fine if it's not perfect! Feel-free to use a mandoline if you have one.
- Serve with a side of bread and a green salad.
Tofu ricotta has nice flavor but eggplant did not get tender. I needed more specific instruction about how tender eggplant supposed to be at pre-baking.
After 20 min of pre-baking, yes, they were soft enough to roll up, but the final baking for 20 min did not give enough time to let it tender. It needed to pre-bake longer or to final-bake longer, I'm not sure which. The recipe needed more specific ideas of how tender eggplant should be.
Hi Naomi, thanks for sharing. I'm sorry the eggplant were not soft enough, they should be pretty tender after baking for a total of 40 minutes. Maybe the slices were too thick or that might have to do with different oven. You can peak at the eggplant with a knife to see how tender they are after baking for 20 minutes with the sauce. Hope that helps!
My whole family loved this meal. Eggplant is not my favorite vegetable, but I will do this recipe again. I struggled to slice the eggplant, my slices were not all the same thickness, but it actually worked out at the end. This is pretty good, thanks for the recipe!
Hi Esther, thanks for sharing. Yes I think the tricky part is to slice the eggplant! I'm glad you and your family liked it though, thanks for your comment! 🙂
Super delicious, highly recommend !
Hi Suzy, thanks for your comment! 🙂
This was very good! Will make again.
Oh that's great! Thanks for your comment! 🙂