Grilled Eggplant Rolled with Ricotta and Basil

Did you know that eggplant is a berry?!?!  Berry or not, I’m still going to say it’s part of my vegetable intake =)  Eggplant is a little tricky sometimes, but when it’s made right, it’s SOOO good.  It has this smooth and creamy melt-in-your-mouth quality to it, and it goes really well with the ricotta basil filling.  Try to find some high quality ricotta at the store, or even make your own.  It’s very simple and is TOTALLY worth the small bit of effort.  Here’s how to make this tasty little appetizer:
1 large eggplant
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped basil
salt and pepper

Thinly slice the eggplant (down the length of the eggplant, so you get the longest pieces possible), and rub the pieces with salt.  Place the eggplant in a colander and let it drain for one hour.  This process is called purging and what we’re doing is letting the salt draw out any juices carrying super bitter flavor.

While the eggplant drains, mix together the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, olive oil, parmigiano, red pepper flakes, and chopped basil.  Season with salt and pepper, and taste.  Make desired seasoning adjustments.

After the eggplant has been purged, rinse the slices well, then dry with paper towels.

Preheat a grill (or a big cast iron pan) and grill the eggplant about 3 minutes on each side (depending on thickness).  Taste a little piece before you remove the eggplant to make sure it’s cooked.  Undercooked eggplant really doesn’t taste good.
Place a small spoonful of the cheese mixture at the base of the eggplant, then roll it up.  Enjoy!

Click here for the printable recipe.

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31 Responses to Grilled Eggplant Rolled with Ricotta and Basil

  1. Sara says:

    I LOVE eggplant, it is just always too intimidating to cook with!! I can never figure out how to peel or cut/slice it!! This recipe looks SO yummy though, like eggplant manicotti! 🙂

    • Joanne says:

      Ooo yes you’re right, it is like eggplant manicotti! I didn’t even think of that. The key to eggplant is making sure it’s cooked through (it’s better to overcook than undercook eggplant). If you have a mandolin it makes slicing easier but I just use a knife and board because mandolins scare me! I want to keep all my fingers LOL

  2. It’s really eggplant rolatini without the sauce. So fresh looking and your pictures are always so wonderful.

  3. What a creative/fun idea! I have never made eggplant- do you believe it? Help me out here…should I serve this warm or cold? Sorry I’m clueless!

    • Joanne says:

      I can definitely believe it! There’s still quite a few ingredients that I have never cooked with…there’s just an endless amount of food and only so much time! I like to serve it warm, with the eggplant slices hot off the grill and the ricotta mixture at room temperature. You could warm the ricotta mixture as well if you want =)

      • Thanks for explaining 🙂 This sounds like something I MUST try! I love using the grill this time of year so I don’t have to heat my whole house up from the oven/stove!

  4. Ohhh, this looks fab!

  5. Anne Klein says:

    Oh my! I can’t wait to try this.

  6. Jeff says:

    Seriously yum! I think you are on the right path to cooking tricky eggplants!

  7. anna says:

    eggplant is a berry! whaaat!! i know its old nickname is ‘mad apple’ because early settlers thought it would make you crazy (because it’s related to poisonous nightshade, i think?). i had no idea it was a berry though so interesting!

    also these look FANTASTIC! the smooth ricotta with the grilled eggplant. yes please!

  8. Karen says:

    Your eggplant looks so perfect in that photo and I’m sure it was as good as it looks.

  9. Melanie says:

    Oh, they look perfectly delicious! I love eggplant… when cooked properly. 🙂

  10. Spice Sherpa says:

    So simple but delicious and perfect. I love eggplant and once planned my garden around growing all the necessary ingredients for eggplant parmesian. I’d enjoy eating these for dinner.

  11. I did not know eggplant was a berry! I knew it was delicious though 🙂 These look so good! I’m hoping my CSA will send us some eggplant soon and I can make these!

  12. mjskit says:

    These look fantastic! I should be seeing eggplant at the markets so I’m saving this for my future “to cook” list.

  13. It’s like an eggplant cannoli. I love it.

  14. tammyheff says:

    Looks delicious – going to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Pixi says:

    This was delicious! I substituted the cream cheese for avocado for a “healthier option” thanks for the inspiration 😀

    • Joanne says:

      OMG! Avocado instead of cream cheese…that is such a great idea! I will definitely be trying that. Thanks for sharing!!! And I’m glad you enjoyed the dish =)

  16. Pixi says:

    ps. i put them on an anti pasto platter and they where the highlight!

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  18. Deb says:

    I’m making out my grocery list now so I can make these soon. Could you let me know how many servings (or rolls) this recipe makes, just in case I need to double up? Thanks.

    • Joanne says:

      Hey Deb! It depends on how big your eggplant is, but I would say this serves 4-5 (assuming this is like an appetizer or side dish) and it made about 8-10 rolls. I hope you enjoy them!!!

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  21. This dish looks decadent so now you have 65,001 hits on this little number. The cheese and eggplant combo is delightful.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I love this… it looks so good I want to run out and get some eggplant, call some friends and call it dinner.

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