Grilled Eggplant Rolled with Ricotta and Basil

Did you know that eggplant is a berry?!?

I love learning little food facts like that.

Eggplant can be a little bit tricky sometimes. It can be epically delicious when it’s done right, but what else can you do besides the typical eggplant parmesan where you fry it up and pile on lots of cheese and sauce?

How about grill it and roll it up with a creamy ricotta basil filling? It’s a little healthier and you don’t miss out on any flavor.

Grilled Eggplant Rolled with Ricotta and Basil


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. After the eggplant has been purged, rinse the slices well, then dry with paper towels.
  4. 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 through. Undercooked eggplant really doesn't taste good.
  5. Place a small spoonful of the cheese mixture at the base of the eggplant, then roll it up. Enjoy!

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  • avatar Sara July 14, 2011, 10:04 am

    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! :)

    • avatar Joanne July 14, 2011, 10:12 am

      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

  • avatar Platanos, Mangoes and Me! July 14, 2011, 10:51 am

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

  • avatar thedrivencook July 14, 2011, 10:57 am

    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!

    • avatar Joanne July 14, 2011, 6:34 pm

      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 =)

      • avatar thedrivencook July 16, 2011, 11:18 am

        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!

  • avatar freshandfoodie July 14, 2011, 11:01 am

    Ohhh, this looks fab!

  • avatar Anne Klein July 14, 2011, 12:22 pm

    Oh my! I can’t wait to try this.

  • avatar Jeff July 14, 2011, 3:45 pm

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

  • avatar anna July 14, 2011, 8:00 pm

    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!

  • avatar Karen July 14, 2011, 8:22 pm

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

  • avatar Melanie July 15, 2011, 9:25 am

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

  • avatar Spice Sherpa July 15, 2011, 10:13 pm

    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.

  • avatar lacantinaencantada July 16, 2011, 9:35 pm

    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!

    • avatar Joanne July 18, 2011, 4:56 pm

      Oh man I wish I had a CSA where I am. They seem so fun and I love that you have to work with whatever you get! Sparks creativity.

  • avatar mjskit July 18, 2011, 10:00 am

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

  • avatar Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 19, 2011, 12:38 pm

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

  • avatar tammyheff July 23, 2011, 9:53 pm

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

  • avatar Pixi July 25, 2011, 6:37 pm

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

    • avatar Joanne July 25, 2011, 9:02 pm

      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 =)

  • avatar Pixi July 25, 2011, 6:39 pm

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

  • avatar Deb July 30, 2011, 6:31 pm

    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.

    • avatar Joanne July 30, 2011, 9:55 pm

      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!!!

  • avatar Bam's Kitchen December 5, 2011, 11:29 pm

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

  • avatar Anonymous December 11, 2011, 11:18 pm

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

  • avatar Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies May 9, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Wow, you learn something new every day! These look fabulous, by the way. Perfect for a summer barbecue.

  • avatar Anonymous May 25, 2012, 2:27 pm

    These look so delicious. I plan to make them this weekend. I have a silly question though…When you are purging the eggplant do you put it in water? Or does it just drain from the salt?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug May 25, 2012, 2:50 pm

      Hello, Water drains from the eggplant as it is drawn out from the salt (don’t immerse the eggplant in any water). We are drawing out excess liquid and bitterness from the eggplant =) Enjoy the dish! If you’re feeling up for it, you should do some homemade ricotta too…I make it all the time, it’s very easy and a million times better than storebought!

  • avatar Rose Trevathan December 13, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Our daughter Brandy is a vegetarian and this rec sounds fabulous for all of to share!!! Keep posting and we’ll keep following!!!

    Happy Holidays!!!

    • avatar Joanne Ozug December 13, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Hi Rose, it’s one of my favorite vegetarian dishes, hope you all like it! Happy holidays =)

  • avatar Sheran February 17, 2013, 2:40 pm

    This sounds tasty! I plan on making this for dinner this week for my husband and I. :) Quick question though, what would be a good side to serve it with?

    • avatar Joanne Ozug February 17, 2013, 7:37 pm

      I always thought of this as a side! haha. Are you guys vegetarian?

      • avatar Sheran February 17, 2013, 7:40 pm

        No, not vegetarian, just trying to eat a bit healthier and I thought this to be a heathier stuffed shells without all the sauces and cheese like you mentioned. :) I was thinking whole wheat pasta and a salad to make on the side though. Not sure if I’m overdoing/overthinking it though. :)

        • avatar Joanne Ozug February 17, 2013, 8:02 pm

          That sounds lovely! I think I need a salad right this minute =)

  • avatar Jocelynne May 1, 2013, 2:18 am

    This looks SO delicious! I have yet to try preparing eggplant on my own, so I think I’ll give this a try.

  • avatar Carolina June 20, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Delicious! I’ve been preparing this recipe for so long, and is one of my favorites. The way I finished this dish is, covering the rolls with home-made tomato sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella, put back in the oven until the cheese is melted.

    • avatar Joanne Ozug June 23, 2014, 12:29 pm

      Oh that sounds awesome Carolina! Great idea!


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