Fifteen Spatulas

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


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 through. 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!

Leave a comment:


  1. Sara posted on July 14, 2011 at 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! :)

    • Joanne replied on July 14th, 2011 at 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

  2. Platanos, Mangoes and Me! posted on July 14, 2011 at 10:51 am (#)

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

  3. thedrivencook posted on July 14, 2011 at 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!

    • Joanne replied on July 14th, 2011 at 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 =)

      • thedrivencook replied on July 16th, 2011 at 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!

  4. freshandfoodie posted on July 14, 2011 at 11:01 am (#)

    Ohhh, this looks fab!

  5. Anne Klein posted on July 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm (#)

    Oh my! I can’t wait to try this.

  6. Jeff posted on July 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm (#)

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

  7. anna posted on July 14, 2011 at 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!

  8. Karen posted on July 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm (#)

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

  9. Melanie posted on July 15, 2011 at 9:25 am (#)

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

  10. Spice Sherpa posted on July 15, 2011 at 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.

  11. lacantinaencantada posted on July 16, 2011 at 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!

    • Joanne replied on July 18th, 2011 at 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.

  12. mjskit posted on July 18, 2011 at 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.

  13. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide posted on July 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm (#)

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

  14. tammyheff posted on July 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm (#)

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

  15. Pixi posted on July 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm (#)

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

    • Joanne replied on July 25th, 2011 at 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 =)

  16. Pixi posted on July 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm (#)

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

  17. Deb posted on July 30, 2011 at 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.

    • Joanne replied on July 30th, 2011 at 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!!!

  18. Bam's Kitchen posted on December 5, 2011 at 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.

  19. Anonymous posted on December 11, 2011 at 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.

  20. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies posted on May 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm (#)

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

  21. Anonymous posted on May 25, 2012 at 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?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 25th, 2012 at 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!

  22. Rose Trevathan posted on December 13, 2012 at 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!!!

    • Joanne Ozug replied on December 13th, 2012 at 12:34 pm

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

  23. Sheran posted on February 17, 2013 at 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?

    • Joanne Ozug replied on February 17th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

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

      • Sheran replied on February 17th, 2013 at 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. :)

        • Joanne Ozug replied on February 17th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

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

  24. Jocelynne posted on May 1, 2013 at 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.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on May 1st, 2013 at 8:21 am

      Thanks Jocelynne! Hope you enjoy it =)

  25. Carolina posted on June 20, 2014 at 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.

    • Joanne Ozug replied on June 23rd, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Oh that sounds awesome Carolina! Great idea!