Eggplant & Mozzarella Rolls

Eggplant or aubergine rolls are really easy to make and I tend to enjoy them better than traditional eggplant parmesan.  I've always made this dish using a combination of ricotta cheese and spinach, if feeling lucky, maybe some parma ham.  The other day while watching BBC Saturday Morning Kitchen (love that show!), I saw a version that simply uses fresh mozzarella and arugula.

For the rolls...
-1 whole eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1 cm slices.  A mandolin is perfect for this, that is if you can avoid slicing off your finger.  I trust myself better with an old fashioned knife. 
-olive oil for pan frying
-salt to season
-fresh buffalo mozzarella

For the sauce... my version of tomato sauce is a base for making different varieties, I usually keep it like this because it's simple and delicious.  Of course this can be spruced up with other flavors like carrots, celery, pepper, fresh herbs, wine...
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 clove chopped garlic
-half a diced yellow onion
-tinned chopped tomatos, a good kind
-1 tbsp sugar
-dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme...)
-crushed red pepper if you like spice
-salt and pepper to taste

Start making the sauce by cooking the garlic and onion together in olive oil for a few mins, making sure it doesn't brown.  Then throw in the tomatos and everything else...let simmer while preparing the eggplant. 

After slicing the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 10-15 minutes.  I like to do this because it draws out some of the eggplant's moisture so it's not too bitter also cooks more evenly.  But I don't think it's entirely necessary.  Start by pan frying or grilling the eggplant slices until soft and slightly browned.  Once done, stuff and roll the slices up with the mozzarella and arugula.

In a baking dish, pour a little tomato sauce at the bottom.  Then lay out the eggplant rolls. Top with the rest of the tomato sauce and more cheese if you'd like.  Bake for 30 mins at 400c, when nearly done I like to add some fresh basil to the top.  Based on this picture, Matt doesn't quite share my same love for basil..

We ate this with some rosemary roasted potatoes and it was perfect.


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