Eggplant Rollatini is such a delicious and comforting Italian meal. In my version, breaded slices of eggplant are air fried, then stuffed with a delicious mixture of ricotta, mozzarella, and pecorino Romano cheeses. Layered with fresh homemade marinara sauce and baked to perfection, Air Fried Eggplant Rollatini is a lightened-up version of this classic meal.
What you’ll need to make Air Fried Eggplant Rollatini
For the marinara sauce, you will need:
- olive oil spray
- crushed tomatoes
- fresh basil
- kosher salt
Can I use jarred marinara sauce?
Absolutely. Just beware, the stats of this recipe will change based on whatever you use. I recommend making your own, just because it’s so simple, and it’s delicious.
For the filling, you will need:
- part-skim ricotta
- part-skim mozzarella
- grated pecorino Romano
- fresh cracked pepper
- an egg
For the air fried eggplant, you’ll need:
- eggplant (two small ones will do)
- this recipe calls for 12 slices of eggplant, approximately 1/4″ in width each, so use your judgment when at the store
- egg whites
- Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, like these form 4C
- olive oil spray
Using the Air Fryer
I always get questions on this. The air fryer I use is this one: Gowise 7qt air fryer. Air fryers and I have had our history; I have gone through a bunch, and this is by far my favorite. It really makes my food nice and crispy, unlike some of the others I have tried in the past.
My recommendation is investing in one. You can find them relatively inexpensively at most stores. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can typically use the convection bake option on your oven. I like using a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack to do this. The space underneath the wire rack allows for the air to really circulate around the food, just like how it does in the air fryer.
If you are using the oven, I would use a high temperature (425F should work). I haven’t tested this recipe in the oven yet, but just keep your eye on the eggplant until they become nice and golden.
How to prep and air fry the eggplant
To bread the eggplant and prep it for air frying, assemble your breading station. This just means to get two shallow bowls, one for the egg whites and one for the breadcrumbs.
Trimming and prepping the eggplant
Next, trim the ends off your eggplant. You can also peel the skin off the eggplant; I leave the skin on though (personal preference).
Then, cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4″ slices. We are looking for twelve total eggplant slices. Depending on the size of your eggplant, this might be done with one or two eggplants. If you have extra slices leftover, you can bread and air fry those as well, and eat them on a sandwich (delicious!). Or, you can save the extra eggplant and grill or sauté it with other veggies for another dish.
Before we get to breading the eggplant, you need to lay the slices out and sprinkle them with salt. This step is super important when it comes to making eggplant like this. It helps draw out excess moisture, and it also reduces some bitterness in the eggplant. First, lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, and then sprinkle them with kosher salt on both sides. Allow them to sit like this for 15 minutes.
Once the 15 minutes is up, rinse the salt off of the eggplant slices, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Breading the eggplant
Next, take each eggplant slice and dip it in the egg whites, followed by the breadcrumbs. Add olive oil spray to the basket of the air fryer, and then lay the first batch of eggplant slices down (I did this in three batches, four slices of eggplant per batch). Spray the tops of the eggplant with the olive oil spray, and air fry at 375 for 10 minutes. Flip the eggplant halfway through, and spray the tops again with more olive oil spray.
Place your fried eggplant slices on a dish until they are all cooked. Once they are all finished cooking, we can get started on the next steps.
Making the fresh marinara sauce
This recipe includes the steps to make a quick homemade marinara sauce. Don’t fret! You can definitely skip this step and just use marinara from the jar, but I promise you, this step takes an extra 5 minutes of prep and is worth it.
I love showing people how I make fresh marinara sauce, because once they see how easy it is they say… “that’s it? I’m never buying jarred sauce again!”
To make the sauce, simply add the chopped garlic cloves to pan with some olive oil spray. THEN turn the heat on the pan to medium. This allows the garlic to slowly start to cook. The garlic will become fragrant in about a minute or two. This prevents the garlic from burning. Have you ever added garlic to a screaming hot pan with oil, and it seized up and burned within seconds? Yeah, that’s what we want to avoid here. Burnt garlic = bitter. And it will ruin your dish.
Once the garlic becomes fragrant, you will add the can of crushed tomatoes. Bring it to a slow boil and add some salt to taste. Tomatoes need a bunch of salt to bring out their flavor, so don’t be afraid of it. Add a little at a time and taste as you go. Then stir in the fresh basil. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes while you are preparing the other ingredients.
Add a layer of sauce to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Air Fried Eggplant Rollatini: Making the cheese filling and stuffing the eggplant
Grab a small mixing bowl, and simply add the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese (reserve 1/4 cup), pecorino Romano cheese (reserve 1 teaspoon), egg, basil and parsley to a bowl. Add a quick turn of fresh cracked black pepper, and then stir everything together.
After you’ve made the filling, lay the cooked eggplant on a flat surface so you can start to roll them up. To fill the eggplant, first, place a heaping tablespoon of the filling at the base of each piece of eggplant. Roll each piece of eggplant up and lay them in the baking dish, seam side down.
After all twelve pieces are arranged in the baking dish, you can cover them with the rest of the marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the reserved mozzarella and reserved pecorino Romano.
Cover the eggplant with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
Air Fried Eggplant Rollatini
- air fryer
- frying pan
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh
- kosher salt, to taste
- 7 oz part-skim ricotta
- 1 cup part-skim mozzarella, 1/4 cup reserved
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano, 1 tsp reserved
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp basil, fresh, chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped
- fresh cracked pepper
Air Fried Eggplant
- 2 eggplants
- 1/2 cup egg whites
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- olive oil spray
- Add the minced garlic to a sauce pan with olive oil spray.
- Turn the heat on to medium.
- Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes or until it becomes to sizzle and become fragrant.
- Add the can of crushed tomatoes.
- Season with salt to taste. Stir in the fresh basil.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Air Fried Eggplant
- Slice the eggplants lengthwise into 12 slices, 1/4" thick.
- Lay the eggplant slices flat on a baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- The salt will draw out the liquid from the eggplant. Let the eggplant rest for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the salt off, and then pat the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel.
- Pour the egg whites and breadcrumbs into two shallow bowls.
- Dip the eggplant slices into the egg whites, followed by the breadcrumbs.
- Spray your airfryer basket with olive oil spray, lay 4 slices of eggplant in the basket and spray the tops with more olive oil spray.
- Airfry at 375 for 10 minutes, flipping halfway and spraying again.
- Set aside and repeat this process until all the eggplant is cooked.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Spread a layer of marinara on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Place a heaping 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling at the base of each air fried eggplant slice.
- Roll the eggplant slice up and place it in the baking dish, seam side down.
- Repeat this process for all 12 rollups.
- Cover with the remaining marinara. Sprinkle with the 1/4 cup reserved mozzarella and 1 tsp reserved pecorino Romano.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes,
- Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes for the cheese to melt.
- 3 WW points per roll (all plans)
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