Eggplant Rolls: the Recipe for a Quick, Stringy and Delicious Main Course

Total time: 15 min prep/ 30 min bake
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Calling all veggie lovers and meatball enthusiasts!  This is not your average dinner! Filled with a savory ground beef mixture and covered in a blanket of pan-fried eggplant, these Eggplant Rolls with Ground Beef are perfect for a weeknight dinner. It’s easy to make too! First, eggplants are fried until golden brown. Then, a simple ground beef mixture gets tucked inside each slice.  Topped with tomato sauce, the dish is then baked until golden. It’s the perfect option for busy weeknights or relaxed weekend meals.

What are Eggplant Rolls with Ground Beef

Eggplant rolls with ground beef feature fried slices of eggplant stuffed with a savory meat mixture and baked in a simple tomato sauce. It's a hearty yet versatile main course perfect for any occasion.

Stuffed vegetables are prevalent in Mediterranean cuisine. Dishes like Turkish "Imam Bayildi" (meaning "the Imam fainted") feature eggplant stuffed with various fillings, including meat.

Similar dishes exist worldwide.  Greek "Melitzanes Papoutsakia" (little shoes) are eggplant halves stuffed with meat, while Italian "Melanzane alla Parmigiana" layers eggplant with tomato sauce and cheese.


  • Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and let them sit for 15 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture, ensuring a crispier result. Pat the slices dry with paper towels
  • Don't overcrowd the pan when frying the eggplant. This ensures even cooking and browning.
  • If you prefer a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat and add crumbled tofu, lentils, or chopped vegetables to the filling.
  • Experiment with different cheeses! Feta, ricotta, or a blend of Italian cheeses would all be delicious variations.
  • This dish can be easily adapted for vegetarians by using crumbled tofu, lentils, or a combination of chopped vegetables in place of the ground beef.

Can I Use A Different Type Of Ground Meat?

Yes, you can! While the recipe calls for ground beef, you can easily substitute ground turkey, lamb, pork, chicken, or even a combination for a lighter option.

What If I Don't Have Breadcrumbs?

No problem! You can substitute with crushed crackers, rolled oats, or even crumbled tortilla chips.

How Do I Know When The Eggplant Is Cooked Through?

The eggplant should be tender and easily pierced with a fork. You can also peek at the bottom of the rolls during baking; if they're golden brown and the filling is bubbling, they're likely done.

Do I Have To Pre-Salt The Eggplant?

Salting and letting the eggplant slices sit for a while draws out excess moisture, resulting in a crispier final product. However, if you're short on time, you can skip this step. Just be aware that the eggplant might release more moisture while frying.

Can I Make It Ahead Of Time?

Yes! You can assemble the eggplant rolls and store them in the refrigerator for up to a day before baking. Just bring them to room temperature before baking for best results. Leftovers can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

How to Store Eggplant Rolls

Leftover eggplant rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan or oven until warmed through.


Oil for frying
minced meat
50g (1/2 cup)
Olive oil
20ml (1 1/2 tbsp)
Tomato sauce

How To Make Eggplant Rolls

Preheat the oven to 190°C (374°F). Slice the eggplants lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden brown and softened on both sides. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

While the eggplant cooks, combine the ground meat, chopped onion, egg, paprika, thyme, pepper, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well until everything is evenly incorporated.

Lay an eggplant slice on a clean working surface. Spread a spoonful of the meat onto one side of the eggplant.

Carefully roll up the eggplant slice, enclosing the filling. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and meat mixture.

Transfer the eggplant rolls to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour the tomatoes with their juices evenly over the rolls. Pour a teaspoon of the tomato sauce on each eggplant roll.

Bake the eggplant rolls for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the tops of the rolls with shredded cheese. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the filling is heated through.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Every dish has a story
Find out more on Cookist social networks
api url views