An easy and guilt-free way to enjoy lasagna! My low carb eggplant lasagna roll ups are made with tender eggplant instead of the pasta so you can enjoy a lasagna even if you’re watching the carbs! A great alternative for my gluten-free folks too!
I have been in a food rut.
Every week, I start off intending to eat healthy. A new bottle of homemade lemon dressing gets added to the refrigerator. A couple of boxes of crisp salad mix stacked, and a drawer of fresh veggies is at my fingertips, so I make healthier choices throughout the week. Now whether or not that’s actually executed is a whole different story.
Wanna know what really happens come Tuesday? I’m using veggies and serving salad, but the main course is usually pasta with protein, or I’m serving whatever we’re having with more rice than salad. It doesn’t help that the weather here has been dreary for weeks. I think it was still 2019 the last time I saw the sun out. And with gross grey weather, all I want to eat is comfort food for dinner. Kick the box of spring mix to the back of the refrigerator and hope that it lives to see another day. So you can see why I desperately needed these low carb eggplant lasagna roll ups. It’s comfort food but it’s also got a serving or two of veggies wrapped and smothered all over the cheese and meat, and guess what?
I actually craved a salad on the side to help lighten and brighten everything up.
Besides the apparent reason of being low carb, I love making eggplant lasagna roll ups because it’s a more relaxed and much more weeknight-friendly alternative to the labor-intensive traditional pasta, ricotta, and meat lasagna.
My trick to making eggplant lasagna roll ups quicker is using store-bought marinara and keeping the chopping to a minimum. Other than a couple of herbs and the eggplant itself, there isn’t much prep work involved for this recipe. The best part is, you can make the meat mixture for this recipe a day or two ahead of time, and when you’re ready to serve, roll up the eggplant sheets, cover with sauce and cheese and bake until it’s golden and bubbly.
What are eggplant lasagna roll ups?
Eggplant lasagna rolls ups are thin slices of eggplant that we wrap with a quick but traditional lasagna filling. Then we place the roll ups in a baking dish with marinara on the bottom and a little on top. Finally, you’ll cover it with a sprinkling of cheese because even if it’s eggplant lasagna, what is it without cheese?
What do you need to make eggplant lasagna roll ups?
- a large eggplant (or two small ones)
- olive oil
- lean ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
- tomato paste
- seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, etc.)
- ricotta cheese
- shredded mozzarella
- grated parmesan
- chopped herbs
- an egg yolk
- marinara sauce
Do you have a recipe for marinara that I can use when I make eggplant lasagna roll ups?
I do have a slow cooker marinara  recipe that I shared years ago that’s definitely delicious and would well for this recipe. In recent years, I’ve started using my homemade arrabbiata sauce  in place of the marinara, and it is so so good that way. Do give it a try! It freezes beautifully so you could make it ahead and use it for this (or other recipes) as needed.
How to make eggplant lasagna roll ups:
- The first step in making eggplant lasagna roll ups is to start with the eggplant. Remove the top of the eggplant, and find the side that protrudes out the most. Remove that bit so that you have a nice clean start. Then start slicing the eggplant into ¼ inch thin slices lengthwise. Take your time here; you don’t want to make uneven cuts as the eggplant won’t cook in the same amount of time then. Bake the eggplant in the oven for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- Heat your skillet until it’s nice and hot. Add the ground beef and crumble using a wooden spoon. Then, add the tomato paste and all the seasonings. Stir to combine and allow the ground beef to cook all the way through. Once cooked allow it to cool. At this point, you could refrigerate the meat mixture (or even freeze it) until you’re ready to make eggplant lasagna roll ups!
- Once the meat cools, stir in the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, and basil. Taste and adjust with salt if it needs more, if not, then stir in the egg yolk. Place the eggplant sheet on a clean surface, top with two tablespoons of meat mixture, and roll the sheet from one end to the other.
- Grab a 13×9 baking dish and spread 1/2 of the marinara (or arrabbiata) in the dish. I suggest a total of 2-3 cups of sauce depending on how saucy you like your food. If you want just a bit of sauce, use 2 cups (1 on the bottom and one on the top) if you prefer more sauce (like we do) use 3 cups total. Place the rolled eggplant sheets seam side down in the baking dish. Top with the rest of the marinara, then the cheese. Cover with foil and bake. Remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of baking to allow the cheese to bubble and brown on top.
Can you make the meat mixture for eggplant lasagna roll ups ahead of time?
Yes, you could even make the meat portion of this recipe a day or two ahead of time. That way, all that’s left to do the day you want to serve this is thinly slice the eggplants, stuff, roll, top with sauce and cheese, and bake!
Do eggplant lasagna roll ups reheat well?
My experience has been that they do reheat well. I usually remove leftovers from the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before reheating. It helps if you reheat in smaller portions than heating the whole thing up at once in the microwave. Smaller portions tend to reheat more evenly than a large tray of food.
Meaty, hearty, and filling and totally keeping you on track because the eggplant ‘sheets’ we roll the lasagna up in make it so delicious!
- 1 large eggplant (cut into 18 - ¼ inch slices lengthwise)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 14 ounces lean ground beef (turkey, chicken, or lamb work too)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon EACH: salt, onion powder, AND dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed fennel, red pepper flakes, AND black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons EACH: parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, AND chopped basil
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-3 cups marinara (arrabbiata 
- PREP: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place the sliced eggplants in a single layer on the baking sheets. When the oven is preheated, bake for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on as we’ll need to bake the rolls.
- MEAT: While the eggplant is baking, heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and crumble the meat using a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and season with the garlic powder, salt, onion powder, oregano, crushed fennel, red pepper flakes, black pepper, ground nutmeg, and stir to combine, let cook for 3 minutes or until the ground beef is cooked through and browned. Turn off the heat, and remove the mixture to a large bowl, and let cool completely. You can also do this part 1-2 days in advance to make prep easier for weeknights!
- CHEESE MIX: Once the meat mixture is cooled, stir in the ricotta cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, and basil. Taste and adjust with additional salt if needed, then stir in the egg yolk. In a 9x13 baking dish or in the dutch oven you used earlier, pour ½ of the marinara sauce and spread it out in an even layer. If you like more sauce or need it to serve with veggies, I suggest using a total of 3 cups, for less sauce, use a total of 2 cups (so here you’d use 1 cup and the other for topping)
- ROLL AND BAKE: Lay a slice of eggplant on a clean work surface, top with 2 tablespoons of the prepared meat and cheese mixture an inch above the widest part of the eggplant. Roll the space you left over the mixture and continue to roll all the way to the end. Place in the prepared baking dish with the open side down (so the dish holds it in place. And continue to repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. Top with the remaining marinara sauce, followed by the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella, cover and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and allow to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Broil for the last minute if you want the top to be extra bubbly and golden. Let sit a few minutes, then top with additional parsley if desired and serve.