Paneer Eggplant Roll-Ups

These Paneer Eggplant Roll-Ups are filled with a creamy paneer and spinach filling and topped with a spiced tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. These vegetarian roll-ups are gluten-free and make a great dish to serve while entertaining!
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These Paneer Eggplant Roll Ups are stuffed with a paneer and spinach filling and topped with a spiced tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. This gluten-free recipe is perfect for entertaining during the holidays!

paneer eggplant rolls garnished with fresh basil

Colder days call for comforting dishes and when you think of comforting food, pasta definitely makes it to the top of that list. Isn’t it? The tomato sauce, pasta and all that cheesy goodness screams comfort.

These eggplant roll ups have the same comforting flavors but they are a little lighter on the tummy because we use eggplant slices in place of the pasta. And since it’s me, I had to give them an Indian twist (just like my paneer lasagna).

So, the sauce is spiced and flavored with Indian spices like garam masala, red chili powder, kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) and the filling has fresh paneer in place of the traditional ricotta cheese.

These Paneer Eggplant Roll-Ups

  • make a great gluten-free alternative.
  • is a lighter dish for the holidays.
  • can be prepped and made ahead in advance.
  • are great way to include some vegetables into your diet.
  • is ideal to serve while entertaining- each person can have 2 to 3 rolls each.

Three Parts to The Recipe

This paneer eggplant rolls recipe can be majorly divided into 3 parts!

Prepping the eggplant: which involves slicing the eggplant and then sprinkling salt all over them. This helps in releasing moisture from the eggplant thus making them less soggy eventually. The final step involved in prepping the eggplant is to bake them.

Making the filling: the filling is made with spinach and fresh paneer. The spinach is first cooked with garlic until it dries out. Make sure to remove all the moisture from the cooked spinach. I like using fresh paneer for this recipe since that makes the filling creamier.

Making the spiced sauce: it’s super easy to make this quick spiced sauce, all you need is a bottle of crushed tomatoes and you add spices, butter and cream to it and it’s ready.

over head shot of paneer eggplant rolls

Step by Step Instructions

Prepare the eggplant

1- Start by slicing each eggplant into 1/4 inch slices lengthwise. From a medium eggplant, you would get 6 to 7 slices. I have used 2 eggplants here (total weight 786 grams) and so I got 12 t0 14 slices in total.

2- Arrange the eggplant slices on a board and add salt generously over them. Flip and sprinkle on the other side too. Let the eggplants sweat for 15 minutes, they will release moisture and this will prevent them getting too soggy in the oven.

3- After 15 minutes, you will notice that the eggplant slices have released moisture. Take a paper towel and press against each slice. Pat dry each eggplant slice from each side. Then arrange them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spray with a little oil and bake at 400 F degrees for 10 minutes or until they soften up. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Make the paneer-spinach filling

4- Meanwhile work on the filling. To a pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add 4 to 5 chopped garlic. Sauté a few seconds and then add 250 grams of spinach. I have used baby spinach here. Stir and in a few seconds, the leaves will start wilting.

step by step picture collage of making paneer eggplant roll ups

5- Cook the spinach for around 8 to 10 minutes until the moisture from the spinach really dries out.

6- Then remove the pan from heat and squeeze as much water as you can from the spinach by squeezing it with your hands. Then chop this spinach and set aside.

7- To a bowl add 250 grams fresh paneer (I made paneer by curdling 1 & 1/2 liter milk with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, you can refer to this post on how to make fresh paneer. If you don’t have fresh paneer, add store bought paneer to warm water for 20 minutes, then grate it and use in the recipe) along with:

  • 250 grams chopped spinach (that we cooked earlier)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

8- Stir with a spatula until everything is well combined. Set this aside, the filling is done.

step by step picture collage of making paneer eggplant roll ups

Make the sauce

9- To a pan on medium heat, add 2 cups of crushed tomatoes. I have used “jovial” brand and it has no added sugar or salt. To that add the following:

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you are using crushed tomatoes with added salt then you can skip)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi

10- Stir until everything is mixed together and the sauce is heated up. Remove pan from the heat. Now all components of this dish are ready.

Fill & roll the eggplants

11- Take one of the baked eggplant slices and place it on a flat surface. Take 1 heaping tablespoon full of the paneer and spinach mixture and place it over the broad end of the eggplant slice.

12- Roll the slice until you reach the other end and seal it. The filling should help in sealing the slice. Fill and roll all the eggplant slices in the same way. You might be left with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling.

step by step picture collage of making paneer eggplant roll ups

Layer and bake

13- Take a rectangular baking pan (I have used a 32 cm rectangular dish, 12 x 9 inch) and add 3/4 cup the prepared sauce at the bottom of the pan. Spread it around the pan using a spatula.

14- Then place the prepared eggplant roll ups over the sauce, I have 12 rolls in this pan.

15- Top with remaining sauce, drop heaping tablespoons full of sauce over each eggplant roll making sure it’s well distributed.

16- Cut the fresh mozzarella cheese into slices and then break apart using your hands. Add the cheese over the top, I used 5 to 6 oz of mozzarella cheese here, you can use more if you like.

Cover with a large sheet of aluminum foil and bake at 400 F degrees for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted. You can also broil for a minute or two if you want to get the cheese a little bit brown. Top with fresh basil, let sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

step by step picture collage of making paneer eggplant roll ups

Make with Lasagna Sheets

You can make the exact same recipe with lasagna sheets. Cook the lasagna sheets according to instructions on the package and then layer them up with the same filling. The recipe will remain the same except of course when you use lasagna sheets, the recipe won’t be gluten-free anymore (until and unless you use gluten-free lasagna sheets).

Make Ahead Instructions

These paneer eggplant roll ups are easy to make in advance. You can prep the entire thing, cover it and place it in the fridge overnight. You can bake it the next day.

If you want, you can even make parts of this recipe in advance, like make the filling in advance and then just put the sauce and everything together the next day.

Useful Tips

  • Although “sweating” the eggplant (adding salt in the beginning) isn’t necessary, I recommend you do it. The slices are sturdier this way, I know it’s an extra step but worth it in my opinion.
  • You may add different vegetables like onion, peppers to the filling as well. I would cook these veggies along with the spinach.
  • If you don’t like mozzarella cheese or you have some other cheese on hand, you can definitely use that.
  • Make sure to cut all eggplant slices equally so that they cook in the same amount of time in the oven. Don’t cut them too thin- they will tear up after being baked and be difficult to roll and don’t cut them too thick either or they will be difficult to roll. 1/4 inch is perfect.
  • I made fresh paneer for this recipe with 1 & 1/2 liter milk (which yielded 250 grams of paneer), and I think it works great for this recipe. The fresh paneer makes the filling very creamy. However if you can’t make fresh paneer, use store-bought paneer and soak it in warm water for 20 minutes and then use in the recipe.
paneer eggplant rolls served in a plate with knife and fork

More Fusion Paneer Recipes

Paneer and Vegetable Lasagna is always a crowd pleaser and great for holiday parties.

Talking about entertaining, it’s hard to go wrong with a plate of these Paneer Nachos. These are dangerously addictive with all those flavors.

This Paneer Dip with Spicy Honey is so creamy and goes well with pita chips, baguette and more.

If you’ve tried this Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen and on YouTube to watch my latest videos.

Paneer Eggplant Rolls-Ups

over head shot of paneer eggplant rolls
Manali
These Paneer Eggplant Roll-Ups are filled with a creamy paneer and spinach filling and topped with a spiced tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. These vegetarian roll-ups are gluten-free and make a great dish to serve while entertaining!
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Prep Time 26 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 348 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants around 786 grams

For the filling

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 250 grams spinach I have used baby spinach
  • 250 grams paneer crumbled, fresh paneer preferred, made from 1 & 1/2 liter milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil

For the sauce

  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes canned/bottled, I used one with no added sugar or salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter salted
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste, if using crushed tomatoes with salt, you might not need any salt
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi crushed

5-6 oz mozzarella cheese

    Instructions
     

    Prepare the eggplant slices

    • Slice each eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices lengthwise. From one medium eggplant, you would get 6 to 7 slices each.
    • Arrange the eggplant slices on a board and add salt generously over them. Flip and sprinkle on the other side too. Let the eggplants sit for 15 minutes, this is called "sweating" the eggplant. They will release moisture and this will prevent them getting too soggy in the oven.
    • After 15 minutes, you will notice that the eggplant slices have released moisture. Pat dry each eggplant slice from each side using a paper towel. Arrange them on a lightly greased baking sheet, spray with a little oil and bake at 400 F degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

    Make the paneer spinach filling

    • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add chopped garlic and sauté few seconds and then add spinach to it (I used baby spinach). The leaves will start wilting as you stir.
    • Cook the spinach for around 8 to 10 minutes until the moisture from the spinach really dries out. Then remove pan from heat and squeeze as much remaining water as you can from the spinach by squeezing it with your hands. Then chop this spinach and set aside.
    • To make the filling, take a large bowl and to that add crumbled paneer (I use fresh paneer), prepared chopped spinach, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, garam masala and chopped basil. Stir with a spatula and mix until everything is well combined.

    Make the spiced sauce

    • To a pan on medium heat, add 2 cups of crushed tomatoes along with cardamom powder, garam masala, Kashmiri red chili powder, butter, tomato paste, cream, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, kasuri methi and 2 tablespoons water. Stir until everything is well combined and the sauce is heated through.
      The crushed tomatoes that I used had no added sugar or salt, if yours have added sugar and salt then adjust the amounts here accordingly.

    Fill and roll the eggplants

    • Take one of the baked eggplant slices and place it on a flat surface. Take 1 heaping tablespoon full of the paneer and spinach mixture and place it over the broad end of the eggplant slice.
    • Roll the slice until you reach the other end and seal it. Fill and roll all the eggplant slices in the same way.

    Layer and bake

    • Take a rectangular baking pan (I have used 12 x 9 inch dish) and add 3/4 cup the prepared sauce at the bottom of the pan. Spread it around the pan using a spatula.
    • Then place the prepared eggplant roll ups over the sauce, I could place 12 rolls into the pan. Top the rolls with the remaining sauce. And then with fresh mozzarella cheese.
    • Cover with a large sheet of aluminum foil and bake at 400 F degrees for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted. You can also broil for a minute or two if you want to brown the cheese a little. Top with fresh basil, let sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

    Notes

    • Although “sweating” the eggplant (adding salt in the beginning) isn’t necessary, I recommend you do it. The slices are sturdier this way, I know it’s an extra step but worth it in my opinion.
    • You may add different vegetables like onion, peppers to the filling as well. I would cook these veggies along with the spinach.
    • Make sure to cut all eggplant slices equally so that they cook in the same amount of time in the oven. Don’t cut them too thin- they will tear up after being baked and be difficult to roll and don’t cut them too thick either or they will be difficult to roll. 1/4 inch is perfect.
    • I made fresh paneer for this recipe with 1 & 1/2 liter milk (which yielded 250 grams of paneer), and I think it works great for this recipe. The fresh paneer makes the filling very creamy. However if you can’t make fresh paneer, use store-bought paneer and soak it in warm water for 20 minutes and then use in the recipe.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 15gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 708mgPotassium: 1268mgFiber: 11gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 6384IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 434mgIron: 4mg
    Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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