Gluten Free Eggplant Roll Ups Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on August 31, 2009

I’ll never forget the first time I entertained on a big scale. I was 20 and it was a huge bridal shower for a good friend. I thought the secret to good entertaining (especially for a bunch of women) was to impress with fancy, complicated food and over the top decorations.

So there I was, un-showered, in my robe, sweating over the stove, stirring a fussy sauce and trying to single handedly see to all the last minute details that EVERY SINGLE DISH I was preparing needed. The decorations were only partially done, the vacuum cleaner was still out (I had only managed to vacuum half the living room) and I had piles of dirty pots and pans strewn everywhere in my kitchen.

Fortunately for me one of the older and wiser ladies of our group showed up early to help. After eyeing me with a look that plainly stated “OK, clearly you are stupid, I’m just going to have to take pity on you” she took the whisk from my hand, shooed my out of the kitchen, told me to finish vacuuming, put out a vase of flowers, scrap the elaborate decoration plan and get dressed! Her words of wisdom were “it is ok for you to be cooking when people come, NOT ok to be vacuuming.”

I have since learned to take the stress out of entertaining. I clean and decorate the day before and I keep the food great but simple.

These eggplant roll ups are a bit in the fussy side and I would not make them it I was having 20 for dinner but for a small dinner party I think they are delightful. Plus they can be made ahead and if the rest of the meal is simple (like maybe a roast leg of lamb and some Greek potatoes) then this one fussy little dish is acceptable. (Assuming the vacuuming is done that is!) And if tying them up with blanched chives is just a bit too over the top for you, use a pretty tooth pick to secure them instead.

I make these with a grill pan. I was recently sent a new grill pan by the great people at Scanpan. I gotta tell you I LOVE THIS PAN! It is non-stick yet you can cook at high temps and get those great grill marks we love. It cleans well and they even come with a lifetime warranty.

Scan Pan Grill Pan

And – I am gonna GIVE ONE AWAY! Yep, that’s right – a $150.00 ceramic, titanium, state of the art, super cool, grill pan – just giving one away. All you need do is leave a comment on this post before Sunday, September 6th, midnight EST and you are qualified to win. I will randomly pick a winner. Just please, please, please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. It would really be a bummer to win and never know you did!

Gluten Free Eggplant Roll Ups Recipe


12 long chives
2 red peppers
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large eggplant
8 ounces herbed goat cheese
1 handful baby arugula leaves


In a shallow bowl place some ice cubes and cold water, set aside. In a skillet or medium pan bring about an inch of water to a boil and then blanch the chives for about 5 seconds. Using tongs remove chives from boiling water and drop immediately into the ice water. When the chives are cold, remove from the cold water and lay out on paper towels to dry.

Meanwhile place peppers under broiler or over a flame and blacken the skin completely. Place in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap and let set for about 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and stem, scrap out the seeds and cut each pepper into 12 slivers.

Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the pine nuts. Toast for about 5 minutes shaking frequently until browned but not burned.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano.

Slice eggplant into ¼ inch think, round slices. You will want to have 12 slices in all. Brush oil and vinegar combination on both sides.

Heat grill pan over high heat until hot. Lay on the eggplant slices and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, you want nice grill marks and for the eggplant to get soft but not mushy or dried out.

When done on both sides, remove eggplant to a plate and brush one side with more oil and vinegar combination.

For each roll up lay out one blanched chive and top with an eggplant slice, top eggplant with a few arugula leaves, two red pepper slices (let these over hang the sides of the eggplant slices a bit) crumble on some goat cheese and add some pine nuts. Pull up the sides of the eggplant to the top and tie the chive in a knot to secure. Alternatively you can just secure the top with a toothpick.

Can be made a few hours ahead and kept in the fridge, wrapped with plastic wrap. Take out of fridge about ½ hour before serving.


A gluten free recipe that serves 12 people.

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Categories:    Appetizers
  • Peter G

    I remember the first time I tried high scale entertaining and tried a Thai fusion cuisine with the worst results! But you learn to simplify as you get older! (not so sure about being wiser though!)…I love this Mediterranean take on the eggplant roll up Carol…very easy and delciious!

  • Lauren

    That looks delicious! I've never thought of using eggplant to roll up a filling – definitely one to try =D.

    Not to mention the pan is gorgeous =D.

  • Gaile

    I love to entertain, and I too have made the mistake of overplanning the whole thing – even a whole menu of recipes i've never tried before. now I limit it to one new recipe per party/dinner, and go with things I know for the rest. Simple food elegantly presented can make a huge impression. I will have to try that rollup with some of the huge zucchini we're seeing everywhere. As for the pan – a nonstick pan that can take the heat must be a dream!

  • ~M

    Wow – gorgeous roll up and grill pan!

  • Tammy

    Those roll ups look really good! I have been learning about the wonders of zucchini this summer, and already decided that I was going to tackle eggplant next.


    Thank you for all the eggplant recipes!! I have been looking for GF ones! I also really need a new grill pan! Thank you!

  • Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    I am the only eggplant lover in my house and let me tell you…it kills me! I still make it for company and sometimes just for me! Those roll ups looks wonderful!

  • Janine

    This looks delicious! I'd love to try something similar with zucchini as well. I'm especially excited because I'd been entirely dairy-free since March but gave goat cheese another chance at a restaurant recently and everything seemed good. Hooray! I <3 goat cheese.

  • qwerkyqook

    yum, i have eggplant in my fridge as we speak!

  • portia2008

    this dish looks delightful, the pan too.

  • Diane-The Whole Gang

    This looks so good. Wish I could eat dairy. I wonder if raw goat cheese would work? And that pan! Scanpan is a better non-stick option than Teflon as far as our health and our environment goes. Good choice.

  • LoralieS

    Sounds delicious!

  • Sara

    I actually had a conversation tonight about the first time I entertained…it was a disaster, but definately a learning experience.

    That roll-up looks delightful!

  • Rachel

    This looks so good! It's so hard to find good vegetarian/gluten free appetizers that will please a crowd! So creative!

  • Gina

    I first had eggplant roll ups at a Tapas place here in Portland. I loved it! I think they somehow got them to stick together without ties or toothpicks, but I haven't been able to figure out how. Those chive ties are beautiful! Thanks for the idea, and the great reminder about how entertainment can become a disaster when you forgo simplicity.

  • Anonymous

    Those look delicious!

  • Jennifer

    Oh my I LOVE this idea witht he eggplant! This is the first Ive seen someone do this and I have to say I cant wait to try it out!

    Wonderful giveaway, that is one fine pan!

  • LV

    This recipe makes me, an adament hater of eggplant, want to try it again! This looks delicious and I think I'm going to rethink my opinion of eggplant and give it a try.

    PS – Love the pan and I need one too!

  • Holly (

    Wow! What a gorgeous-looking idea with eggplant. Can't wait to try it. Nice pan, too!

  • Tasty Eats At Home

    This looks so pretty & tasty! I too have over-planned my events, so I understand! And this pan – well, what better way for me to get a grill pan (one of the many things on my wish list) than to win an amazing one like this!

  • Elizabeth

    I had something very similar to this once at a restaurant in Little Italy, NY. Thank you for sharing, this brought back great culinary memories!

  • Jeanine

    That really is one beautiful pan! ;) And great tips about KISS (keep it simple, stupid!) when it comes to entertaining. Much more enjoyable for ALL involved then.

  • Carrie

    OOOOOOO!!!! I want a grill pan!!! That would be PERFECT for my little vegan self these days!! And that eggplant roll up looks amazing! Great tips as always Carol!!

  • Grace

    Your blog is always great, I have linked it to my blog at Keep on keeping on!!!!

  • Traci

    Awesome grill pan…count me in for the contest! I love to cook and entertain and swear I need more room for pots and pans than I need for clothes! LOL

    Great advice on the entertaining. Keep it simple and fun and even the entertainer can have a good time!

  • Heather @CeliacFamily

    Wow, that looks amazing. Picture perfect.

  • Kate

    I will definitely be trying this recipe. Looks so delicious!

  • Patti A

    Your eggplant rollup is beautiful. Eggplant and goat cheese are such a delicious combination. I always forget about using a grill pan. Maybe because I've never had one that I loved.

  • April M

    Thanks for the great recipe! I love finding new gluten free recipes and the grilled eggplant is a bonus, YUM.

    I have always wanted a grill pan because I too am an over-planner for parties and I would love to try it out with friends.

  • Elizabeth

    I have never wanted any part of trying eggplant,
    yet now it looks rather appetizing.
    Maybe now I have to rethink my eggplant prejudice.

  • Sherazada

    OMG I LOVE EGGPLANT! And those roll ups look delicious! I can't wait to try this recipe for myself!
    Entertaining for a large amount of people can be so stressful at times but nothing feels better than everyone praising all the wonderful (and gluten free) dishes you made!!

  • Hannihaus

    What a beautiful dish! BTW that pan is fantastic.

  • Karen

    Looks wonderful! I have been on an eggplant kick and that looks like a fun new way to try it.
    Thanks for the recipe and giveaway.

  • Andrea H

    Eggplant roll-ups were a favorite before the no-gluten thing… so I'm glad I can still eat them! They may be fussy, but so tasty!

  • Manisha (

    These look amazing! And the grill pan looks great too!

  • Brian W.

    Both the pan and the recipe look fantastic.

  • Cynthia Currado

    I love you ideas for meals and appetizers. Eggplant is doing rather well in my son's garden this year and that is a good thing because it is not doing well in ours. He is dropping by this week so I can help him with his grandfather's recipe for caponatta. We have it every year for Christmas at the beginning of the evening. This is his first experience in canning. But I love your idea of grilling and rolling the eggplant. I have always roasted my eggplant in the oven and can't wait to try it your way.

  • ladydi115

    I love this recipe, it looks so lovely. Another great and easy idea, during this time of year is roasted figs with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese, maybe topped with a little honey. It looks so fancy and is so easy to make. thanks!

  • ladydi115

    I love this recipe, it looks so lovely. Another great and easy idea, during this time of year is roasted figs with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese, maybe topped with a little honey. It looks so fancy and is so easy to make. thanks!

  • caroline

    I made something similar when I had guests over last weekend. I filled my eggplant rollups with ricotta and fresh basil and served them with tomato sauce. This looks even better!

  • CDM

    Goat cheese and eggplant….these look delicious.

  • The Gluten Free Life

    I've never been able to get up the nerve to try eggplant. There's something about it that just doesn't agree with my senses… That and I don't much care for veggies. I've gotten better with that over the last few years, but it's still a struggle some days.

  • GF Grannie

    Eggplant in the refrigerator as I type. This looks scrumptious! Know what I'm making tomorrow eve.And that pan looks like a keeper. I think it would be quite the addition to my kitchen.

  • John

    That pan looks gooood.

  • Sheila

    Hi there… Love your recipe. I am co-hosting a bridal shower on September 12… and I am thinking this recipe will be just the ticket! Although… I'd DEFINITELY appreciate the fancy grill pan so my eggplant would have lovely grill marks. Thanks for your great blog!

  • Amy Green (Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free)

    I am getting tons of eggplants from a friend…will have to try these. I need to work on my appetizer skills, too. (Grill pan would go beautifully with my new kitchen!)

  • The Short (dis)Order Cook

    Nice. These are like sophisticated and slimmed down rollatini. Better to grill your eggplaint than coat and fry it and get it too full of oil.

    I am obsessed with entertaining and I still have the need to go "all out" when I do. I don't know how much I'll ever curb that. I'm SUCH A DIVA.

  • Jenn

    What a great recipe! Plus, the giveaway looks amazing too!

    fastfeet17 at yahoo dot com

  • Leah

    This is one of those recipes with all of the good stuff – eggplant, goat cheese, etc all in one. I would never have thought in a million years to use the eggplant as a roll. Neat!

  • Solid Saenz

    There is something about perfect grill marks that make food even more appetizing!! Beautiful dish!

  • jill elise

    I'm dying for a grill pan, but not for eggplant- I'm allergic! Bummer.

  • Jonathan

    Eggplant is one of those items that people often do exciting things to make it edible(in my opinion). While often this has seemed to fail miserably, in my case, this dish might make me reconsider. That looks pretty fantastic to me and so exciting to cook in that pan!

  • Evie

    Yummy! I'm always looking for good eggplant recipes. It's hit or miss for me with eggplant, and my husband is harder to convince :) and a Grill pan would be so useful!

  • Jennifer R.

    Wow, looks delicious — and what an awesome giveaway — I would LOVE to win that pan!! Can't wait for your cookbook too :)

  • Kim

    I love eggplant!!! I need to make this & soon.

    I would love to win that pan! So cool!!

  • Dina

    OMGoodness, I think that is the most handsome pan I have ever seen! *giggles* I can't wait to try the Eggplant Roll Ups! ;)

  • conniek

    all i have is cast iron and i burned it a litte …and it was minus the grill marks but this is a most awesome way to eat eggplant. my honey who has always been wiser about fire is injured now and he is the true cook in our house (it's just the 2 of us now :) )and he doesn't cook out like he would like to so if you pick me i could actually replce him as the new griller :).

    i quit smoking last april and gained 25 lbs eating chocolate because i'm a slave to anything chocolate. since i found your blog i've droped 8 1/2lbs and i think this gluten free thing could actually have a future. i am for sure going to but your new book when it comes out.


    Tweet tweet!

    I've been falling in love with eggplant this summer, since there's one in the garden – first time ever. I like these ingredients. Though I'll probably just set it all on a plate rather than tied up in chives as it's just home, not entertaining. :)

  • Margaret

    Those look amazing and delicious! I am always looking for new eggplant recipes and this one is gorgeous to boot! :)

    Sweet pan as well..I've been eyeing one for a while.

  • Marissa

    t looks delicious! When I get eggplant my mind goes blank…I'll have to try this!

  • Anonymous

    These look fabulous! I just wish my husband enjoyed eggplant as much as I do!!


    Carol, you are the first Gluten Free Culinary Queen on TV! Congratulations! Fabulous on Daytime!
    The pan, a very healthy alternative if one will not use a BBQ. Good luck to all!

  • RecipeGirl

    Ha- that's me! I'm the one showering as my guests arrive, usually just throwing my hair into a pony tail because I didn't get it together in time. I'm getting better…

    This is a brilliant, darling appetizer. I'd take the time to tie the little blanched chives around for sure!

  • Lisa

    Most people think that being celiac is a tragedy, but I've been grateful because it's helped me think outside the box when I cook, and I've become a much better chef because of it. I still struggle, though, because I can't have food with gluten, dairy or high levels of fructose (=garlic, onions, apples, pears …). Again, I don't mind most of the time–it really does have its advantages–but I love to travel, and that's when it's hardest!

  • Becca

    The Roll Up looks REALLY good! yummm
    The Pan looks great too. Whoever wins it will be a happy cooker =)

  • Anonymous

    A random search through some of my regular GF cooking blogs looking for something special for zucchini bread found me hopping from one recipe to another here – only to find a random draw for a yummy looking grill pan below a very yummy looking eggplant work of art.

    Great recipes, thank you for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    I almost took a bite out of my laptop screen, the eggplant roll-up looked that good.
    Nice grill pan too.

  • Anonymous

    YUM YUM… we are switching to gluten free and absolutely love eggplant, so this recipe looks wonderful! Cant wait to try it.

  • Stephanie in Idaho

    I absolutely LOVE your site… Your photos are beautiful and I love your style of living!

    Pick me, pick me!

  • AllergictoAll

    oooh, a grill pan and a new gluten free recipe?! i am so excited!!!

    greenhills12345 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  • Merav

    That looks delicious! My birthday is coming up, so I've been looking for recipes to serve for a birthday dinner. I'll have to try these out. Yum…
    The pan looks amazing too!

  • Jennifer

    Entertaining is as stressful as you want to make it. I’m still learning!
    I love this roll-up idea. Thank you!

  • Jennifer

    my email is

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks for you comments Jennifer but this contest is closed. Hop over to our giveaway page to see what out current giveaways are!

  • Karen D

    I grew up eating eggplant parmesan cooked by my Italian Grandmother. I am so excited to find & try a new recipe for eggplant!!!

  • Pingback: 5 Easy Eggplant Recipes, Gluten Free | taste station blog

  • Kelly

    The first time I tried entertaining was for the toughest critics in my life: my parents. I had just moved out to my own condo and they had presented me with a BBQ as a birthday/house warming gift. Madly, I tried to ensure that the chicken and the potatoes that I was attempting make on the BBQ were cooking; at one point I frantically decided to put the potatoes in the oven and concentrate on the chicken. Needless to say between a small fire on the BBQ (it was my first time!) and over boiling some corn on the cob, I was more than a bit stressed. When we sat down in an attempt to eat the chicken, I remembered the potatoes in the oven. I ran to quickly take out the caserole dish…. which instantly slide in the hands of my newly acquired dollar store oven mitts … right onto my chest. How I managed this trick I have no idea; I still play it back in my mind. But I do know that hot dish to skin (I was wearing a tank top) makes for a nasty burn. I tried to hold back the tears and pretend like nothing happend, but the marking was just too large to hide. Needless to say I learned my lesson (which at the time was ‘do not entertain!’). I really enjoyed your story, thank you for sharing!
    Your recipe looks fantastic, I can’t wait to try them! We are actually entertaining soon, thinking I should try to make these in advance!! Are they meant to be served cold? or can/should you heat them up before serving?

    • Carol Kicinski

      OMG Kelly! Your story had me cringing and laughing at the same time! I am glad you have decided not to give up on entertaining. I make these in advance all the time, I just refrigerate them and then let them come to room temp for serving. Have a great party!

  • Rachel

    I really like this recipe and many others on your site. We deal with MANY food restrictions, including gluten, corn, and egg, so something like this tickles my fancy. Thank you!!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thank YOU Rachael, enjoy!

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