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Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest I know that some of you are currently dealing with some seriously hot temperatures.

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

But I’m going to tell you to turn your oven on anyway (clearly I am not one of those people with the hot temperatures).

I know, why oh why am I so mean? I feel like my siblings ask themselves this question daily. I promise that I have only your best interest at heart. I mean, are you looking at what I am looking at?

Cheese, eggplant, Italian sauce and pasta?!? See, only your best interest here.

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

So maybe you sweat a little? What’s the big deal? Cheese, tomatoes, eggplant and pasta are worth it if you ask me. Wouldn’t you agree?

In all seriousness though, you have to make this. Maybe you don’t have to make this today if it is 90+ degrees and you just cannot bear to turn your oven on, but at some point you have to make this. The great thing about this dish is that you can make it well into the fall, even year round if you can find decent tomatoes (cherry tomatoes seem be my best bet), so it is very versatile. Think of it as a lighter lasagna, but with eggplant, angel hair and some killer fresh tomatoes, all in a basil turkey ragu like sauce. So yummy!

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And speaking of tomatoes, over the weekend, my dad found me some of the prettiest heirloom tomatoes at our neighborhood farm stand. Like I am SO excited about them. The sad thing is that I am going out-of-town tomorrow until late Thursday night and am worried they’ll be all dimpled by then – Nooo! I have grand plans for those tomatoes, so assuming they are still in good shape, I already know that Friday is going to be a very delicious day.

Yay!! Also, have I ever mentioned that traveling, even little trips that are only for a short amount of time, really kind of stress me out. I want to go to all these places some day (helloo Sweden, Australia, London and Paris), but geez I HATE traveling. I’ll do it, but I really stress about it.

UGH. My Tieghan brain semi annoys me some times…ok a lot of the time…but then I make recipes like this one and I am ok with my brain again.

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Alright, so here’s a little secret about this Italian eggplant bake. It’s one of those show stopper dishes that’s actually not that tricky to prepare. Unlike last week’s fast and easy recipes however, this one takes a little bit of prep time in the kitchen. The good news is that nothing is hard AND it is a great dish to prepare in advance and then just bake before dinner, making your entertaining, and really just your everyday life, that much better.

Told ya, I got your best interests in mind.

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Also, if you are not wanting to fuss around with making eggplant rolls, you can do one of two things.

One: simply dice the eggplant and add it to the turkey mixture (you can also use ground chicken) when you are adding in the tomatoes. Then either toss the sauce with the pasta and top with cheese or layer the sauce over the pasta and top with cheese. Bake as directed

Two: Layer the eggplant slices with the pasta and the sauce and create a make-shift lasagna. Top with cheese and bake as directed.

Either option will taste just as good as the rolls, but I have to say that the rolls make for an extra fun presentation…and you all know I love a delicious pretty meal.

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Oh, and for the cheeses, I went with fresh ricotta and mozzarella, but I would have just used burrata if I had it. You can honestly use whatever your favorite cheese is. I think that a gouda, fontina and or smoked mozzarella would all be delicious too.

But like I said, any type of cheese would be good, and um, the more the better.

Monday food should be extra cheesy! You know, to fuel us through the rest of the week. Well cheese + carbs and chocolate…Mmmm!

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 601 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 large eggplants, cut lengthwise into thin slices
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or ground chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes or sub 1 (14 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup milk may sub water if in a pinch
  • 1/4 cup fresh mixed Italian herbs (I use basil oregano + thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese sliced
  • fresh parsley + basil for serving

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, drain and add to a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add the pesto + 1 tablespoons olive oil and toss well to combine and then evenly coat the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, season the eggplant with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until light golden, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the eggplant to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add the remaining olive oil. Add the ground turkey or chicken and the garlic and begin breaking up the meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and tomato paste, give everything a good stir and cook 3-5 minutes.
  • Slowly pour in the red wine and milk. Season with salt + pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs, crushed red peppers flakes + parmesan. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Spoon about 1/3 of the turkey mixture over the pasta. Grab the eggplant slices and place a little of the turkey mixture in the center, roll up the eggplant and nestle it into the pasta and stand up right. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. Depending on how large your eggplants are, you may not need all of the slices.
  • Dollop the ricotta cheese, over the eggplant and then add the mozzarella.
  • Baked for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and gooey. Garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Italian Turkey and Tomato Basil Eggplant Roll Pasta Bake… start your week off…deliciously!

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Comments

  1. I used my mandolin but didn’t really know how thin to slice the eggplant. Could you be more specific about that? I made quite a mess with the slices that are too thin. But I ended up chopping them up and adding to the tomato sauce for a meatless version.

    Also, the salted eggplant adds salt to the recipe, which I like, but might be worth mentioning in the recipe.

    1. Hey Molly,
      I probably cut my eggplant no thinner than 1/4 inch. I hope this helps for next time! xTieghan

  2. I have tried many of your recipes but this has been y far my favorite.My friend and I just devoured our dishes and are already planning on cooking it again. We used spinach gnocchi instead of pasta and it worked perfectly!
    Thanks!!!!

    1. Hey Adriana,
      Thanks a lot for making this recipe, it makes me so glad that it was enjoyed. Have the best weekend!! xTieghan

  3. There are a ton of days where I refuse to turn the oven on… but this pasta baske just looks so good I’m not sure a 90+ degree day would deter me.

  4. My mom had a roasting oven.
    In the summer she would run a cord out the kitchen window to the covered patio and put food in the roasting oven.
    I haven’t seen one in years but it could help keep your kitchen cooler in the summer if you had an outside outlet.

  5. Oh, I love how hearty this is . How do you come up with such brilliant dishes?. Just perfection.
    I need to make this asap.
    pinning.

  6. A beautiful and brilliant dish for a dinner gathering! I love eggplant and turkey, and eggplant parm is my husband’s fav dish. Pinning!

  7. This dish has two of my fave ingredients: egg plant and turkey. I usually only use ground turkey for my meat sauce and can’t resist a good egg plant parmigiana but have never thought to combine them and I’m loving it. Thank you for the inspiration and the eye candy 🙂

  8. This pasta is everything I love-hearty, meaty and eggplanty! It’s cold and windy here in London and I was set to make ice-cream but maybe I will make this pasta instead. Beautiful photography as always!

  9. “Eyes are bigger then stomach” syndrome happens a lot to me when looking @ your photos/recipes! Will make soon as it cools off!

  10. Ahhh I always love more eggplant inspiration!! Your photos have me totally inspired to turn the oven as hot as necessary to get that colorful cheesiness on my plate! <3

  11. Hot temperature–hell yeah! That doesn’t mean I’ll skip the toasty eggplant dishes like this, of course!

  12. This looks absolutely divine! I’m always on the lookout for how to make eggplant more exciting, and this will definitely do just that. This looks like so much fun to make! Can’t wait to cook this!
    May your heirloom tomatoes remain un-dimpled,
    xx Sydney

  13. I love how hearty this recipe is. And I’m with you, I don’t love traveling either. Once there I love it, but its getting there that I hate.

    1. Yup, that is exactly how it is for me too. I am actually dead sick currently and had to miss my flight. Figures. UGH.
      Thanks so much, Matt! Hoping you had a great Monday!

  14. Whatever the taste is, that look natural and amazing, I like italian kitchen, I like the little tomatoes as they are fresh

  15. I’m all over this! I love anything with eggplant. And don’t you hate when you can’t get to fresh produce fast enough! Hope your tomatoes stay beautiful for your return 🙂

  16. Mmmmm…I think I know what I want to make with all the fresh tomatoes out in our garden! 🙂

  17. But atleast if the tomatoes are dimpled they make some killer toassted tomatoes or we must make this dish because I can’t see why it wouldn’t taste killer in it!

  18. might have to bake this at night and then re-heat and serve the next day. but it sounds so good, and i like your suggestion to just dice the eggplant and toss it in. usually i want something tasty and don’t stress too much if it doesn’t come out as beautifully styled as the original!

  19. Oh MY. We’re in a heat wave right now and we’re at +100°F.
    Completely dying BUT this recipe looks so good and tasty and yummy. I might consider turning my oven on for that. Really. My mouth is watering yet.
    Keep up the good work, you’re amazing.