Make Ahead

Zucchini Involtini with Swiss Chard & Ricotta

August 29, 2016
5 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

I discovered eggplant involtini via Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread. I didn't stray from the recipe for years, but recently I've learned the format is very adaptable: Zucchini can be used in place of eggplant (as here), and the filling can range from herbed ricotta to fresh corn polenta. The pictures here show the involtini stuffed with herbed ricotta as well as herbed ricotta mixed with sautéed chard. I like the addition of the chard but know that you can make these with a simple seasoned ricotta if that's more appealing: Just season the ricotta with salt, lemon zest, and thyme to taste.

Dish can be assembled ahead and stashed in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound zucchini, about 2 large
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 10 ounces Swiss chard, leaves removed and finely chopped, stems reserved for another use
  • 1 1/2 cups high-quality whole milk ricotta
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups favorite fresh tomato sauce
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line two sheetpans with parchment paper or Silpats, or rub lightly with olive oil. Trim the stem end of each zucchini. Stand each vertically, and make 1/4-inch thick cuts down to create long slices—these don't have to be perfect. Arrange the slices on the prepared sheetpans. Drizzle the zucchini lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pan to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove pans from the oven. Use a fork or spatula to flip each zucchini slice over, return pans to the oven, and roast for 5 minutes more. Remove pan from oven. Keep oven on. Note: The cooking times will vary depending on how thinly you slice your zucchini—if you slice them less than 1/4-inch thick, you won't need the full amount of cooking time. Know that the timing is forgiving, however—you just need the zucchini to be pliable so that they can roll into a coil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan set over high heat, heat the tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the chard leaves, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté, rearranging with tongs as necessary. Cook the chard for about 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove pan from heat.
  3. To make the filling, in a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. When chard has cooled briefly, stir it into the ricotta mixture. Taste mixture. Add more salt to taste—this is your chance to make sure the filling is seasoned properly.
  4. Spoon tomato sauce into two 9-inch round baking dishes or one 9x13-inch baking dish—the bottom of the dish should be covered in a thin layer. Place a spoonful (about 2 teaspoons) of filling at one end of each of the zucchini slices. Roll the slice into a tight coil and place it seam-side down in the dish on top of the tomato sauce. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake until the sauce has reduced slightly and is bubbling, and the rolls are lightly golden on top, about 25 minutes. If the rolls are still not golden after the 25 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the involtini for about 3 minutes keeping a close watch the entire time. Remove pan from the oven and shave Parmesan over top if using. I like using my microplane for this.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Risottogirl
  • Brigb
  • Emily Love
    Emily Love
  • Susan W
    Susan W
  • MMH
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

21 Reviews

Risottogirl May 21, 2023
I make this a few times a year when zukes are in season and I can find the biggish ones that no one wants.
My zuke hating husband LOVES this, I rarely have any leftover even if i double it. Having made it at least 20 times, I will offer a couple of tweeks that we like...

I chop and sautee the chard stalks and the imperfect zuke strips to add to the filling mix. Often this means extra filling which my husband loves on pasta with some extra lemon.

I add green garlic to the filling when the season overlaps with early zuke.

Instead of a cooked tomato sauce, I use good san marzanos from a can, spun in the blender with some basil or oregano (depending on season again)

But the recipe is utterly deliciopus as written :)
Daniela R. December 5, 2017
I made it with polenta instead of ricotta to make it vegan and it was delicious!
Alexandra S. December 5, 2017
Woohoo! Love this idea.
Lisa D. September 17, 2017
fantastic recipe. We had extra filling and filled a red bell pepper and roasted along with the zucchini rolls. Very yum!
Brigb August 22, 2017
This recipe was by far the best dinner I made in years. It's so simple yet scrumptious. I did'n change anything but lime instead of lemon which I didn't have.
Alexandra S. August 24, 2017
So happy to hear this!
Emily L. September 25, 2016
made this tonight and it was delicious! definitely not a weeknight meal - doubled the recipe and it took me a few hours to make (though I am a slow self-taught cook). the lemon really pops in the ricotta after baking which i loved!
Alexandra S. September 25, 2016
So happy to hear this! I love how the lemon comes through here, too. Sorry this took longer than expected!
Susan W. September 19, 2016
Just made this again last night. Shazaam!! I use the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce and your homemade ricotta from your eggplant Involtini. So delicious. I was giddy when I woke up this morning because I squirreled some away for breakfast!!
Alexandra S. September 19, 2016
Love that you woke up dreaming about leftovers :) So happy to hear all of this, Susan!! I know, homemade ricotta — so easy and such a treat, right? Hope you are well!
Claudia September 14, 2016
I used Lacinato Kale, sautéed in oil w/s&p, then into the food processor before adding to the cheese. I stood the rolls up in the sauce added more sauce and topped with mozzarella. Yum! Love the lemon! Added an unexpected freshness. Delicious.
Claudia September 14, 2016
I used Lacinato Kale, sautéed in oil w/s&p, then into the food processor before adding to the cheese. I stood the rolls up in the sauce added more sauce and topped with mozzarella. Yum! Love the lemon! Added an unexpected freshness. Delicious.
Alexandra S. September 15, 2016
Yay! So happy to hear all of this Claudia! Like the image of the rolls standing up. Thanks for writing in!
yiayia September 8, 2016
What would I do without your endless creativity! Summer is prolonged and healthy, fun dining continues! Great ideas. I had some mint in my "garden" and added that and some chives. Love the recipe.
Alexandra S. September 9, 2016
Thank you, yiayia! So happy to hear all of this. Chives and mint sound lovely.
CeeCee September 7, 2016
Loved this recipe! I used kale instead of chard, and sautéed a good amount of garlic with the kale for the filling. I also topped the involtini with homemade sauce and dollops of the leftover ricotta filling before baking. Really satisfying recipe utilizing summer veg!
Alexandra S. September 7, 2016
So happy to hear this CeeCee! Lots of garlicky kale sounds delicious. Thanks for writing in!
MMH September 1, 2016
We loved this. Fun to make as a couple but not too many steps to be tedious. Really loved the lemon zest in the filling. The flavor really stands out. We added an egg to the filling as a binder. We used fresh basil instead of thyme. And, we had just made roasted red pepper sauce so used that. It's sort of a genius peak of summer recipe to use what you have and what works. So glad you shared this!
Alexandra S. September 1, 2016
So happy to hear this, MMH! The lemon zest is so nice, right? I'm always amazed by how it shines given everything else going on. Thanks for writing in!
MMH September 1, 2016
Almost forgot the other plus - just had a family member go gluten free & low carb. For her this was so satisfying without feeling deprived of pasta.
Alexandra S. September 1, 2016
Such a plus! So glad your family member appreciated this.