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Simple, savory, and flavorful, this Eggplant Pasta has it all. Sautéed eggplant in tomato sauce is mixed with your favorite pasta and topped with creamy ricotta to make your new favorite weeknight meal.
I have the perfect Meatless Monday dinner for you: Eggplant Pasta! Completely vegetarian, hearty, and out-of-this-world delicious, the Italian flavors in this simple pasta dish are sure to surprise you. All it takes are 6 ingredients and 25 minutes!
As much as I love my vegan eggplant parmesan, I wanted to create something even easier. This eggplant pasta dish is very similar to a traditional pasta alla Norma recipe. This Sicilian recipe is typically made with lots of spices and crushed tomatoes.
...I went the easier route and used jarred tomato sauce and a handful of ingredients to still come up with a filling and tasty meal you can make for weeknight dinners or meal prep.
Did I mention that eggplant pasta recipes are super easy to customize? The recipe is already vegetarian-friendly but can easily be made vegan and dairy free by omitting the ricotta cheese or using vegan ricotta. It’s great with gluten free noodles as well!
The sky is truly the limit with this dish. Whether you make it entirely vegan friendly, bulk it up with some chicken meatballs, or stir in extra roasted vegetables, you’ll still end up with a delightful dinner or a filling weekday lunch.
- It’s a delicious and healthy 25-minute meal.
- Every bite is full of fresh and bright Italian flavors.
- You can make it ahead of time and freeze it for a quick dinner that's easy to reheat!
- Eggplant: Diced eggplant is sautéed in a bit of olive oil with onion and garlic to create the “meaty” star of this vegetarian dish. Feel free to bake the eggplant in a 450°F oven instead!
- Tomato sauce: I use jarred tomato sauce instead of canned. Even though this isn’t traditional to the original pasta alla Norma recipe, it’s an easy option and gives the pasta much more flavor.
- Ricotta: A scoop of this delicious cheese adds a creamy bite to the pasta. Vegan ricotta cheese or even cottage cheese can be used as a lighter alternative if you wish.
- Pasta: I like using penne or rigatoni pasta noodles but you can use any kind you have on hand. Make this dish gluten free by using lentil, brown rice, or bean noodles instead.
- Add-ins: Beef up your pasta with more delicious add-ins, like grape tomatoes, roasted broccoli, chicken sausage, lentil meatballs, or mushrooms.
Step 1: Boil the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the box instructions, then drain and set aside.
Step 2: Sauté the eggplant. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion, and salt and fry until it’s soft. Finally, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Step 3: Finish the sauce. Remove your eggplant mixture from the heat before adding the tomato sauce. Give everything a good stir, making sure that your veggies are coated well.
Step 4: Add and garnish the pasta. Add the pasta and ricotta cheese to your sauce and mix it well. Spoon your finished pasta into bowls, top with fresh basil, serve, and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
-For deeper flavors, roast the eggplant instead of frying it. The Kitchn has a great post on how to roast eggplant.
-Don’t forget to heavily salt your pasta water! This will add a ton of flavor to your finished dish.
-For a saltier, cheesier pasta, swap out the ricotta for a mixture of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Can I eat eggplant skin?
Eggplant skin is edible but may be on the bitter side depending on how large the eggplant is. If you’re wanting to eat the skin of your eggplant, be sure to grab one that’s on the smaller side. Inspect the skin before cooking to see if there are any blemishes or bruises and remove them with a paring knife.
Can it be made vegan?
Absolutely! You can easily make this roasted eggplant pasta vegan by omitting the ricotta cheese. Alternatively, you can also use vegan friendly ricotta, mozzarella, or parmesan cheese instead.
What to serve with eggplant pasta
The simple, wholesome flavors of my eggplant pasta make this dish easy to pair with a variety of sides. I like serving it alongside sautéed asparagus or my broccoli cauliflower salad. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also make homemade bread, like my savory zucchini bread for a soft and savory pairing.
- Refrigerator: This eggplant pasta keeps best if the pasta and sauce are stored separately. Place the cooked pasta into one airtight container and your sauce into another. It keeps well in for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: Store the sauce in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy this savory dish, boil some fresh pasta, heat the sauce on the stovetop, and then combine the two!
More Italian vegetarian dinners:
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- 12 oz. pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 eggplant diced (approx. 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese regular or vegan
- 2 tbsp fresh basil for garnish
- Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water; drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet. Add the eggplant, onion and salt and sauté until the eggplant is soft, 5-7 minutes. Then, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Remove skillet from the heat, then pour in the tomato sauce and stir so that the veggies are coated. Add the pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Last, add a few dollops of ricotta cheese, then divide the pasta into bowls and top with fresh basil and red pepper flakes (optional). Enjoy!