This spicy eggplant pasta recipe is a simple, healthy, and quick vegetarian pasta dish. It’s ready in under half an hour – perfect for busy weeknights.
I know how busy everyone is, so I like to include plenty of healthy, ready-in-less-than-half-an-hour meals on this blog, and many more will be coming in the next few months as we move into the busy fall/winter seasons.
This recipe is basically Pasta alla Norma, a Sicilian pasta with eggplant and tomato. Some recipes use ricotta salata cheese, but I took some liberties and just used parmesan reggiano for this version. I made this the day I got back from vacation, and I just wanted to git ‘er done, not hunt for ricotta salata (it’s not the same as the ricotta we all know – it’s a much drier version that can be grated). Alternatively, you can omit the cheese altogether to make the sauce vegan if you wish.
I can’t believe I don’t have an eggplant pasta on here yet. I have other eggplant recipes, including my favorite Greek roasted eggplant dip, and my ever-popular grilled eggplant and spinach salad. Eggplant is so versatile, and it gives a nice, meaty (lack of better word) texture to otherwise meatless dishes.
This eggplant pasta sauce is really simple to make. Sauté the eggplant for 10-12 minutes, add in the rest of the sauce ingredients, toss with the pasta and a bit of the pasta water, and voilà! This is a great pasta recipe for those who prefer not to have a creamy sauce.
This healthy eggplant recipe is one of those meals that transitions perfectly from summer to fall. Eggplant is hearty and filling, but the dish is still quite light and fresh. The eggplants at my local grocery store were still looking very nice. I know you can get them year-round, but I sometimes find it to be slim pickings in the winter.
You want to choose an eggplant with a firm, glossy skin. The ones that don’t look as good also tend to be more bitter. I didn’t find it necessary to salt the eggplant beforehand to “sweat” out any bitterness, but if you want to do that step, it can’t hurt.
And, like with most of my recipes, you can adjust the spice to your liking. You can even leave out the red pepper flakes entirely if you choose. Whatever floats your boat. 🙂
Spicy Eggplant Pasta
This spicy eggplant pasta recipe is a simple, healthy, and quick vegetarian pasta dish. Ready in under half an hour, so it's perfect for busy weeknights.
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 dashes Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Large handful fresh basil, torn
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese or ricotta salata
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- Boil a pot of salted water and cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, warm the oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the eggplant pieces and sauté for about 10-12 minutes, or until they're cooked through and lightly browned, stirring fairly often. If the pan gets really dry, add in some more oil.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 20 seconds (stir constantly), or until fragrant (don't let it burn).
- Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and basil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan to add more flavor to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes.
- When the pasta is ready, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the sauce if desired, and toss the pasta with the sauce. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and parsley and serve immediately.
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