Roasted vegetables… my recent addiction. Recently I’ve been enjoying the simple taste of roasted vegetables seasoned with only a few ingredients. It’s very easy to make: wash, chop, coat with olive oil, and watch your oven do the rest of the work! They make for a satisfying, healthy, light lunch or side.
The three roasted vegetable dishes that I’ve found myself making over and over the past few weeks are roasted cauliflower topped with a home-made tahini sauce (recipe to come), roasted onions/bell peppers/ broccoli/asparagus topped with a Fig Balsamic Vinegar from Baker & Olive, and this Italian recipe which I’m sharing with all of you today.
Penne w/ Roasted Eggplant and Caramelized Onions tossed with a Tomato-Garlic-Basil Sauce.
This recipe was created through trial and error. In efforts to use up some home-grown eggplant, I tried roasting them and adding them to several dishes, but realized that although the roasted eggplant tasted great on their own, they didn’t quite go well with my balsamic vinegars or traditional simple seasonings. So, I decided to toss them into a pasta dish. I recalled a restaurant my husband and I would frequent in Little Italy, San Diego, where I loved this pasta with simple grilled vegetables and tomatoes, of which the eggplant was the highlight. The soft texture of the eggplant absorbed the sauce and flavors well. I wasn’t quite sure whether they fried or baked the eggplant in the dish. In any case, I intended on creating a baked version of that pasta. Additionally, I decided to caramelize some onions, because I knew the sweetness would go great with the earthy, roasted flavor of the eggplants. For the sauce, I wanted to keep it simple. I did not have fresh tomatoes on hand to make my spicy tomato sauce (recipe coming soon), but I did have a can of diced tomatoes so decided to quickly throw together a garlic-tomato-basil pasta sauce.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can easily multi-task, having the different components of the dish cooking all at once. First, I prep and chop all the ingredients. Then, once the eggplant is roasting in the oven, you can easily set one pot to make your sauce, and another pan to caramelize your onions. Everything should be done cooking at more-or-less the same time. Finally, cook your pasta and toss everything together for a delicious vegan pasta dish. My entire family loved it, and I found another great dish using roasted vegetables.
Five years ago: Fresh Wrap w/Chipotle Hummus
Three years ago: Tomato Basil Mozzarella Avocado Stacks
Two years ago: Baked Pasta w/Roasted Red Peppers & Zucchini
Caramelized Onions, Roasted Eggplant, and Tomato Penne Pasta
- 6 cups diced eggplant , ~ 1 large Italian, or Black Beauty Eggplant
- 1.5 large white onion , peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- 1 lb. penne pasta , for gluten-free, use brown rice pasta
- splash of cooking wine
- olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- vegan Parmesan cheese , optional (I use Follow Your Heart brand)
- 8 cloves garlic , minced
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup basil , chopped + some for garnish
- crushed red pepper
- olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- sugar , a little if needed
To Prepare the Roasted Eggplant:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss the diced eggplant with some olive oil (enough to coat the eggplant).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplant in a single layer on the parchment paper. Bake for about 25 minutes until cooked and fully roasted (slightly browned, but not burned).
To Make the Caramelized Onions:
- Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil on a non-stick large pan on low-medium heat. Add the thinly sliced white onions and an pinch of salt, and saute until they become completely translucent, slightly brown, and just caramelized (~25 minutes). Be sure to mix frequently. If you find that the onions start sticking to the bottom of the pan or start to burn, feel free to add a little more olive oil.
- Once the onions are caramelized, de-glaze the pan by adding a slash of cooking wine to the pan.
To Make the Sauce:
- Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a medium sized pot on medium heat.
- Add 8 cloves minced garlic and some dried red crushed peppers (more or less to taste depending on spice preference). Fry for ~30 sec. until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes. Once the sauce is simmering, reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and reduces to about 2 cups.
- Add the chopped basil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and white sugar (if needed). Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside (note: if you are almost done with the recipe, feel free to keep heating the sauce at lowest setting possible to keep the sauce hot until the pasta is ready).
To Assemble the Pasta:
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Once the water is boiling, add the penne pasta and cook al dente.
- Add the roasted eggplant to the de-glazed pan with caramelized onions.
- Add the hot tomato sauce and cooked penne pasta. Toss everything to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some freshly chopped basil.
- Top with some fresh Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan option), and serve hot!
Wow, very nice recipe of pasta with eggplant, I have never tried them together.
Thank you! Eggplant tastes great in pasta recipes, if cooked right! And roasting them is my favorite cooking method for adding into pastas. Hope you get a chance to try out the recipe!
Hi, can i roast the eggplant & store in the fridge, then finish making the dish the next day?
I get home from work so late that i have to get to bed sion after getting home. Thanks!
Yes absolutely! I’ve caramelized the onions and roasted the eggplant ahead of time and then simply mixed them into the sauce the following day! Let me know how you like it!
Great recipe, Anjali! My husband and I tried this one out last night. The roasted eggplant texture made this pasta very satisfying to me. We had some extra mushrooms in the fridge. My husband isn’t a fan of mushrooms, so I sauteed them on the side and just added them to my serving. I thought it went well too. My husband also really enjoyed it with out. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you!! So glad you guys enjoyed this recipe! It’s seriously one of my favorite combinations, and I love how much better eggplant tastes in pasta when roasted. I love mushrooms and tend to add them to everything as well. Thanks for the comment and for trying out the recipe!
This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.
You will love it! It’s one of my favorite pasta dishes and really full of flavor. Let me know what you think one you try it out!
plasterer in Bristol
looks lovely, cant wait to try this. Thanks for posting
onions, eggplant, and tomatoes…i’m IN!
Krystiianna L Langston
My boyfriend and I made this last week. We are not vegesauruses so we added some sicilian sausage. This was the most amazing recipe!!! Thank you.
Thank you! So glad you loved it! The sauce comes together perfectly!
I made this today and added some mushrooms and brocolli that was leftover from breakfast and we just gulped down the entire bowl… Plus I love the fact that this is a creative way to use eggplants ! Thank you for the recipe.. this is going to be made again
That’s so great to hear!! Mushrooms and broccoli sound like the perfect addition. Thanks for the great review!
Reading about food while I am plastering is not good for my weight!!!
Wow! This is the best, healthiest meal I have had in a while and now a favorite of mine. I had leftover grilled eggplant and had all the other ingredients on hand (how nice!) and a tiny bottle of wine. I enjoy cooking but this took it to another level. Then when I dished it out, I left the eggplant and onions (sweet type) separate. It was like candy in my mouth, couldn’t believe what I was tasting. Thank you so much for this marvelous recipe.
So glad you loved it!! The eggplant and caramelized onions create a nice added flavor to the tomato-based pasta! Thanks for the great review!
Hi. I just wrote a long comment. I’m using an old school phone while mine charges. So, if you got my comments, great! Even if not, i did actually have a question. Have you posted the sauce (fresh tomatoes)? This recipe looks amazing. Thank u!
Hi! I actually did not get your previous commnet sorry about that! Yes…the recipe card is at the end of the post after the writeup…let me know if you can’t find it!
Loved this recipe, served it with jalapeño sauce drizzle and feta, yum…
Thanks for trying it out! Glad you enjoyed!
I made this tonight and it turned out fantastic! Thank you!
So great to hear! Glad you loved it!
We live in Costa Rica with limited number of “just good” restaurants and in a rural southern zone area. We have an abundance of amazing vegetables so I went searching for an eggplant recipe. We aren’t close to being vegan but I am trying to do one meal a week with just vegi’s! So was not sure of how this would turn out but we have a motto…” Well….you don’t have to make that one again!” so I figured it could be a one and done……WRONG….this was sooooo good! I added some sliced red ( dulce)(bell) pepper toward the end of the onion caramelization and deglazed with a moderate amnt of white wine ( why not!)..then I added oregano, a bit of balsamic vinegar and sugar to the tomatoes as the brand we have isn’t super sweet. This came together like a dream and I paired it with this 2 hour rustic bread (2-HOUR Fastest No Knead Bread | JennyCanCook.com) we are VERY happy not to say the least very full! Thank you for a great recipe! This is one I will make for our neighbors!!!!
Ah the best review yet!! so many recent remakes on this recipe and what a lovely review – thank you! The addition of red peppers sounds great! Thanks again…and side note – I love Costa Rica! Hoping to visit again sometime soon!
i can’t wait to try it. by the way, while i was growing up my parents made a dish called insaladina which contained eggplant, celler, mushrooms, garlic, onions, tomatoes in a slight sauce. we canned it and it had to set three months before it was ready to eat. (sicilian of course), but now, everyone has passed and no one has the recipe. any ideas, did you ever hear of this. also, i would like the sauce recipe that you spoke of here. thanks for the help.
You’ll love this recipe! Let me know if you try it and what you think! Insaladina sounds delicious with all those ingredients! And marinating for 3 months I can just imagine how the flavors all blend in! I’ll definitely try to look it up and see if I can come up with something or what the dish is composed of! Is it a pasta dish or a salad?
It looks so great! I bet it tastes amazing too. Pinning for later!
Thank you! Hope you get a chance to try it out!
This looks mouthwatering! I have the Dutch oven and can get the onions, just need the patience. I can’t wait to make these. Maybe tonight! What a great idea to make them ahead of time and freeze.
Absolutely…yon definitely make this sauce ahead of time! Let me know how it goes!
The pine nuts are making me want to dive right into this recipe! What a great combination of flavours and eggplant, yes please!!!
Thank you! Yes…this recipe is one of my favorites hope you enjoy it!
Both my husband and son said this was the best pasta dish that I have ever made! Thanks to you, Anjali!
That’s so awesome to hear! thank you so much! Try the pasta primavera next…another simple veggie filled sauce!
Looks so good…love roasted eggplants, will try this for sure
Yes this one is great! Let me know if you do!