Caramelized Onions, Roasted Eggplant, and Tomato Penne Pasta

The sweetness of the onions, combined with oven roasted eggplant, and tangy homemade tomato sauce makes for the ultimate comfort Italian dish!

Course Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian, Vegan
Keyword eggplant pasta, vegan pasta recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 343 kcal
Author Anjali Lalani


  • 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
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vegan Parmesan cheese , optional (I use Follow Your Heart brand)

For Sauce:


To Prepare the Roasted Eggplant:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the diced eggplant with some olive oil (enough to coat the eggplant).
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Once the onions are caramelized, de-glaze the pan by adding a slash of cooking wine to the pan.

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a medium sized pot on medium heat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the roasted eggplant to the de-glazed pan with caramelized onions.
  3. Add the hot tomato sauce and cooked penne pasta. Toss everything to combine.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some freshly chopped basil.
  5. Top with some fresh Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan option), and serve hot!

Recipe Notes

Gluten-Free Pasta - There are many gluten-free pasta options you can choose from. My favorite for this dish is brown rice pasta.

Nutrition Facts
Caramelized Onions, Roasted Eggplant, and Tomato Penne Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 343 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 197mg 8%
Potassium 668mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 71g 24%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 9g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 5.6%
Vitamin C 22.3%
Calcium 8.3%
Iron 14.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.