Weeknight Cooking

Spicy Vegan Eggplant Pasta

September 19, 2013

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: A weeknight pasta dish that shows off eggplant's versatile, satisfying side.

Spicy Vegan Eggplant Pasta

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Certain vegetables go a little further than others in creating “meaty” texture in vegan recipes. Mushrooms, root vegetables, and legumes are all brilliant in this department. Eggplant is extra special, because it contributes meatiness without weighing a dish down the way an overload of beans or lentils sometimes can. It’s versatile, nutritious, and it absorbs flavors easily, so it’s a perfect choice for spicy, bold dishes. 

Another satisfying vegan eggplant dish: Baba Ganoush.

This pasta showcases all of eggplant’s most magical properties. Roasting the eggplant brings out its natural sweetness and tenderness, while combining it with a savory tomato sauce gives it a chance to soak up garlic, oregano, and spicy red pepper flakes. The dish is hearty, satisfying, and easy to whip up -- even on a weeknight. 

Spicy Vegan Eggplant Pasta

If eggplant’s not for you, you can substitute roasted or sautéed mushrooms and mix them into the sauce in step 3. Lentils would also be a nice addition, as would roasted zucchini in the summer. Like many pasta dishes, this one welcomes a little creative interpretation. 

Spicy Eggplant Pasta

Serves 4 to 6 

2 medium eggplants
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes or one 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 1/2 teaspoons dry oregano
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, plus extra for finishing
1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil, plus extra for finishing
1 pound linguine pasta 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom 

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Gena Hamshaw is a certified nutritionist, recipe developer, and food blogger. She shares her latest culinary adventures at The Full Helping. She's the author of two cookbooks, Food52 Vegan (2015) and Choosing Raw (2014). She enjoys yoga, sweet potatoes, cashews, and things that are smothered in sauce.


mroberts7 October 22, 2013
Made this wonderful pasta for guests last night. It's a beautiful and tasty dish! As others, I added mushrooms but also a bit of black olive tapenade, a touch of extra garlic,fresh parsley and a light shave of Locatelli cheese. I also used fresh grape tomatoes halved and served it with a piece of ciabatta bread drizzled with virgin olive oil. Thank you for the GREAT recipe.
SunBunny October 1, 2013
I've been adding eggplant to my sauce the last two times and it is soooo addictive. Even my die-hard carnivores love it. I add a scoop or two of cold ricotta at the end. This is classic sicilian style.
AmyHollar September 21, 2013
well considering it's a vegan column I think the recipe is perfect as it is
Emily September 19, 2013
This looks lovely! I can always use an eggplant recipe. A little chopped kale thrown in would complete the dish!
- Emily
Tedi September 19, 2013
Oh my goodness, this looks fantastic!
tejas September 19, 2013
looks so yummy...dinner tonight
carswell September 19, 2013
I've made a version of this for years - with the addition of some chopped kalamata olives and a few capers. A little goat cheese on top finishes it very well - if you're not concerned about the vegan component.