Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta

I took a small liberty with Laura’s recipe in serving our pasta with grated Parmesan cheese, but obviously leave it out if you’d like the recipe to remain vegan. Any spaghetti or linguine pasta will be great here — I used a brown rice pasta that we’ve been into these days. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

Very slightly adapted from The First Mess Cookbook 


1 large eggplant, diced into 1/2 - inch (1cm) cubes
sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock or water
3/4 pound (341 g) whole grain or gluten free spaghetti or linguine
6 whole fresh basil leaves, plus extra chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving (totally optional; omit to keep recipe vegan)


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the diced eggplant with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Let the eggplant sit for 10 minutes to release some of its water. Pour the salted eggplant into a colandar and rinse with fresh water. Dry the eggplant pieces as thoroughly as you can with a kitchen towel, and then lay them on the prepared baking sheet.

Toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Spread the eggplant out into a single layer. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, and roast until the eggplant is tender and has browned slightly, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

In a large deep skillet or pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, stir and saute for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chili flakes and oregano, and stir. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the skillet, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes .

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Drop the basil leaves into the tomato sauce and submerge the leaves. Cover the sauce and let it continue to cook for 10 more minutes.

Remove the basil leaves from the sauce, and season it with salt and pepper. Add the roasted eggplant and chopped olives to the sauce, and stir to distribute. Carefully toss the cooked pasta into the sauce. After the noodles are coated in sauce, sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Serve hot.