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Meatless Monday: Eggplant Penne with Fresh Mozzarella

March 7, 2011

My kids love pasta dishes, and while they are better-than-average eaters, I can’t get too crazy with the meals I create unless I plan to starve them. It’s hard to go wrong with pasta though, and this week we are trying something new: eggplant. I was a vegetarian for a few years in my twenties, but I have never cooked eggplant.

This is an easy recipe, that requires just a little prep and a few basic ingredients (other than the eggplant). I’d love to make this again using homemade tomato sauce, but I’m settling for store-bought marinara for now.


  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into dice-sized chunks (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 3 c. marinara sauce (The higher quality, the better)
  • 12 oz. whole wheat penne
  • 4 to 5 oz ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
  • grated parmesan cheese (optional, not pictured)


  1. Gather ingredients & dice eggplant.
  2. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
  3. While water is heating, heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot (the high heat is important to brown the eggplant, if it isn’t hot enough the eggplant will just get soggy), add the eggplant and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown and soften a bit (approximately 2 minutes).
  4. Add the penne to boiling water, and cook approximately 10-12 minutes.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, add the marinara sauce to the skillet and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until it is hot, and the eggplant is soft.
  6. Drain the pasta, and transfer it to a warmed bowl (I’m using a casserole dish warmed in the oven). Pour the eggplant marinara over the penne, and toss gently to evenly coat the pasta. Add the mozzarella and basil, and serve hot (with or without grated parmesan). Enjoy!

**This dish goes well with warm bread and a small salad. The recipe has been adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Earthbound Cook.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2011 6:36 am

    I don’t know if my kids would eat this…because they’re not ready to give it up for the eggplant. YET! But I would devour it. Sounds absolutely delicious 🙂

    • March 8, 2011 1:28 pm

      My kids were a little hesitant because of the eggplant too, but I peeled it & made the cubes pretty small – it took them a while before they even realized that there was an “alien” in their pasta. They had plenty of questions about it once they figured it out though!

    • March 10, 2011 3:39 pm

      Oh, if you plan to make it for a night sans kids – add some red pepper flakes. The original recipe calls for it!


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