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This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with tender eggplant and zesty marinara sauce! It’s a delicious dinner idea everyone will love.

Eggplant pasta
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Meet your new favorite dinner recipe. Yes, this eggplant pasta has got it all! It’s packed with savory and zesty flavor: tender roasted eggplant, zesty marinara sauce, and peppery basil. This Mediterranean-style dinner is incredibly versatile: it works for weeknights and for serving to company! There’s something about it that’s cozy but elegant at the same time. Curl up with your honey and make it on an evening in…or serve it on a big platter as a family dinner!

Roasted eggplant

For the roasted eggplant

The first time we made this roasted eggplant, I took one bite and shouted “Wow!” We expected it to be good, but not this good. Roasting eggplant breaks it down into silky, savory tender goodness. We dressed it up with a little grated garlic and chopped basil to take it over the top. You can serve this as a side dish, but it was so good we had to make it into this eggplant pasta. Here’s how to make roasted eggplant:

  • Chop: Cut 2 eggplants into 1-inch diced pieces.
  • Mix with olive oil and salt: Mix with ¼ cup olive oil and ¾ teaspoon salt. Eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix it right as soon as the oil hits its flesh.
  • Roast at 425 degrees: Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes until the eggplant is browned and tender. Because eggplant has so much water, it will deflate quite a bit. The roasted pieces come out much smaller!
Eggplant pasta

No salting and draining for this eggplant pasta!

Many eggplant recipes call for letting the eggplant drain with salt on it for 1 hour to extract some of the bitterness from the eggplant. If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered: is this extra step really necessary?

You’re in luck: it’s not! According to Epicurious, salting eggplant used to be conventional practice with eggplants years ago because they were more bitter. Today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter, so there’s no need to waste an hour salting the eggplant. Now we know!

Easy marinara sauce

For the marinara

This eggplant pasta is all about components. Roast the eggplant, make the marinara, boil pasta, and voila: dinner! The nice part about the component approach is you learn to make three different things. You can serve the roasted eggplant as a side dish, or use the marinara as a pasta sauce in many other dishes. This recipe stars our easy marinara sauce, which is quick and ultra flavorful. Here are the key elements to the sauce:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are roasted over an open flame, making them taste sweet and mild right out of the can. (If you can’t find them, use the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.)
  • Garlic powder is a shortcut to fresh garlic so you don’t have to dirty a knife. It melds in perfectly and adds great flavor.
  • Fresh basil makes everything taste better! If you’re not growing it in your garden, look for it near the other fresh herbs in the grocery.
  • Balsamic vinegar rounds out the flavor: it makes a subtle but important difference!
Mafaldine pasta

Cook the pasta to al dente

You absolutely must cook the pasta for this eggplant pasta to al dente. A lot of home cooks mess this up, resulting in limp pasta. What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite.” It refers to pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Here are our tips on how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.

What type of pasta to use?

You can use any type of pasta for this eggplant pasta! It works with any type of long or short noodles. The noodles we used are a fancy noodle called mafaldine that we found at our local grocery. Mafaldine pasta is a ribbon-shaped pasta with wavy edges on both sides, almost like a long and thin lasagna noodle. But really any noodle works! Here are some options:

  • Long pasta shapes: Spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, bucatini, pappardelle, mafaldine
  • Short pasta shapes: Penne, rigatoni, shells, campanelle, fussili, spirali, radiatore, orecchiette, farfalle, rotini, gemelli

The final flavor secret: capers!

The last thing you need to know about this eggplant pasta: capers add the final flair! Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn. You’ll find them in Italian and Mediterranean recipes, most well known in chicken piccata. They’re served pickled, and you’ll find them in jars near the olives.

What’s so great about capers? They taste tangy, briny and salty, and add big flavor to any dish. If you’ve never cooked with them, prepare to fall in love. Use up leftovers with other caper recipes like Salmon with Capers and Vegan Caesar Salad.

Eggplant pasta

Make it a meal!

Add a salad and this eggplant pasta is a meal! Here are the best salads to pair:

  • Easy Arugula Salad The simplest salad you’ll make! You don’t even need to make dressing and it comes together in minutes.
  • Fennel Orange Salad This refreshing and easy side dish pairs juicy orange and and fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.
  • The BEST Kale Salad A dressing of lemon, garlic and Parmesan cheese transforms kale into tangy goodness in this Tuscan kale salad.
  • Best Tossed Salad Totally customizable, this salad features colorful veggies, homemade croutons, and a variety of salad dressing options.

More eggplant recipes

Love cooking with eggplant? Here are a few of our top eggplant recipes:

This eggplant pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

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Mafaldine pasta with eggplant

Eggplant Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with tender eggplant and zesty marinara sauce! It’s a delicious dinner idea everyone will love.



For the eggplant*

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium to large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 recipe Easy Marinara Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound long pasta noodles: spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine (gluten-free as desired)**
  • Fresh basil, to garnish (leftover from the marinara recipe)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the eggplant (or substitute 1 recipe Sauteed Eggplant*): Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks. Quickly mix with olive oil and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it). Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and very tender, gently stirring the sheet at about the 25 minute mark.
  3. Make the marinara sauce: Meanwhile, make the Easy Marinara Sauce. Let it simmer covered until the eggplant is done.
  4. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  5. Season the eggplant: When the eggplant is done, remove it from the oven and gently toss with the garlic and herbs, making sure to spread out any chunks of garlic that stick together. The eggplant will be very tender so handle it gently.
  6. Serve: Add the drained capers to the marinara sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix to combine. To serve, add noodles to a plate, then top with roasted eggplant and finely chopped basil. (If you’d like, you can add cheese: but it’s not necessary for flavor!)


*For a quicker variation, substitute 1 recipe Sauteed Eggplant for the roasted eggplant. Or go to Pasta alla Norma.

**Here we used a fancy long pasta called mafaldine we found at our local grocery. You also can use any short pasta shape: it’s just as good!

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Italian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. D Erlich says:

    A delicious recipe for eggplant! I used the sautéed method and added 1/2 cup fresh basil.

  2. Theresa sirangelo says:

    I made this with the sautéed method it’s absolutely delicious. I added some capers .yummy.i will be putting this over rice.thank u for a excellent recipe

  3. Lisa says:

    This was an easy and very tasty recipe! I upped the delish factor by making herbed ricotta and garlic breadcrumbs to top it off with.

  4. BN Gooi says:

    Hi. What size jar of ready marinara sauce would I need for this recipe ? Thanks.

  5. K Jones says:

    This takes eggplant to a new level! Amazing flavor and perfectly roasted! Already shared recipe with my sister!

  6. Rachana says:

    I’m not a huge pasta eater but I made this last night and am so glad I did. Absolutely delicious!! This is going into my regular meal prep rotation :)

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Thanks for making it! :)

    2. Theresa sirangelo says:

      I made this with the sautéed method it’s absolutely delicious. I added some capers .yummy.i will be putting this over rice.thank u for a excellent recipe

  7. Pat says:

    I made this dish today. I added more fresh basil. It is a delicious dish I highly recommend! Thank you for posting!

  8. Anne Murphy says:

    Made this for dinner last night w/ eggplants from our garden. It was delicious. Served it over fresh fettuccine, and used the marinara sauce. Definitely a keeper!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Joan says:

    As an eggplant lover, I have to thank you for a creative way to incorporate eggplant into this dish. I subbed whole wheat pasta, subtracted the cheese, and had a delicious plant-based vegan dinner. Thank you!