Looking for a delicious and easy weeknight meal? This Creamy Eggplant Pasta with Tomato Ricotta Sauce is the perfect solution! The eggplant pairs perfectly with the creamy ricotta sauce and make for a hearty and satisfying dish. Plus, it's ready in 30 minutes - perfect for busy weeknights. Give this recipe a try today!
We always keep eggplants in our fridge; that's a given. We consume eggplants in all forms, as it is a staple of Italian cuisine. This delicious tomato ricotta pasta is served in almost any Italian restaurant, and everyone loves it for its simplicity; However, eggplant is at its peak during springtime; this dish is consumed year-round. Same thing with the simple lemony garlic pasta.
- Tomato sauce: The base of this sauce brims with the classic tang and robustness of tomatoes, infusing the dish with a rich, umami depth that's quintessential in Italian cuisine.
- Eggplants: Their spongy texture soaks up flavors splendidly, and when cooked, they add a creamy, almost meaty consistency to the sauce, enhancing its heartiness.
- Fresh basil: This aromatic herb injects a burst of freshness into the sauce, offering a sweet yet peppery zing that brightens the overall profile of the dish.
- Garlic: It's the flavor workhorse here, delivering an indispensable pungent kick that complements and intensifies the savory notes of the other ingredients.
- Vegan ricotta cheese (recipe): Our homemade concoction brings a delightful creaminess and subtle tang to the sauce, mimicking the comforting texture and taste of traditional ricotta.
- Extra virgin olive oil: This liquid gold lays down the foundation for sautéing, imparting a fruity, peppery base note and ensuring that each ingredient's flavor is released and married perfectly.
- Dry gluten-free pasta: It serves as an ideal canvas for the sauce, offering a satisfying chew and making the dish accessible to those with gluten sensitivities without compromising on texture or taste.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Slice the eggplants into about ¼" (½ cm) slices. Drizzle olive oil and salt on top, and place them on parchment paper. Bake them for 15 minutes.
Step 2: Make the sauce by adding a garlic clove, tomato puree, and basil leaves on top of the fresh tomato sauce into a large pot on medium heat. Stir constantly and top with a lid.
Step 3: Add the grilled eggplant slices and vegan ricotta into the tomato sauce, and start boiling pasta.
Step 4: Blend the vegetables and ricotta into the pasta sauce with an immersion blender while the pasta cooks for extra creaminess.
Adjust and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed.
Step 5: Boil the pasta of choice until it is al dente, then strain it, reserving some of the starchy pasta water. Then, add the pasta into the saucepan if preferred.
Serve the pasta topped with vegan parmesan cheese.
Hint: if you want to serve the creamy sauce already mixed with the fresh pasta, use some of the pasta water, adding ¼ cup at a time while folding in the tomato ricotta sauce.
- Fresh basil - add 2 tablespoons of basil vegan pesto.
- Tomato sauce - use homemade marinara sauce leftovers, canned tomatoes, or fresh chopped tomatoes. You will have to cook the pasta sauce with ricotta cheese for longer until the tomatoes burst and wait for the sauce to thicken.
- Vegetarian - use regular ricotta cheese instead of the tofu ricotta. Be aware that tofu is not gluten-free, so you might want to use almond-based ricotta if your dish is 100% gluten-free.
- Pasta - we use campanelle pasta because we love how the eggplant sauce folds into all its creases, but fusilli, penne, or any other short pasta are great options. Use gluten-free pasta if you have gluten intolerance.
- Spicy - add chili flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish or pepperoncini.
- Chunky - don't blend the eggplant slices; simply cook them in a skillet or the oven, cut them in chunks until goldern-brown, and add them to the sauce halfway.
- Kid-friendly - drop the eggplants and use ring pasta, along with tomato sauce and nutritional yeast, and a delicious blend of spices, to make this vegan spaghettios.
Check the ricotta-less version of this recipe on my website! (placeholder for in-content link)
🥢 How to serve
You can decide to serve this veganized Sicilian eggplant recipe with the tomato ricotta pasta sauce on top or fold the sauce with the pasta before serving.
We usually serve this baked eggplant pasta with ricotta topped with extra grilled, charred eggplant slices, homemade parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil, and pair it with focaccia topped with spiced baby onions.
Use a non-stick saucepan or large pot to make the sauce.
To blend the eggplants and vegan ricotta, you can also use a regular blender. I like to use my immersion blender (affiliate link) to do the job directly on the saucepan.
If using a regular blender (affiliate link), either let the sauce cool down a bit or hold the top of the blender with a kitchen rag to prevent the sauce from spilling out of the jar. Use caution.
Store the tomato ricotta sauce in the fridge for 2-3 days or frozen for several months. Then, thaw overnight when ready to use.
Alternatively, use the microwave or a saucepan in low heat and add a small amount of water to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Only stir in the sauce you plan to use for the pasta and store the rest. It is better to add pasta sauce at the moment to the freshly boiled pasta.
🍝 More Italian eggplant recipes
If you try this Sicilian pasta recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Creamy Eggplant Pasta with Tomato Ricotta Sauce
- 2 eggplants large and diced (medium dices)
- 24 ounces tomato puree no additives such as Italian passata, or 3 lbs of ripe tomatoes blended
- 1 garlic cloves whole
- 8.8 ounces vegan ricotta
- 10 basil leaves highly recommended
- 1 lb campanelle pasta (like a Bran Rigati)
- black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin , optional (skip if you are on a low-fat diet or WFPB diet)
- Preheat the oven to 400 º F (200 ºC).
- Slice the eggplants into about ¼" (½ cm) slices. Drizzle olive oil and salt on top, and place them on parchment paper. Bake them for 15 minutes.
- Make the sauce by adding a garlic clove, tomato puree, and basil leaves on top of the fresh tomato sauce into a large pot on medium heat. Stir constantly and top with a lid. Let the sauce cook for about 20 minutes; then remove the garlic clove.
- Add the baked eggplant slices and vegan ricotta into the tomato sauce, stir and cook for 5 minutes. Start boiling the salted water for pasta. Reserve a couple of eggplant slices to garnish.
- Cook the pasta according to the packaging directions.
- Blend the vegetables and ricotta into the pasta sauce with an immersion blender right in the deep saucepan while the pasta cooks.If using a regular blender (affiliate link), either let the sauce cool down a bit or hold the top of the blender with a kitchen rag while blending, to prevent the sauce from spilling out of the jar. Use caution.
- Adjust and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed.
- Strain the pasta, reserving some of the starchy pasta water. Then add the pasta into the saucepan if preferred, mixing with the water ¼ cup at a time.Otherwise, serve the tomato ricotta sauce on top and sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.Garnish with the reserved baked eggplant slices.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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