Worknight Dinner Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan Pasta

by Maris Callahan on June 23, 2009

It’s pretty common in American culture to blame our schedules for poor eating habits. Excuses like “I’m too busy to cook dinner,” “It’s faster to order take-out during the week,” and “I worked long hours, so I deserve macaroni and cheese” are all fairly common among the average kitchen-phobe.

When your life is busy with school, work or a move (or a blog move), sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is cooking. When you have a never-ending to do list and a project that’s taken over your spare time, it’s not unusual to crave simplicity. And even on the busiest of busy days…hey, a girl’s gotta eat.

As much as I do love broccoli, asparagus and artichokes – other vegetables I commonly see in springtime pasta dishes – eggplant is the unsung hero in this skillet pasta meal that’s as tasty as it is healthy.

When I bought the eggplant, I envisioned eggplant parmesan but the more I thought about the breading, the oil, the prep time, the more I was convinced to start from scratch with something a little lighter.

The best part about this one is that the first time I made it, I had come home from the gym at 8:30 (later than I typically eat dinner) and started making it ten minutes later. By 9:35, my dishes were done, my leftovers were in the fridge and dinner was but a thing in the past.


Eggplant Parmesan Pasta

What You Need:

12 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium sized onion
2 small eggplant, cubed
1-28 ounce. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Additional grated cheese for garnish


1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until beginning to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggplant ad saute until vegetable begins  soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Add crushed tomatoes, stirring until eggplant is immersed in liquid. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes. If sauce doesn’t seem thick enough, add tomato paste. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, add to skillet. Add spinach leaves and mix to combine ingredients. Cover until spinach has wilted.

After a long, busy day, what’s your favorite simple meal?

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

doggybloggy June 23, 2009 at 12:43 am

this is all to confusing…


Kim June 23, 2009 at 8:13 am

I am always up for eggplant parmesan, over spagetti sounds fabulous.


kat June 23, 2009 at 9:00 am

Sounds really good to me…I need to find ways to convince the hubs he likes eggplavt


grace June 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

what a colorful and completely wonderful dish. simple and straightforward and fresh and lovely. etc. etc. :)


Daryl June 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm

To doggybloggy–just bookmark this–
and delete the old one.
Love the new blog.


Jenn@slim-shoppin June 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Thanks for giving me the new address.
It is so true, sometimes something easy and healthy doesn’t have to take long.
You couldn’t have ordered a pizza in that amount of time!


Sara June 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Congrats on the new site! Pasta is definitely one of my favorite quick meals. That, or pizza.


Amber June 23, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Oh this recipe looks AMAZING! I love eggplant parmesan and LOVE pasta, so why not combine the two! Yum! Can’t wait to try it :-)


Chrissy June 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I love eggplant! (And pasta, of course, but that goes without saying.) This recipe looks great. I’ve had a number of those busy days lately and always need some easy weeknight meals. Plus, dishes with eggplant always seem so satisfying. Pasta is one of my go-to meals on a busy night, although I also love anything that can be cooked in one skillet or involves meat and veggies over rice. When it’s possible to do ahead of time, I’ll also simmer chicken breasts in broth (and sometimes a little wine or other sauces/flavorings) over the weekend, shred it, and then use it early in the week to throw together chicken salad, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc.


Heidi Renée June 23, 2009 at 6:48 pm

I’m going to make this tonight. I have two eggplants, two onions, and some on-the-vine tomatoes cluttering up the counter. Perfect!


Rebecca_C June 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Oh, my. This will definitely be added to my arsenal.


elra June 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Your Eggplant Parmesan Pasta sounds scrumptious!


beyond June 24, 2009 at 1:31 am

i love eggplant and this is almost identical to a dish i make often as well.


Megan June 24, 2009 at 1:48 am

Mmmm… that looks so good! I love eggplant!(and asparagus and artichoke)
I think I might try that dish tomorrow!


Bridgett June 24, 2009 at 2:44 am

So easy! You can never be too busy to create this simple yet delicious meal. I love all the flavors here.


Bonnie June 24, 2009 at 7:59 am

Looks tasty!


Ted Chaloner June 24, 2009 at 8:14 am

Congratulations on the new design – looks marvelous!


Kalyn June 24, 2009 at 10:59 am

Sounds really good! I’m growing some eggplant so this is getting bookmarked!


Carissa June 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

this sounds tasty. I don’t eat eggplant much, but I think I should. and I like this version of “eggplant parmesan” because it is not smothered in cheese!
btw, love the new site!


Joie de vivre June 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Maris, Thanks for telling me about your blog address change! This eggplant dish sounds extremely yummy, AND it probably too less time than eating out and was WAY healthier!


unconfidentialcook June 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I love eggplant, too, and we often grill big fat slices slathered in olive oil. I bet it would be great with pasta…and I love the addition of spinach.


Andrea June 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Bookmark changed! My favorite go-to is pasta aglio e olio (garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and whatever herb I have in the fridge…usually cilantro believe it or not). I actually sautee a few frozen shrimp in with the sauce just to add a little substance and protein. Love it because I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand for this, and it’s also quite indulgent, which if I’ve had a busy day I also seem to need as well!


heather June 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm

i added your new site to my reader :)


Sarah Caron June 24, 2009 at 8:34 pm

That looks really tasty, Maris. I am not eggplants biggest fan, but I have certainly developed a greater appreciation for it of late.
My go-to pasta is aglio e olio. So easy. And I toss in whatever I have (broccoli, chicken, whatever) to make it a little more hearty.


Molly June 24, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I looove eggplant, and this is such a smart/healthy way to eat it! and mazel tov on the new home, it’s beautiful!
ps: I think I can totally sneak you into chef school – you don’t mind hiding in my knife bag, do you? :)


dorie June 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Such a beautiful new home! I hope you’ll be very happy here — I know I’ll be happy to visit you here. And I wouldn’t mind at all if you’d serve the great-lloking eggplant dish. Hard to believe it was so quick to make.


Kerstin June 25, 2009 at 12:03 am

I just bought an eggplant! I really like them but don’t end up using them very often and that should change. Your pasta looks incredible! Pasta is also my go-to meal when thing are super busy.


Sophie June 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Lovely pasta meal! yummie too!


Cigars Online May 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I love easy recipes for work nights! I also like the ones that you can freeze.. and I’ve had pretty good luck with freezing eggplant this season. Will have to try this recipe asap!


Cigars Online May 4, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I love easy recipes for work nights! I also like the ones that you can freeze.. and I’ve had pretty good luck with freezing eggplant this season. Will have to try this recipe asap!


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