This easy roasted eggplant spinach penne is packed full of earthy roasted eggplant pieces mixed with fresh baby spinach and all doused in marinara sauce. This tasty vegetarian pasta dish can also be made gluten free for a healthy weeknight dinner or filling lunch! For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this eggplant spinach pasta!
Two of my favorite things in life are roasted vegetables and pasta. This dish combines those two loves and is the perfect meal when you are looking for something both filling but a bit on the healthier side. This dish is not only vegetarian but can be vegan and gluten free as well. It's one of my favorite healthy lunch options or weeknight dinners for meatless Monday.
🍆 Ingredient notes
- Eggplant - choose a medium sized eggplant that's around 1 - 1 ½ pounds in weight. Look for one with smooth shiny skin that leaves an imprint when you lightly press your finger into it. This means that it is ripe!
- Pasta - Penne, shells, rotini, or even spaghetti will work for this dish and you can use gluten free or regular pasta. Make sure to check the label if you need vegan pasta. Most dry pasta is made without egg, but it's always good to double check.
- Marinara - You can use store bought or homemade. Remember to look at the ingredients on the label if you need this dish to be vegan or gluten free.
- Spinach - I prefer using fresh spinach for this pasta, but if you only have frozen, that will work too. Make sure to thaw the spinach and squeeze out the excess water before adding. You should only need about 1 cup of frozen thawed spinach.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, cut the eggplant into 1" cubes and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast while you prepare your pasta, tossing it about halfway through. It should take about 30 minutes and eggplant pieces should be nicely browned.
While the eggplant is roasting, cook the pasta in boiling salted water in a large pot until it's al dente. Al dente means that the pasta is cooked, but has a slight bite to it. This should be about 10-12 minutes (gluten free pasta cooking times may be different). Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the remaining water from the pasta.
In the pot you cooked the pasta, saute the finished roasted eggplant with the fresh baby spinach until the spinach just wilts.
Add in the marinara sauce and reserved pasta water and then let it simmer for a couple more minutes until the sauce is heated through.
Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and vegetables and serve!
⭐ Top tip
Don't rinse your pasta after draining the water from it. It will help the sauce stick better to your pasta.Print
- Gluten free - Make sure to use both gluten free pasta and gluten free marinara to make this dish gluten free. A lot of gluten free pasta comes in 12 or 14 ounce boxes and that will work just fine with this recipe.
- More veggies - Roast some asparagus with the eggplant or throw in some chopped kale with the spinach for even more veggies!
- Spicy - Add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the marinara to give this pasta a zesty kick!
💭 Frequently asked questions
You don't need to peel the eggplant before roasting. The skin is completely edible and you won't even notice it in this dish.
Regular pasta will last about 3-5 days in the fridge with sauce. Gluten free pasta will last about the same, but doesn't hold up as well when reheated.
I don't recommend reheating gluten free pasta. Because it's usually made with corn or rice, it has a tendency to break down faster, especially when reheating.
🍅 More vegetarian dishes
If you like this roasted eggplant spinach penne, try these other vegetarian dishes that I know you will love.
Don't forget! If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and give it a rating. I love to hear from each and every one of you! Tag me on Facebook and Instagram as well! It makes my day to see all of your photos of the food you have made.