Pasta alla Norma is one of those great classic Italian dishes that’s simple to make and hugely satisfying to eat.
Flavored with plenty of eggplant, onion, and garlic, it’s on the table pretty quickly, too. In the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, the sauce is started and finished.
You’ll need a bold, flavorful marinara sauce to pull the flavors together. And be generous with the red pepper flakes if you like a little spice to your pasta dishes— they really give the flavor a boost. And make sure to see the notes toward the end of the recipe box for a super-easy way to make a vegan Parmesan topping.
- 1 pound pasta, any shape (see note)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch thick, then diced
- 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28-ounce jar of your favorite full-flavored marinara sauce
- 15- to 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
- Fresh basil leaves, whole or sliced, as desired
- Vegan parmesan, optional (see note)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, stem the eggplants, quarter lengthwise, and slice 1/2 inch thick. Or, simply slice the eggplants 1/2 inch thick and cut into large dice.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the eggplant, stir together, and cook over medium-high heat until it's tender, but still holds its shape. Add small amounts of water if need be to keep the skillet moist, but do so sparingly — you don’t want the eggplant to get mushy. Remove to a plate or bowl.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onion and sauté over low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
- Add the eggplant back to the pan along with the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes and cook over medium heat until piping hot.
- Combine the eggplant and marinara mixture with the cooked and drained pasta in the cooking pot or a large serving bowl. Toss in some cherry tomatoes, if you’d like.
- Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in as much fresh basil as you’d like.
- Serve at once, passing around vegan Parmesan (see below) for topping individual portions, if desired.
This is good both with long pasta like spaghetti, or chunky shapes like penne or rotini.
You can use packaged vegan Parmesan, but it’s super easy to make your own. Simply combine equal parts nutritional yeast and almond flour (say, 1/3 cup of each) and about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir together and there you have it — a delicious vegan Parmesan topping.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 882mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 11gSugar: 22gProtein: 10g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used.
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