Treat yourself to a heaping plate of Vegetable Bolognese made with mushrooms, tomatoes, and eggplant, topped with a yummy layer of parmesan. It’s safe to say, this dish is a treat.
You know that feeling when you get a new book then just sort of fall into it and let it totally absorb you? That was me when Julie and Lisa sent me a copy of their new cookbook, The Bite Me Balance Cookbook.
Because despite being a cookbook, it’s a hilariously entertaining page turner. It features over 130 recipes with everything from deluxe burgers and refreshing salads to luxury bowls of oatmeal and drool-worthy cinnamon rolls.
But when I flipped to the Vegetable Bolognese page, I knew this was the recipe for me. Overflowing with flavor and loaded with all of the best ingredients (eggplant, rigatoni, lots of garlic), I knew this would be a hit.
My favorite part about this dish is that it only takes 15 minutes of prep time and comes together in 35 minutes total. It’s the perfect easy and relatively quick recipe to enjoy after a long day of work. Let’s cook!
(Pssst…looking for a vegetarian bolognese sauce that mimics meat more? Try our tofu bolognese!)
Ingredients in vegetable bolognese
Eggplant bolognese includes all of the typical bolognese ingredients: onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. To pack in even more flavor, we’re including oregano, red pepper flakes, and your favorite dry red wine!
- Eggplant: To start, cut 2 small eggplants into 1 inch cubes.
- Olive Oil: We’ll use olive oil both for roasting the eggplant and for sautéing the remaining vegetables.
- Salt and Pepper: No savory dish is complete without ’em!
- Yellow Onion: First up on the list of to-be-sautéd veggies is a yellow onion.
- Mixed Mushrooms: To add savory flavor, bulk, and texture, we’re using ¾ lb of mixed mushrooms (like portobello, shiitake, or button).
- Garlic: Add 3 cloves of minced garlic for flavor.
- Oregano: To get that classic pasta taste, throw in 1 tsp of dried oregano.
- Red Pepper Flakes: And for a bit of heat, ½ tsp of red pepper flakes.
- Dry Red Wine: Including ¼ cup of red wine will do wonders for this dish! While you can use your favorite type (or whatever bottle is open), a dry blend is best.
- San Marzano Tomatoes: Rather than fussing with peeling and cooking down raw tomatoes, we’ll use 1 28-oz can of San Marzano tomatoes.
- Rigatoni Pasta: As for the pasta, we’re using rigatoni. You’ll need 1 lb, uncooked.
- Basil: Include ¼ cup of fresh, chopped basil for taste.
How to make vegetarian bolognese
This plant-based bolognese is made just like the “regular” stuff, but with eggplant in place of commonly used meat! We make this quite like any pasta dish. Simply roast the eggplant, sauté the vegetables, add the crushed tomatoes, boil the pasta, and enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget the thick layer of parmesan!
Step 1: Prep
First, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 2: Roast the eggplant
In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 2 Tbsp of the oil, ¼ tsp of the salt, and pepper. Transfer the eggplant to the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway, until tender and golden.
Step 3: Create the sauce
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, and remaining ¾ tsp of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms sweat and the moisture evaporates, about 8 minutes.
Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook for an additional minute. Use your hands to crush the tomatoes as you add them to the skillet. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and then add the rigatoni. Prepare according to the package instructions, cooking until tender but slightly al dente. Drain and place in a serving bowl.
Step 5: Assemble the dish
Stir the roasted eggplant and basil into the sauce. Ladle the sauce over the pasta, finishing with fresh parmesan cheese.
What to serve with vegetable bolognese
The serving options for this dish are pretty endless! Aside from the obvious Garlic Bread, here are some of our favorites.
Finally, you can always keep things simple by including sides of veggies! Try this Zucchini Corn or this Thai Cucumber! These dishes (disguised as delish salads) are a great way to fill up on your greens.
Enjoy the benefits of eggplant with these recipes
Apart from being delicious, eggplant has so many benefits. It’s full of minerals (think Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, fiber, copper, phosphorus, etc.), is great for digestion, gives your brain a little boost, and so much more. Here are some different ways to enjoy it!
- Eggplant Parmesan Poppers
- Korean Eggplant Tacos
- Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
- Roasted Eggplant with Mint Sauce and Feta
- Eggplant Bacon
And don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Bite Me Balance Cookbook for loads of tasty recipes like this one!
- 2 small eggplants cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 Tbsp olive oil divided, 60 mL
- 1 tsp salt divided
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 small yellow onion chopped, about ½ cup
- ¾ lb mixed mushrooms (like portobello, shiitake, or button) chopped, 340 g
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry red wine 60 mL
- 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes 790 g
- 1 lb uncooked rigatoni pasta 450 g
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- To serve: fresh grated parmesan omit for vegan option
- Prep: Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Eggplant: In a large bowl, toss eggplant with 2 Tbsp of the oil, ¼ tsp of salt, and pepper. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway, until tender and golden.
- Sauce: Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, and remaining ¾ tsp salt. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms sweat and moisture evaporates, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the wine, cooking for 1 minute. Use your hands to crush the tomatoes as you ass them to the skillet. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pasta: Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and add the rigatoni. Cook according the package instructions, until tender but slightly al dente. Drain and place in serving bowl.
- Assemble: Stir roasted eggplant and basil into the sauce. Ladle sauce over pasta, finishing with fresh parmesan cheese.