clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
An overhead shot of two light brown bowls of spicy eggplant pasta beside a small bowl of grated parmesan on a beige surface.

Spicy Eggplant Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Pasta Recipes, Main Dishes
  • Method: Oven-Roasted, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Inspired by iconic Sicilian Pasta alla Norma, this Spicy Eggplant Pasta recipe is especially foolproof thanks to 2 flavor-boosting shortcuts:

  1. Eggplant: Rather than sautéing eggplant on the stovetop to build the spicy eggplant pasta sauce, I prefer to roast it in a super hot oven, a completely hands-off approach that results in perfectly crispy & browned eggplant.
  2. Sauce: While pasta alla Norma’s spicy tomato sauce is traditionally made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, chilies, & oregano, I like to start with my favorite light & fresh jarred marinara sauce, quickly zhuzhing it up with garlic & red pepper flake-infused olive oil. This semi-homemade approach gives you the best of both worlds – the convenience of store-bought sauce + a good punch of fresh aromatic flavor!

Simply toss it all together with your favorite pasta, fresh basil, & grated parmesan cheese for a meatless pasta dinner that’s light & fresh but also super satisfying. Everything there is to love about pasta alla Norma, in 45 minutes or less! ♡ Happy cooking!


  • 2 medium eggplants, diced into 1-inch cubes (approx. 2 pounds, see Recipe Notes)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces tortiglioni or pasta of choice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • up to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, use your favorite jarred marinara sauce or make our 15-Minute Homemade Tomato Sauce (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, sliced fine
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan (see Recipe Notes)
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: additional grated cheese, chopped parsley or basil, crushed red pepper flakes, etc.


  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, ensuring one rack is positioned in the top third of the oven & a second rack is positioned in the lower third. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean up. Transfer the diced eggplant to the two prepared sheets. Drizzle ¼ cup of olive oil over top (about 2 tablespoons per baking sheet), then season well with kosher salt & ground black pepper. Toss to combine, then spread the eggplant into an even layer across both baking sheets.An overhead shot of a sheet pan of diced eggplant on parchment paper atop a beige surface.
  2. Roast the eggplant: Transfer the eggplant to the oven, placing one baking sheet on the top rack & one baking sheet on the lower rack. Roast 25-30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets & switching the oven racks about halfway through, until the eggplant is tender & deeply browned. Remove from the oven & set aside.An overhead shot of roasted eggplant on parchment paper on a sheet pan. The sheet pan sits atop a beige surface.
  3. Boil the pasta: Meanwhile, as the eggplant roasts, boil the pasta – I suggest boiling the water as soon as you place the eggplant in the oven. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. About 10 minutes before the eggplant is finished roasting, drop the pasta. Cook to al dente according to package directions, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Once cooked, carefully dip a liquid measuring cup into the pot to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water, & set aside. Carefully drain the pasta. (Learn more! How to Cook Pasta Perfectly Every Single Time!)An overhead shot of cooked tortiglioni noodles in a colander over a pot atop a beige surface.
  4. Heat the sauce: About 10 minutes before the eggplant is finished roasting, heat the tomato sauce. To a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, & crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is golden & fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomato sauce, stirring well to combine with the garlic-infused oil. Reduce heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer.An overhead shot of pasta sauce and a wooden spoon in a white frying pan atop a beige surface.
  5. Finish the spicy eggplant pasta: To the skillet with the warm tomato sauce, add the drained pasta & roasted eggplant, along with the thinly sliced basil & grated parmesan. Toss to combine well – the sauce should evenly coat the pasta & eggplant. Add in some of the reserved pasta water if the sauce needs to loosen up a little; add in an extra handful of parmesan if it needs to tighten up more. Cook 1-2 minutes longer, allowing the pasta to meld with the sauce, then remove from the heat.An overhead shot of noodles, chopped basil, roasted eggplant, parmesan and pasta sauce in a white frying pan atop a beige surface.
  6. Serve: Portion the spicy eggplant pasta into individual bowls, topping with additional grated parmesan or chopped fresh herbs as desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!An overhead shot of two light brown bowls of spicy eggplant pasta beside a small bowl of grated parmesan on a beige surface.


  • Jess’ Notes & Tips:
    • Eggplant: Eggplant is the star of the show here! For best results, use small-to-medium summer eggplant, which is more tender, more flavorful, & better textured than off-season or large eggplant.
    • Tomato sauce: Feel free to use your favorite tomato sauce for this roasted eggplant pasta recipe. If you’re in the mood for something quick & convenient, jarred pasta sauce works great – my favorite is DeLallo’s Pomodoro Fresco Marinara, which has really nice light texture & fresh flavor. If you’d like to whip up a quick batch of homemade tomato sauce, my 15-Minute Tomato Sauce is the best. It’s made with 6 simple ingredients & you can easily simmer it up while the eggplant is roasting. You’ll use about ½ a batch for this eggplant pasta recipe – feel free to reserve the rest for another use.
    • Recipe variations: This roasted eggplant pasta recipe is naturally meatless. To ensure it’s vegetarian, be sure to use your favorite rennet-free parmesan. To take it a step further & make it vegan & dairy-free, opt for your favorite non-dairy parmesan.
  • Storage & Reheating: Leftover roasted eggplant pasta will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding an extra splash of water or cooking stock to loosen up the eggplant sauce as needed, until warmed through.