Even omnivores will enjoy this Eggplant and Mushroom Rigatoni.
Rigatoni takes me back to my childhood. My mom loved to make baked rigatoni with sausage and lots of cheese. She would make a whole casserole dish of baked rigatoni and we would eat it for days. I still love rigatoni today. It is one of my favorite cuts of pasta. I have been wanting to create a healthier and vegan rigatoni recipe for awhile now. I was inspired by the local eggplant at my farmers market to create an eggplant rigatoni. To make the sauce feel a little bit more meaty, finely diced cremini mushrooms take the place of ground meat in the sauce.
To pump of the nutrition of the Eggplant and Mushroom Rigatoni, I used whole wheat rigatoni. I like to use whole wheat rigatoni because it has more fiber and protein than regular pasta.
The sauce is layered with flavor. A few simple ingredients create a complex and flavorful sauce. The combination of San Marzano tomatoes, red wine and balsamic vinegar is out of this world. The balsamic vinegar really takes this sauce to the next level. Red pepper flakes add a little spicy kick to the sauce.
I didn’t add any vegan cheese to the pasta since I wanted to keep this recipe on the lighter side. And I don’t think this Eggplant and Mushroom Rigatoni needs any cheese. If you are in the mood for a cheesy Eggplant and Mushroom Rigatoni, add your favorite vegan cheese!
I think this is one of those pasta recipes that even omnivores will enjoy!
If you make this recipe or any recipe, I’d love to see your photos on Instagram. Be sure to follow and tag @thymeandlove. I’d love to see what you are making!
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion, diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 10 ounce package Cremini Mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 Large Globe Eggplant, diced small*
- 1 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Tsp Oregano
- 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 28 ounce Can San Marzano Tomatoes, including their juices
- 1 12 once package Whole Wheat Rigatoni
- 1/2 Cup Pasta Cooking Liquid
- Fresh Parsley or Basil for serving
- In a large deep saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggplant and mushrooms. Cook for 10-14 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomato pasta and stir. Cook for one minute.
- Add the oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine; cook until most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. Use the back of a spoon the break apart the tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, make the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water.
- Cook the pasta according to package direction.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Set aside.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the tomato sauce. Pour in the reserved cooking liquid. Gently toss to combine.
- Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Serve with fresh herbs.
I leave the eggplant peel on, but if you're not a fan of the texture feel free to remove the eggplant skin.