Roasted Eggplant Tomato Penne with Arugula and Pine Nuts

Sharing some of my favorite recipes from food creator, certified health coach and host of TV Series, Elizabeth Eats.

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This dish is my new guilt-free go-to when I’m craving pasta because it reminds me of Eggplant Parmesan. The sauce is very similar, and the finely ground pine nuts have a texture similar to parmesan. And hot pasta on a cold day is just comforting.

I love this dish because it is full of powerful plant nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber.

It is also gluten-free and vegan. It makes a great light meal or side dish for dinner; serve it alongside organic chicken or organic grassed beef if that is your style.

Roasted Eggplant Tomato Penne with Arugula and Pine Nuts

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups lentil penne (low carb, about 5grams per serve unlike pasta 43grams! and 24grams protein!)

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • 4 vine ripe tomatoes, stemmed and quartered

  • 3 shallots, peeled and cut into thirds

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, whole and left in the skin

  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts, finely chopped in the food processor

  • 8 large fresh basil leaves

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (more or less for heat to your taste)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided, plus more for the pasta water

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula (or any other greens)

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Recipe:

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare the eggplant, tomatoes, shallots, carrot and garlic for roasting. For the eggplant, cut the ends off, leave skin in tact, cut into 1 inch cubes. Continue to chop all vegetables of the same size so they roast evenly. Spread on a baking sheet, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Step 2. While the vegetables are roasting, pulse the pine nuts in your food processor until finely chopped, about 6 long pulses until it resembles the texture of parmesan.

Step 3. After 15 minutes in the oven, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add about a tablespoon or so of salt to the water to flavor the pasta (most if it says in the water) and cook the pasta to al dente. In most cases, read the package instructions and cook it 1-2 minutes less than the cooking time, I cook mine exactly 6 minutes. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking liquid to thin out your sauce if needed.

Tip: you can cook the pasta while you finish the sauce, or wait until after if you do not want to manage more than one process at a time.

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Step 4. To finish the sauce, carefully add the roasted vegetables to your food processor, remembering to peel the skins off the garlic first. Again, be careful as it will be hot. Along with the roasted vegetables, add 5 fresh basil leaves, the oregano, pinch of crusted red, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to the food processor, process about 30 seconds until well blended and thick. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if needed.

Step 5. In a large bowl (or back into the pasta pot), add the drained pasta, ground pine nuts, then sauce. Add the sauce last so you can adjust the amount if needed. Once combined, use a small amount of the starchy pasta water if the sauce needs to be thinned out, I usually don’t have to in this dish but it will depend on the type of pasta you use and how much water was in your vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon at a time if needed until the desired texture is achieved.

Step 6. While hot, fold in 2 cups (that’s about two large handfuls) of fresh arugula. The heat of the dish will wilt the greens. Garnish with your last few basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Best served hot, but it’s also delicious room temp or cold.