This hearty sausage and eggplant pasta recipe is the perfect healthy comfort food. Gluten-free and filled with a variety of Italian flavours and textures, this simple meal is sure to be a hit.
This sausage and eggplant pasta was inspired by one of my favourite chefs, Giada De Laurentiis. I could spend hours watching her cook on her balcony in Florence, or browse her many cookbooks at Indigo. She made a similar recipe on her show during one of my Food Network sessions, and I just had to make it gluten-free!
This recipe is spicy, soft, and peppery. My family and coworkers have told me they loved it! Easy to make with simple, whole ingredients, you could have this comforting Italian meal in about 45 minutes. Plus about half of that is hands-off cooking!
Ingredients you need to make this sausage and eggplant pasta
The thing I love about pasta recipes is how easily customizable they are. While I like things extra hot, you can totally tone down the spice by using mild sausage and omitting the pepper flakes. Here's what you're going to need:
3 hot Italian sausages: I LOVE the Rea brand as pictured above. They state that they are gluten-free on the label, which is super important and honestly hard to come by. I like the hot flavour but use what you like!
1 large eggplant: This thing was massive, however any medium size eggplant will do!
1 lb gluten-free pasta: Use your favourite. I like a short noodle for this recipe as it can hold up to the sauce better and creates a perfect bite with the sausage and eggplant.
Extra virgin olive oil: As required in any Italian recipe! The eggplant will soak up a lot of oil and flavour, so you may need to continue adding olive oil as needed.
Garlic: Use as much or as little as you like! Again, I like a lot.
Onion: Gives great flavour to the sauce.
1 jar tomatoes: For the sauce! This quick simmer sauce is done in just 15 minutes with flavour from the sausage, garlic, onion, and spices.
Spices: Salt, pepper, basil, oregano, paprika, chilli flakes, you name it! These are what make the sauce extra amazing. Feel free to use fresh herbs if you have any.
Parmesan: Always! The parm helps to emulsify the sauce at the end and add its beautiful cheesey flavour.
How to make sausage and eggplant pasta
While the prep for this recipe will take you a few minutes, the end result is so worth it! Here's what you need to do for a healthy and hearty meal...
The first thing to do is prep all of your vegetables. This includes dicing your eggplant and onion, and mincing your garlic if you're using fresh. Having this done ahead of time will make the cooking process so much easier.
Once everything is ready, you'll want to sweat the moisture out of your eggplant. Do this by placing the diced cubes in a colander, rubbing with some salt, and letting them sit for at least 5 minutes. While that's happening, you can heat a large skillet over medium heat and remove the 3 sausages from their casings. If you don't have a very large skillet, use a pot with lid. The entire dish will end up in this vessel at the end.
Begin to brown the sausage in the skillet with a small amount of olive oil. While cooking, remove the eggplant from the colander to a paper towel to continue sweating.
Begin to boil your water for the pasta. Add salt near the boiling point. Once fully cooked, remove the sausage from the pan. Add a good amount of olive oil and sauté the eggplant for 5 minutes. You may need to add additional olive oil as the eggplant will absorb a lot. Add the onion and garlic to sauté for another 3 minutes.
Once everything softens, add your tomatoes, puréed. Stir in the spices. Turn the heat down to low and cover to simmer while you add the pasta to the water and cook. This will take 10-15 minutes.
Once the pasta is cooked, save some pasta water, drain, and add to the skillet sauce with the pasta water and some parmesan. These will help to emulsify the sauce and add a key flavour.
That's it! It is then time to plate up and enjoy. I hope that you and your family enjoy this healthy and hearty gluten-free pasta recipe.
This gluten-free sausage and eggplant pasta is the perfect healthy comfort food! You’ve gotta try this recipe. If you have, I’d love to see. Tag me on instagram @liv.glutenfree and let me know how it was in a comment below!
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Sausage and Eggplant Pasta [GF]
- 1 Eggplant
- 3 Hot Italian sausages about 1 lb
- ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ Onion diced
- 2 teaspoon Garlic minced
- 1 lb GF Pasta I like fusilli or rigatoni
- 1 jar or can San Marzano tomatoes pureed
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoon Basil (dried) sub a few leaves of fresh basil
- ½ teaspoon Oregano (dried)
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Red pepper flakes
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Wash and dice the eggplant. Toss with salt and let sit in a colander for 5 minutes. Then let sit on paper towels to draw moisture out.
- Remove your sausages from the casings and brown on medium heat in a large skillet (or pot) with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- Once the sausage is done, remove it from the skillet and let sit on a plate. Begin to boil the water for your pasta. Add olive oil to the skillet with the eggplant and sauté on medium.
- After about 5 minutes, add your onion and garlic to the skillet with additional olive oil as needed. The eggplant will absorb a lot. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the jar of tomatoes to the skillet along with all of the spices. Stir, cover, and simmer on low for about 15 minutes while the pasta cooks.
- When the water is ready, add your pasta and cook according to package instructions.
- Save ½ cup of the pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta before adding it to the skillet. Toss with parmesan cheese and pasta water.
- Plate and garnish with additional red pepper flakes, parmesan, and fresh basil. Enjoy!