This eggplant + tomato pasta might appear ultra hearty at first glance, but it’s actually bursting with bright, unexpected flavors. A few months back, Dan and I developed a complete food crush on this little Mediterranean spot in a nearby neighborhood. It’s quaint and unassuming but their food pops with brightness and is awesomely unique. My absolute favorite dish is a mixture of stewed tomatoes, eggplant, and cilantro that is spiced with cinnamon and served over warm cous cous. I’ve spent many a recent evening trying to recreate this dish and perfect the spicing, and I’m happy to say that I think I finally got it right.
Plum tomatoes, eggplant, and cilantro are stewed together with garlic, cinnamon, paprika, coriander, and a pinch of cayenne to create a saucy stew that exudes warmth and comfort. This is a pasta dish that is fun and a bit different from the typical tomato-basil sauce combination. It’s sure to pleasantly (let’s hope) surprise people. This lovely sauce is also super versatile and can be served over anything from pasta to cous cous to brown rice to quinoa or you can enjoy it all on its own.
- 1 small eggplant, washed and sliced into 2x1-inch thick pieces (leave skin on)
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 plum tomatoes, cut into 16ths
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 8 ounces pasta or grain of choice, cooked
- Spread the eggplant pieces out over a baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sea salt. Let the eggplant "sweat" for at least 30-45 minutes. Rinse salt off completely and pat the eggplant dry.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes, eggplant, tomato sauce, cilantro, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, and sea salt. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over pasta or grain of choice (I used brown rice linguine).