Brown Rice Pasta with Eggplant Recipe

Since I seem to be hooked on eggplant these days, (it seems I go through phases on having favorite things to eat, and then I tire of them and move on to a new temporary favorite) I was on a mission to find another dish in which to use eggplant.  Eggplant Parmesan is my all-time favorite but is very labor intensive, and I wanted something a little less so.

I came across this recipe in an old Cooking Light Magazine, and as usual, made a few changes to it to suit what I had on hand.
It  turned out to be very simple, healthy (a prerequisite), filling , and tasted great. I will post the nutritional value at the end. Whole wheat pasta could easily be used and this would still be a healthy recipe, however brown rice pasta instead of  whole wheat pasta makes this eggplant recipe into a gluten-free dish. Gluten free is healthy for all, but especially necessary for those individuals with Celiac disease.

Ingredients for Brown Rice Pasta with Eggplant and Sauce
  • 1 (16-ounce) package brown rice penne (or ziti) - I used brown rice past shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups cubed eggplant (about 1 small)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free pasta sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pre-shredded Italian-blend or Parmesan cheese, divided  ( I sprinkled grated Asiago cheese on the top just before serving)


  • Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add eggplant and onion; sauté 8 minutes or until onion is browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and pasta sauce; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil.
  • Toss eggplant mixture with pasta. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese; toss gently. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Serve immediately.
Let me mention here that I'd never cooked brown rice pasta before and followed the directions, using a timer - but multi-tasking and not checking the pasta in between. My pasta shells were over-cooked (though still edible) and some fell apart as I rinsed them. If you have never cooked brown rice pasta before, I suggest you check the pasta every 5 minutes or so, to make sure it does not get beyond al dente.

For the sake of comparison, here is the actual picture of the completed eggplant and pasta dish from the magazine, showing the penne pasta, as opposed to my semi-mushy rice shells.

    Nutritional Information

    Amount per serving
    • Calories: 353
    • Calories from fat: 18%
    • Fat: 7.1g
    • Saturated fat: 3.1g
    • Monounsaturated fat: 2.7g
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4g
    • Protein: 11.5g
    • Carbohydrate: 56.3g
    • Fiber: 5g
    • Cholesterol: 17mg
    • Iron: 4.2mg
    • Sodium: 430mg
    • Calcium: 202mg
    Whether you end up using brown rice pasta or whole wheat pasta, this is a hearty, filling meal for fall, while eggplants are still available. It's healthy, relatively low in calories, and relatively inexpensive.

    Health Benefits of Eggplant:
    Eggplant is high in fiber and potassium, a good source of B1 and B6. It also contains important phytonutrients,and flavonoids, many which have antioxidant activity, lessening free radical and cellular damage. For more complete information, see Eggplant Health Benefits.

    Another idea  to add some for this recipe would be to add some sauteed shrimp in with the eggplant. I will try that the next time I make it.

    If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please let me know!

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