Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce

Who doesn’t love a big plate of pasta?!

And what makes good pasta memorable if not for the sauce?

Well, I have transformed the most memorable Italian red sauce of my youth, (filled with ground beef, pork chops, and pepperoni) into a delicious and versatile vegan, eggplant spaghetti sauce. It was adapted from my mom’s special recipe and I kid you not, it’s the BOMB!

When I was growing up, my dear mom was known for her delicious spaghetti sauce and if it was Sunday, it was SAUCE day. She would spend all morning chopping and dicing and stirring and that beautiful scarlet gravy simmered all day long. The house smelled like a fancy Italian restaurant and every time we passed the kitchen we’d ask, “Is it done yet?”

Only Mom knew when it was done.

It was a secret recipe that I never thought my mom would share. It took years of begging and shameless pleading to finally get her to agree to give up the goods, but, under her conditions. I had to watch her and write down what she was doing. There was no actual recipe to share since she never wrote it down nearly 5 decades ago.

In my early 20’s with a family of my own, I went over to her house one Sunday morning, pen and paper in hand, ready to learn every step ofΒ  “the secret recipe”. I watched every chop, every pour, every dash of this and sprinkle of that, and so it went…

Although I would never in my right mind dare to share my mom’s exact secret recipe (my sister would kill me!), once I went plant-based I made my own secret sauce, using my mom’s as a guide. I have tweaked it quite a bit and substituted the meats for eggplant and mushrooms. The herbs and spices are always the same and the result is always delicious. Every single time I make this sauce, every single time, I think about my mom looking down with pride.

I came up with the idea of using eggplant after bringing home a ton of the stuff every week from my job at an organic veggie market. Tiring of eggplant parm and baba ganoush, I tried to think of creative ways to utilize this hearty veg as a base for my spaghetti “dressing”. The trial worked and the results were phenomenal! The eggplant adds an earthy “meatiness” as do the mushrooms and even those omnivores would be satisfied!

Sometimes I add fennel for the “what’s that?” effect. Other times I add a ton more red pepper flakes if I know it’s just my hubby and me eating it because we like it SPICY. Sometimes I am out of mushrooms so they get 86-ed from the dish. Just sayin’. Do your thing with what you’ve got! Mix it up and make it YOURS!

Perfect in so many ways, I have attached a few pictures below the nutrition facts to show how this sauce can be used as a base in tons of different dishes. It’s also typically a part of my weekly batch cooking routine since a big pot will go a long way!

Don’t forget to come back and let me know what you think!

🍎πŸ₯¦πŸ₯•

Eggplant Sauce with Macaroni

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce

Jennifer Markell
A deliciously, sweet, herb-filled vegan spaghetti sauce perfect for pasta, veggie lasagna, and Italian hoagie subs. Made using a base of eggplant and mushrooms, this sauce has a nice "meaty" texture, will fool your non-vegan friends, and will have everyone craving bite after bite. A big pot of eggplant spaghetti sauce is a great family-style go-to because it goes a long way, so I make it for parties, potlucks and holiday events.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Anytime, Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1 large onion - chopped I use yellow or sweet
  • 2 med - lg organic eggplant - peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms - white or portobello omit the mushrooms if you don't like them
  • 1 bulb fresh fennel optional - this gives the sauce a little sumthin sumthin
  • 28 oz can organic crushed tomatoes I love Muir Glen brand but also use organic store brands at times. Try to find a BPA-free container.
  • 28 oz can organic tomato puree
  • 14.5 oz can low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning/herbs - dried
  • 1 tbsp sweet basil - dried
  • 1 tbsp oregano - dried
  • 1 large bay leaf or two small ones
  • 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp organic cane sugar - granulated
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cup water add as much or little water as you like based on how thick you like your sauce

Instructions
 

  • Gather all your ingredients and peel and chop all your veg. This is called the mise en place, or set up, and it really helps make cooking super simple and fail proof. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Once the pan is hot, add the oil, the onions, and a pinch of salt. Let saute for about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, the red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and saute for another few minutes. Be sure the garlic does not burn.
  • Stir in the fennel (if using) and the mushrooms. Let saute for another 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms release their juices. Add the eggplant and stir in 1/2 the Italian seasoning, 1/2 the basil, 1/2 the oregano, and the bay leave(s). Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Be careful the pan is not too hot...you don't want the veg to burn, just to develop flavor.
  • After about 10 minutes, remove the cover. The eggplant should be softening and you should be able to smell all those delicious herbs working together. Add the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, the rest of the spices, and the sugar. Stir so everything is blending together nicely.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover loosely (let it breathe a little). You will want to let this simmer a minimum of 90 minutes or up to 5 hours. The longer you let it simmer the more developed the flavor will be. Stir every 20 minutes and be sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Check out the optional step below.
    Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce
  • Optional: About an hour or so into cooking I use a potato masher to mash the eggplant which helps the sauce develop a thicker consistency. This is totally up to you and it really just depends on what texture you are striving for...chunky or smooth. It tastes great both ways!
    Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce
  • Toss the sauce with your favorite pasta or add to a veggie casserole. It's great so many ways! Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Keyword eggplant spaghetti sauce, spaghetti sauce, vegan red sauce

Note: Nutrition Facts on all recipes are an approximation only, using the Very Well Fit recipe nutrition calculator.

Here are a few more ideas for this delicious eggplant red sauce!

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce on flatbread pizzas!

 

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce tossed with rigatoni pasta and topped with sauteed spinach and mushrooms.

 

Eggplant Sauce with Macaroni

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce with Elbow Macaroni

 

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce tossed with penne pasta and Gardein vegan meatballs and sausage.

Eggplant Spaghetti Sauce tossed with penne pasta and Gardein vegan meatballs and sausage.


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49 Comments

  1. angela on at

    This sauce would be great with spaghetti squash to keep it gluten-free for me.

    • Jennifer on at

      Oooh, Angela, you hit the nail on the head! I love spaghetti squash. This sauce is perfect for that…I make that a lot! Thanks for your reply!

  2. Kendra on at

    5 stars
    Hubby and I LOVE eggplant! I’ll definitely be making this soon!

    • Jennifer on at

      Come back and let me know what you think. It’s so yummy! πŸ˜›

  3. Joanne on at

    Love all the yummy ingredients in this recipe!

    • Chris on at

      5 stars
      Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

    • Jennifer on at

      Right?! And so healthy too! πŸ˜€

  4. Haley Kelley on at

    so excited to try this!!! thanks!

    • Jennifer on at

      Thanks! I hope you do! Let me know how it turns out…

  5. jen on at

    looks scrumptious

    • Jennifer on at

      So. Very. Scrumptious. πŸ˜€ Thanks for your note!

  6. Karie on at

    Never heard of eggplant in spaghetti sauce. I am still wrapping my head around it but it looks delicious. πŸ™‚

    • Jennifer on at

      I know, I know…trust me! πŸ˜‰

  7. Laura on at

    Looks yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Jennifer on at

      Thanks for the note!

  8. Nicole Cruze on at

    This looks so yummy!

  9. Jane on at

    5 stars
    Anything with eggplant, I’m in! I’m definitely trying this recipe this weekend!

    • Jennifer on at

      Oooh, please come back and let me know what you think. I love when people actually do try them…LOL πŸ˜€ Happy cooking!

  10. Jane on at

    5 stars
    Looks delicious and I love eggplant so this makes it even more perfect! I will make this recipe this weekend!πŸ˜‹

  11. Leigh Ann on at

    This looks so good. Egg plant has recently become one of my new favorite vegetables so I could totally see me trying this out on the family!

    • Jennifer on at

      Great! I hope the recipe speaks for itself! πŸ˜€

  12. Tricia Snow on at

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it!

    • Jennifer on at

      Thanks! πŸ˜€ I appreciate your note.

  13. Heather on at

    This looks really good. Thank you for the recipe.

  14. Wow, I’ve never thought of doing eggplant!

  15. Anna on at

    5 stars
    Love love love eggplants. And the dish looks delicious! I pinned it! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! Yummy. Cannot wait to try it!

    • Jennifer on at

      Thanks, Anna! I hope you will come back and let me know what you think. I appreciate the note!

  16. Ramae Hamrin on at

    5 stars
    I’ve never thought of putting eggplant in spaghetti sauce, but now it seems obvious! This looks incredible!

    • Jennifer on at

      Right?! I just didn’t know what to do with all that eggplant! πŸ˜€

  17. Stacey on at

    This looks really good! I’ve never had eggplant in spaghetti sauce. I’ll bet it’s really good on the flatbread, too!

    • Jennifer on at

      So good on the flatbread! Pretty much so good with anything…even just dipping bread in it! πŸ˜€

  18. 5 stars
    I’m definitely gonna try this sauce, but with spaghetti squash noodles. Looks Yummy!!

    • Jennifer on at

      Yes! I use spaghetti squash as a base for this sauce all the time! Great idea! Let me know if you make it… πŸ˜€ Thanks for your note.

  19. Laura Lee on at

    I like eggplant, but always struggle with how to use it. This sounds like a great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jennifer on at

      Thanks for your comment, Laura Lee!

  20. Jen on at

    I love pasta! This looks really good.

    • Jennifer on at

      Thank you! πŸ˜€

  21. Karla on at

    I have introduced eggplant to my kids in the past 6 months… and they don’t know it yet. LOL. It’s in dishes like this. I’m saving this recipe.

    • Jennifer on at

      Hahaha…genious! That’s the best way to get veg into picky eaters…without them knowing! This is also great for family style meals! Thanks for your reply. πŸ˜€

  22. Jill on at

    Oh, how I can smell it from here! And what a great way to use eggplant! I love it, but don’t have many uses for it. Thanks for the share!

    • Jennifer on at

      πŸ˜€ Thank you!

  23. 5 stars
    This looks like such a lovely meatless meal! We try to go meatless once a week, and we have a vegan family member. So when she visits we like to have a meatless dinner. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. katie on at

    yum yum yum! can not wait to try this as we are incorporating more meat-free dinners in our weekly meal plan. This looks so tasty!

    • Jennifer on at

      Great! Let me know if you try it! Thanks for the note. πŸ˜€

  25. Emily on at

    OAKKKKKKAAAYY! Delish!

  26. Michele on at

    I am not vegan but this looks delicious 😊 May have to try it!

  27. Lina on at

    I love eggplants! This recipe looks delicious πŸ™‚

  28. Enkida on at

    Looks like a good recipe. I am making it, and I threw in some extra carrots and celery as well, but I wonder — you mentioned throwing in water with all the tomatoes, but you don’t have any water or stock listed in the ingredients. I’m assuming you just use enough water to give the sauce the consistency you want. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jennifer Markell on at

      Hi Enkida!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to try this recipe AND to comment. I can’t believe I forgot the water in the writing of the recipe and I am going in to fix it right now! You got it right tho…you add just enough to give you the consistency you want. Some folks like a thick sauce, some a little thinner. My Mom used to fill the tomato can up with water and that was her measuring tool. I appreciate you and I hope you will check out more Vegan It Real recipes! (And, continue to let me know when something is missing). ~ Chef Jennifer

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Meet Jennifer

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I'm Chef Jennifer! A trained and certified personal vegan chef, offering delicious and nutritious animal-free food through personalized, weekly meal-prep services. I also love advocating for the plant-based lifestyle. Changing lives, saving animals and veganizing the planet with REAL food, one plate at a time.🍎πŸ₯¦πŸ₯•

Learn about me, why I started VIR and why I believe food is medicine...for real!


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