Pasta Alla Norma – Eggplant Tomato Pasta

August 24, 2016

This pasta alla norma or eggplant tomato pasta recipe is delicious. This version is vegan and gluten-free, and is a quick easy family dinner.

This Pasta Alla Norma or eggplant tomato pasta is really easy but full of fabulous flavor. This version is vegan and gluten-free, and is a fantastic, quick, easy dinner the whole family can enjoy.

I love eggplant! And I’ll take it any way I can get it. I’m quite partial to some miso-roasted eggplant squares, it makes fabulous low-carb replacements for conventional pasta sheets in lasagnas, and it’s magic in tomato-based pasta dishes.

But, I will never pass up ordering Pasta Alla Norma at a restaurant, and this recipe is a staple in our house.

This eggplant tomato pasta is super easy to throw together and is absolutely delicious. I’m not a fan of pre-packaged pasta sauces. They always lack depth of flavor, and they’re not as fresh and nutrient-dense as the homemade blends.

When I make tomato sauces I like to blend a variety of canned, and sun-dried tomatoes with tomato paste in order to get a reliable consistent flavor profile. The quality and taste of fresh tomatoes varies so greatly around the world, and I want to ensure consistent results no matter where you live and what your produce is like. I’ll often throw in fresh tomatoes as well. But, in this recipe I’ve keep things really simple and rustic.

Adding a bit of Massel broth to your sauces infuses extra flavor. I’ve been using this brand for over 30 years because it’s superior in quality and flavor than any other commercial broth I’ve tasted, and it’s gluten-free, vegan, non GMO, and has no added MSG. The broths come in vegetable, chicken-flavored, and beef-flavored varieties, and you can choose from stock cubespowder, or concentrated liquid.

Massel is available nationwide in Australia. You can find it in the U.S at select grocers and health food stores, and some Wholefoods. Use the store locator on the Massel website to find your local store or order online.

You can also add some shredded carrot, zucchini, celery, or other veggies to boost the nutrient potential of the sauce. But, for a quick easy meal you can’t beat the base recipe.

Now, the age-old eggplant question: To sweat or not to sweat? There are many people out there who say that sweating eggplant (salting it to bring out the liquids and reduce bitterness) is a waste of time, and it makes no difference to the flavor. For my money, I like to sweat, even if it only makes a slight difference. But, you can skip that step if you prefer.

Let me know what you think of my Pasta Alla Norma, and note any tweaks you make in the comments. Bon Appetit!

*I’m an ambassador for Massel, but my opinions are my own.


Pasta Alla Norma

This Pasta Alla Norma or eggplant tomato pasta recipe is delicious. This version is vegan and gluten-free, and is a quick easy family dinner.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author Tess Masters



  1. In a large bowl, toss 2 tablespoons of the salt through the cubed eggplant, and allow the eggplant to sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rinse the eggplant thoroughly, and drain in a colander. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  2. While the eggplant is sweating, make the pasta sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, and sauté the onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the broth, canned tomatoes and their juices, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, red pepper flakes, ground pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring periodically, until thickened. Allow the sauce to cool slightly, and stir in the maple syrup.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the blender, and puree at medium speed for about 10 seconds, so the sauce is still rustic and somewhat chunky. Set aside in the blender, wash the saucepan, and return to the stove to cook the eggplant.
  5. In another large pot, cook the pasta. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain, and set aside.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, place the saucepan you made the tomato sauce in back on the stove, and over medium-high heat warm the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil, and sauté the eggplant for about 10 minutes until soft and tender. Add the blended tomato sauce, pasta, and stir for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mesh. Season with salt and pepper, and serve topped with finely chopped basil.

Recipe Notes

Find more recipes using Massel broth
Photo by Trent Lanz; styling by Alicia Buszczak