12 ounces dry pasta
1/2 small eggplant, cubed
2 cups cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1.5 cups vegan marinara sauce
2 cup water
2 tsp sea salt + more for eggplant
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.Rinse and dice eggplant into small, bite-sized cubes. Place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle generously with salt to draw out some of the moisture. Wait 20-30 minutes, then rinse and pat thoroughly dry with a towel. Set aside. If you’re short on time, skip the eggplant and double the mushrooms.
2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil, the eggplant and 1 clove of minced garlic. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sea salt and stir. Sautee for 3-5 minutes or until a golden brown color is achieved, then add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more or until all of the veggies have color. Set aside and cover – you will top the pasta with it.
3. To the same saucepan, add the pasta, water, marinara sauce, the remaining cloves of garlic. Start with 1.5 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper, adding to taste.
4. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer until the pasta is cooked to al dente – will vary depending on kind of pasta – but typically an average of 10 minutes, stirring once or twice so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
5. Once cooked, stir and taste to adjust seasonings. I added more salt and fresh herbs at this point.
6. Remove from heat and top with eggplant-mushroom mixture and more fresh parsley or basil. Serve immediately.