Roast Eggplant and Kale Bolognese is a hearty, healthy meal that’s easy to prepare and freezes well too. Gluten free and dairy free, serve this over your favourite pasta or make veggie noodles for a grain free/paleo option.
Mmm mmm, it’s finally time for some kickass PASTA to appear on Nourish Every Day! Veggie packed, healthy wholesome roast eggplant and kale bolognese. I can’t quite believe it, but in the three years or so I’ve had this website, I haven’t blogged a pasta recipe once. This is the pasta debut!
Truthfully, until very recently I hadn’t been eating much pasta at all day-to-day. Not because I’m a carb-o-phobe or grain-o-phobe (buckwheat, rice and quinoa are all part of my kitchen essentials). But just because, a good gluten free pasta isn’t always easy to find, and there are so many other tasty easy GF meal ideas out there. Our dinners usually involve a GF grain and/or a starchy veg like sweet potato and potato for the carbohydrate element.
But suddenly I’ve wanted pasta, pasta pasta, and since we’ve moved back home I’ve made three batches of this roast eggplant and kale bolognese.
The pasta craving started with a surprisingly awesome visit to a pasta restaurant in Barcelona, of all places; a restaurant called Macchina. Yep, in the midsummer stinking heat, I smashed a bowl of GF spirals covered in a roasted veggie tomato sauce. And it inspired me to seek out some of the better, and more nutritious, GF pasta options. I’ve been playing around with buckwheat, quinoa/brown rice, and pulse (legume) pasta. There are some really nice alternatives out there!
This roast eggplant and kale bolognese packs in serious amounts of veggies and serious flavour. Rather than cook the eggplant into the sauce, it’s roasted in the oven then stirred through at the end. So, you get delicious bursts of roasted eggplant heaven all through your sauce. Sooooooo good. A little, easy shift in preparation that’s so worth it.
Perfect for batch cooking, serve this roast eggplant and kale bolognese over your favourite pasta (or zoodles, if you want!), and store and leftovers in the freezer!
p.s. I photographed this bolognese with additional kale and the optional peas served on the side, just to add a little extra green to the photo 🙂 But in the recipe you cook the kale and peas right into the sauce so it’s a bit simpler and easier to make.
p.p.s. I realise some of my readers may love the look of this but may not eat meat, or may not eat red meat. You can make this same sauce and use (i) turkey mince if you choose not to eat red meat, or (ii) cooked brown lentils (yes you can use tinned) in place of the mince if you choose not to eat meat at all.
Roast Eggplant and Kale Bolognese
- 1 medium to large eggplant
- 1 brown onion
- 1 red capsicum
- 5 large kale leaves (I typically use dark curly kale)
- 1 cup frozen peas - OPTIONAL
- 200 grams veal mince *
- 300 grams pork mince * - you can just use 500 grams of pork mince to make things easier!
- 500 mL tomato passata
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp dried Italian herb mix
- 2 tsp dried garlic granules/flakes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to season
- extra virgin olive oil for cooking
- pasta of choice, to serve
Make the eggplant
- Preheat oven to 180 C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Dice the eggplant into thick cubes; about 1.5-2cm thickness. Spread out on the lined tray and drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for approximately 25 minutes - continue with the rest of the recipe while it’s roasting.
Make the sauce
- Finely slice and onion and capsicum. Rinse the kale leaves but set them aside for now. Get the mince out of the fridge and have that ready to go, together with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
- Heat a large deep sauté pan or saucepan to a high heat on the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus the onion and capsicum to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is golden and translucent and capsicum is softened.
- Add the mince to the pan and continue to cook, stirring and breaking up the mince so it cooks evenly. As it’s browning, add the garlic, mixed herbs, smoked paprika and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Once the mince is almost browned through (a few pink patches are okay), pour in the passata and the balsamic vinegar and give it all a good stir. Reduce the heat so the sauce is gently simmering.
- While the sauce is simmering, grab the kale leaves. Tear the tender leaves from the rough centre stalk, doing it in small pieces and chucking them right into the pan. Keep stirring the sauce as you do it, so the kale cooks into the sauce. If you're using the frozen peas as well, add these at the same time.
- Cook the sauce for 10-15 minutes in total. If the sauce gets too thick, add water as it’s cooking.
- As the sauce is finishing, your eggplant should be done. Pop the roasted eggplant into the pan too and stir it through the sauce. Taste test and add extra salt and pepper or other spices as desired.
Make the pasta and serve
- Cook your chosen pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Serve up portions of pasta topped with the bolognese sauce. A little sprinkle of grated parmesan, crumbled feta and some nutritional yeast flakes (for dairy free) is always a good idea!
Love a freezer-friendly meal idea? Why not try batch cooking these as well:
- Slow Cooker Lamb Pumpkin Curry
- One Pot Healthy Beef and Quinoa Chilli
- Spiced Sweet Potato and Capsicum Soup
I’ve made this many times now, always with success. Easy to do and very tasty. Sometimes I add in grated carrots. Thank you!
Hi Hazel, thank you for taking the time to leave me such a nice comment on this recipe. I love this bolognese and it is one of the weekly meals I make for myself and my husband. Means a lot that you like it! And I love the idea of adding carrots too 🙂
Oh, this looks so hearty and comforting! And I would definitely use the wine in place of the vinegar….it adds such a depth of flavor to dishes <3
This looks simply amazing. I can’t wait to make this and dive right in!
Thank you so much Carrie! Hope you enjoy it 🙂
Really agree with you that eggplants make a yummy hearty sauce – that reminded me I haven’t used eggplants for a while. Our local farm has those beautiful kale crowns – I can’t wait to make this recipe! We always serve extra greens on the side of pasta, so I think your extra veggie shots, in addition to being gorgeous, are totally spot on!
I go through phases with eggplant too 🙂 At the moment I’m just obsessed with having it roasted and thrown into everything – pasta sauce, salad, even scrambled eggs! Thank you for your kind words Yang!
What a beautiful bowl of goodness!! I love that eggplant and the meats; so yummy!!!
Thank you so much Megan 🙂 I really do love this pasta sauce and it’s been the thing we’ve eaten the most of this last month, I just couldn’t get enough of it!
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish
This is such a lovely meal. I LOVE eggplant and especially love it with all that saucy goodness. This looks so good!
Thank you so much Emily, you can’t go wrong with eggplant and loads of sauce, right 🙂
Love this – my kids would inhale this kind of dinner! We’ll be trying it soon! Thank you!
It is definitely a kid-friendly dinner – they love a loaded up pasta dish don’t they! Thanks so much 🙂
This recipe is gorgeous! Great photos too:)
Thank you so much Linda! Ha I’m getting better with the photos, slowly 🙂
This looks incredible! I love that it’s chock full of all the things I love.
Thank you Jean 🙂 Haha yes I packed a whole lotta meaty, veggie love in there!
Beautiful! I love eggplant!
Thank you Lindsey 🙂 I’m a huge eggplant fan too – SO good roasted!!