Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomatoes with Short Pasta

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Eggplant, tomato, and zucchini with pasta is truly one of my favorite Italian pasta recipes. It’s healthy, easy to make, and is a great way to use your fresh vegetables from the garden. If you don’t grow your own vegetables, don’t worry about it; just pick some up at your local grocery store or farmers market.

eggplant tomato and zucchini with pasta

I’ve made this recipe during all seasons with great success, not just summer. You can see my quick video below showing how easy it is to make.

About this Recipe 

The first time I had this recipe was at my mother in law’s house during the summer, and it was so simple to make and it tasted so amazing. All I remember was she chopped up eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh basil and just cooked it all together.

I had to get the recipe. I wanted to cook it just like she did! The problem was that like many recipes like this, there is no recipe with quantities and instructions. So, I estimated her quantities and now I make adjustments each time based on what I have on hand.  

The point is that you don’t have to worry about getting everything just right. Use my recipe as a baseline and adjust ingredients and quantities as you see fit.  

eggplant and fresh tomatoes
This is a picture of how it looks with fresh tomatoes in season which I don’t always have available.

If you don’t have fresh tomatoes – use diced tomatoes from a can. If you only have grape tomatoes, fine use those. Not sure what variety of zucchini to use? No worries – any will do (although Italian zucchini is my favorite). And the same goes with the eggplant.  

Eggplant, Tomatoes, Zucchini – A Perfect Recipe Mix 

The combination of these three ingredients can’t be understated. The flavors complement each other and when cooked down in their own natural juices we get a perfect mix.  

When using this recipe, try to decide how large you want the vegetables chopped. I chop each of the vegetables the same size in ½ inch cubes. You can, however, cut them as you want. 

Just remember to put a lid on the pan so the steam is trapped inside. Since eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes all have high water content, we want to keep as much of it as we can. I’ll explain more later on.  

It will take about 20 minutes to cook down, but this can vary depending on how high you have the heat. If it’s too high, it may cook off the water too quickly and the veggies will start to stick to the pan.  

You’ll need to keep an eye on them every so often. I recommend keeping it at a medium-low heat setting. 

How Long Does this Pasta Recipe Take to Make? 

Time frame – I’d allow about an hour total, most of which is unattended. Plan for 15 minutes to prep the eggplant, zucchini and the tomatoes. Then 25-30 minutes to cook them down and another 5 minutes for everything to mix together when you add the pasta.  

Doesn’t Eggplant Take a Long Time to Prepare? 

You can take the time to properly prep the eggplant by letting it drain after salting it. This can remove some of the bitterness. Sometimes I do and other times I don’t really care and chop it up and start cooking it over the stove right away. 

Since we are cooking the eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini down together, we want this recipe to be as quick as possible. I don’t think draining the eggplant is necessary and I skip it with this recipe.

Type of Pan to Saute the Vegetables

What is great about this dish is that it is a one pot meal – meaning everything (except the pasta) can be cooked all in one pan.  

The best kind of pan is one with deep sides. I love my Cusinart pan that we got from Amazon.  It is worth every penny and cleans up very nicely. It’s 100% Stainless Steel and cleans up wonderfully. 

How to Make this Easy Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Zucchini Recipe 

Making this recipe couldn’t be easier. I’m always amazed at how simple it is every time I make it.  

ingredients for eggplant zucchini tomatoes  and pasta

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • 1 eggplant 
  • 1 zucchini 
  • 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh tomatoes or diced canned tomatoes) 
  • 3 cloves of garlic 
  • Pasta – I use short in this recipe, but any shape will do. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil for sautéing the vegetables and garlic 
  • Romano cheese – for adding at the end 
  • Fresh basil (optional). You can also add some dried basil if you don’t have fresh leaves, which is preferred. 

Steps for making pasta with eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes 

For this recipe, there are five main steps which I describe below. 

  1. Chop the vegetables
  2. Sauté/cook the vegetables and garlic 
  3. Cook the pasta 
  4. Mix together 
  5. Top with the basil and cheese 

Chop the vegetables 

To start, you first need to cut up the eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. As I mentioned above make sure to cut them approximately the same size and shape. If using grape or cherry tomatoes, just cut them into halves.  

Cook the vegetables on the stove 

chop the eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini

Next, heat about 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a deep sided saute pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini at the same time. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.  

Check the vegetables every 10 minutes and give them a stir to make sure they are not sticking. If they are sticking to the pan, add in a few tablespoons of water to loosen them up. We want there to be liquid! 

Start cooking the pasta 

boil the pasta

Meanwhile start cooking the pasta by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and add in the pasta. The pasta will probably be ready before the vegetables are cooked down. If this is the case, just drain the pasta but reserve some of the pasta water and let the pasta sit until ready.  

Add the garlic 

Once the vegetables start cooking down, they should release a lot of their liquid. When they start releasing their liquid, add the garlic. This way, the garlic won’t burn since it will be in the vegetable juices that are being cooked out. 

Mix the pasta with the eggplant mixture 

add the pasta to the tomatoes eggplant and zucchini
Picture of my rigatoni with the vegetables. Notice I only had canned tomatoes when I took the photos, they cooked down a lot! It is delicious!

When the vegetables are ready, add in the drained pasta. Stir well and let the pasta reheat and absorb the flavors.  

Add in the fresh basil and you’ll be in heaven! 

Add the cheese as a final topping when being served. The basil itself is optional, as some people don’t care for basil.  

Can You Use Frozen Vegetables? 

Big tip, don’t try to cut corners using frozen vegetables here. It produces a different result and I don’t recommend it. This recipe uses chunks of fresh vegetables that are cooked just long enough to not be a goopy sloppy mess.  

Unfortunately, when using frozen vegetables, that’s what we end up with – a soggy mess. However, that’s not to say you can never use frozen vegetables. I use frozen zucchini many times with my pasta and saute the zucchini with olive oil and garlic

Recipe Variations  

This recipe comes with lots of room for flexibility with ingredients and ways of cooking. I’ll share some ideas with you below and you can run with it. Make sure to let me know how it goes.  

Try different types of eggplant 

No one says you have to use these big purple ones. Try Japanese or other varieties.  

Use Italian zucchini or another type 

Italian zucchini  goes with eggplant

I wouldn’t recommend another type of squash such as yellow squash, but there are tons of zucchini varieties. If you’re not a fan of zucchini, try an Italian zucchini which are like the very pale green varieties. These tend to be much milder in flavor, and actually are my favorite kind to use. Unfortunately, I have to grow them at home, so they’re not always available.  

Not a fan of tomatoes? 

If you’re not crazy about tomatoes, just skip them. Or try adding pasta sauce as an alternative. I love adding cooked vegetables with my pasta sauce! 

Grill the vegetables instead 

You can really mix things up by grilling your vegetables and then adding them to the pasta. If you do, you can still chop the vegetables, you’ll just need to turn them over, so they grill evenly.  

Other Similar Recipes 

If you like this type of recipe, be sure to check out these other similar recipes too.  

pasta with eggplant zucchini

Pasta with eggplant and zucchini is similar to this recipe but uses pasta sauce and can be used with tortellini pasta.  

Pasta with fresh tomatoes and garlic is super easy and a great summer recipe that is refreshing! 

pasta with spinach

Pasta with spinach and cannellini beans is not only easy, but also healthy! 

What to Make with Eggplant Zucchini and Tomatoes?

Here are a few side dishes that will go with this eggplant, zucchini and tomato recipe. 

how to make italian green beans recipe

Italian green beans with garlic is quick to make and healthy.  

italian chickpea salad

Italian garbanzo bean salad – This salad uses garbanzo beans also known as chickpeas. It is full of healthy protein and is super easy to make.

italian cannellini bean salad healthy

Cannellini bean salad – This delicious salad uses cannellini beans, olives and other delicious Italian ingredients.

I hope this recipe goes over well in your kitchen!

If you try it let me know below in the comments. Make sure to also sign up for our weekly emails filled with delicious Italian recipes, product reviews and videos! 

Enjoy the recipe and video below! 

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eggplant zucchini tomatoes pasta

Eggplant, Tomatoes, Zucchini with Pasta

This recipe is super easy and tastes great. It uses fresh eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes.
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Name: eggplant zucchini tomato recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb pasta Short thick pasta preferred- ziti, rigatoni, etc.
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped eggplant You can leave skin off or peel.
  • 1 medium chopped zucchini You can use 2 zucchini if you want more
  • 3 medium fresh tomatoes chopped You can use 14-16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves – roughly chopped
  • grated Romano cheese for topping at the end
  • 5-7 fresh basil leaves optional if you don't have any basil on hand

Instructions

  • Chop the vegetables. 
  • Heat water in a medium sauce pan to start cooking the pasta. Set aside when done and reserve some pasta water. 
  • Meanwhile in a separate large frying pan heat olive oil over medium heat – one that has deep sides is best – you will need lots of room. 
  • Add in the chopped eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes.  Don't worry about adding water. They will soon release their liquid and you'll have steam. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir and cover with a lid.
  • After vegetables begin to cook down, add in the garlic.
  • After about 20 minutes or so, add in the cooked pasta, stir and blend well. 
  • Add in the fresh basil (optional) and let cook for a few more minutes 
  • Serve and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese. 

Video

Notes

  1. You can really do many things with this dish. You can add fresh basil which always goes well with zucchini. 
  2. I suggest using a short, thicker pasta such as ziti or rigatoni. However, if you want to use another type, that is fine, but avoid delicate types like angel hair.  
  3. This recipe will stay good in the fridge longer than most recipes. It will be good for up to 4 or 5 days. 
  4. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, don’t sweat it – I used diced tomatoes as you will see in my video, and it still tasted great. 
  5. Zucchini – if you happen to get your hands on Italian White Zucchini (or pale green) it is awesome in this recipe because the flavor is a bit milder, and it just adds a unique flavor. 

Enjoy!

Liz

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomatoes with Short Pasta
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8 Comments

  1. I enjoy trying different Italian recipes and compare to what my mom made … it was all from memories no recipes to follow … so if its close to what my mom made it goes in my recipes folders. Thank you for the newsletter and recipes.
    Ciao

  2. 5 stars
    I think you are a character 😍and will try your recipe. Easy enough. Thanks for tips on pans and which pasta works best.

  3. Hello. I would like to try this dish but before doing so I have a question. I noticed that in your ingredients that four cups of pasta sauce is included but this addition isn’t included in your directions. Also, when watching your video you said to peel the vegetables and you did do the zucchini, but the pic shows the skin on the eggplant. I couldn’t tell with the zucchini. Can you clarify please?

  4. Hello. I submitted a comment and at first it appeared on your site, but now it has been removed. What happened? I was waiting for your response so that I can make your recipe correctly. Can you give the accurate directions please? I would really appreciate it. Grazie mille!

  5. Hi Mina,

    I’m sorry, not sure what happened. I would recommend peeling the eggplant, you don’t have to with the zucchini. I like to peel my veggies if the skin is tough, but honestly you can do it any way you want! I hope that helps and thanks for pointing out about the directions – fixing it now!

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you your delivery is very helpful to the novice, I’m trying to understand recipes and having not always a nice finish results. This recipe was not one. It came out nicely. So many recipes require 10/20 ingredients I can’t afford. And many say oh easy recipe that we probably have already, well that is not true. So thank you for this awesome simple recipe for other’s who are needing simple doable recipes

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