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Eggplant Puttanesca

Eggplant puttanesca is a perfect blend of tender eggplant, spicy red pepper flakes, and salty olives and capers, with a slight touch of sweetness from the sauce. It’s absolutely a meal to fulfill all your senses, leaving you wanting more!

top down view of a serving of eggplant puttanesca with pasta in a bowl with items surrounding.

It’s been years since I’ve had eggplant, and I’m so glad I gave this Eggplant Puttanesca recipe a try. Both hearty and healthy, this eggplant pasta sauce is absolutely delicious!

This is a warm and cozy eggplant pasta meal with a rustic feel that I love. Ready in 30 minutes with only 8 ingredients, it makes an easy vegan weeknight meal the whole family will love. And the leftovers are even better!

To add a little freshness to your pasta meal, this Vegan Caesar Salad is a perfect starter or side to eggplant puttanesca with pasta!

top down view of ingredients used to make eggplant puttanesca recipe.

Ingredient Notes

Eggplant is simmered with onion, olives, capers, and tomato sauce, creating a wonderfully flavorful and hearty eggplant pasta sauce that’s perfect with your favorite pasta.

Here is everything you’ll need:

  • Olive oil – Use your preferred neutral-tasting oil. For oil-free, use water for water saute option.
  • Onion – Use white, yellow, or red.
  • Eggplant – Look for the freshest produce.
  • Pasta sauce – Use jarred or make this easy marinara sauce.
  • Olives – Use kalamata, green, or a medley.
  • Capers – These little pickled flower buds, add an extra layer of briny flavor but can be omitted.
  • Red pepper flakes – Add just a touch of heat, use more or less to taste.
  • Pasta – Use penne, rigatoni, rotini, elbow, etc.

Feel like adding a little garlic, add 2 – 3 minced garlic cloves with the eggplant and onion.

top down view of freshly made eggplant puttanesca in a pan with wooden spoon.

How To Make Eggplant Puttanesca

This eggplant puttanesca recipe is so easy to make and will be ready for the table in about 30 minutes!

  1. Simply saute the onion and eggplant, add the pasta sauce, olives, capers, and red pepper flakes, and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. The sauce is ready when the eggplant is fully tender.
  2. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta, once done, combine the pasta with the sauce.
  3. Serve with chopped basil and almond parmesan.

And that’s it, this hearty eggplant puttanesca with pasta is seriously delicious!

top down view of freshly made vegan eggplant puttanesca with pasta mixed in a skillet.

Serving Suggestions

This savory eggplant pasta dish is great as is, but can be made even tastier with a little help from any of these suggestions.

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
  • Freezer: This eggplant puttanesca is freezer-friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer-safe containers (affiliate link), leaving 1/4 inch head space for expansion. Let thaw before reheating.
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through, add a little sauce or water so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.
side angle view of a serving of eggplant puttanesca with pasta in a bowl with items surrounding.

More Recipes You’ll Love!

If vegan pasta dishes are your thing, you must try this:

If you try this eggplant puttanesca recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 23 reviews

An easy pasta dish with a flavorful blend of spicy from the pepper flakes, salty from the kalamata olives and slight touch of sweetness from the tomato sauce.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: simmer
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or 1/4 cup water for water saute
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/23/4 inch cubes
  • 1 (25oz) jar pasta sauce (or homemade Marinara Sauce)
  • 1/2 cup pitted olives (kalamata, green or greek)
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/21 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 16 oz. pasta of choice


In large skillet/saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat, saute onion and eggplant until tender, about 8 – 10 min. Add sauce, olives, capers, red pepper flakes, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 – 20 min. Sauce is ready when eggplant is fully tender.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Serve eggplant sauce over pasta with a light dusting of Almond Parmesan over top. Pairs well with a slice of crusty bread. 

Serves 6


If you like a little garlic, add 2 – 3 cloves, minced, when sauteing the eggplant and onion.

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  1. Have vegan friends for dinner & this looks like a wonderful pasta dish for all of us.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, it is so good and I haven’t had anyone say otherwise! Enjoy your company and meal. Cheers :)

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Rachel! I’m not familiar with canning so I can’t answer whether it can or can’t be canned. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

  2. Loved this! Made with white eggplant from farmers market. My daughter wants it again. This dish will go in my rotation.

  3. Fantastic over cauliflower steaks! I also used Japanese eggplant so it didn’t take that long to cook (I did need to add water to keep the sauce from getting too thick). Ricotta salata for the finishing touch….

  4. I made this with japanese eggplants as well as doubling the capers and adding caper brine. I am not a fan of olives, but I find since becoming vegan I do find capers a suitable “stand in”. One day I hope to develop a taste for olives…becoming a vegan has helped me to appreciate so many other wonderful tasty plants! Don’t leave off the vegan parm for a delicious addition! Great recipe!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hi! This looks amazing; I’ve not yet tried it but didn’t want to send this in with zero stars in case it registered as such! Question: What type of pasta is pictured? I know we can use any pasta, but that looks like a fun one!

    1. It looks like rigatoni to me!

  6. I would give this 10 stars! Made with some small Japanese eggplants and regular pitted black olives and pimento stuffed green olives because that’s what’s I had. My own spaghetti sauce. Went very light on the hot pepper as I’m not much on spicy. Will definitely make again… thanks for the great recipe.

  7. We love this recipe! We added a few mushrooms yum!

  8. Wonderful!! I added diced tomatoes (so salt), zucchini, garlic and fresh basil. Zero complaints, and LOW SODIUM!!!!

  9. Delicious! Made it twice this week!

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