A delicious recipe for smoky tomato and aubergine pasta with black olives. A great vegetarian dinner recipe that the whole family will love.
I’ve mentioned before that four-year-old R has developed a bit of an obsession with black olives. This is showing no signs of waning* and seeing as his fruit and vegetable intake is still pretty low I’m going to make the most of it.
We had this sauce with pasta and it was really tasty. I was a bit worried that I’d put too much paprika in for the children but they both loved it. I haven’t added any salt to this recipe as the olives are fairly high in salt. However, feel free to add salt to taste if desired.
In fact, as an aside, I am being constantly amazed at the moment by how much R’s eating has improved now he has hit the grand old age of four years and five months. He still won’t touch fruit for anything but he’s increasingly trying new things and not moaning about what is served up to him. I can’t tell you what a relief it is!
Is this aubergine pasta recipe suitable for babies and toddlers?
This is a great pasta recipe to serve to babies and toddlers. I would recommend leaving out the olives however as they are very salty and can be a choking hazard.
The sauce can be blended to make it really smooth for babies or left as it is for older babies and toddlers.
Using larger pasta shapes will make it easier for little hands to pick them up if you’re doing baby led weaning.
And be sure to have a cloth to hand – tomato sauce + babies = a huge mess!
Do you need to salt aubergines before cooking?
Aubergines – known as eggplant in many other countries – have a bad reputation as a vegetable that can be somewhat tricky to cook.
The very first aubergine recipe I cooked was a vegetable moussaka recipe from a 1990s veggie cookbook belonging to my mum. In this recipe you have to slice the aubergines into rounds, sprinkle them liberally with salt, leave for ages, then rinse them and pat them dry. The reason for this palaver is to stop the aubergines from soaking up all the oil as they cook.
If you’ve ever fried an aubergine you’ll know what I mean. No sooner have you started frying them than the pan is dry. Those pesky aubergines have soaked up the lot!
The salting process prevents them from doing it but frankly I don’t have the time to do that these days. I often just add a dash of water to the frying pan to stop them sticking to be honest.
How to roast aubergines
For some reason, when being roasted aubergines don’t seem to soak up the oil at such a terrifying speed. When you want to roast your aubergines you’ll need to preheat the oven, get a large roasting tin ready and prepare any other ingredients first eg onions or garlic. Get your jar of olive oil ready.
The reason for all this organisation is that aubergines brown very quickly once cut so once you’ve done your chopping you’ll want to get them in that tin and in the oven as quickly as possible.
I prefer to roast my aubergine in cubes. Try to cut them similar sizes so that they cook evenly. If you prefer slices go for it. Once they’re in the oven you don’t need to do much to them, other than stir the aubergines every now and then to stop them from sticking to the pan.
More vegetarian pasta sauce recipes
Sundried tomato pasta sauce with walnuts and chipotle (on my vegan food blog cookveggielicious.com)
How to make smoky tomato and aubergine pasta sauce with black olives
This is a really easy aubergine pasta dish to make. It’s really just a case of roasting the vegetables, then stirring through smoked paprika and tomatoes. I blend this sauce for my kids but it’s just as delicious when left unblended.
Smoky tomato and aubergine pasta sauce with black olives
A delicious recipe for smoky tomato and aubergine pasta sauce with black olives that's perfect with pasta. A great vegetarian dinner recipe.
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- 2 aubergines diced
- 800 g chopped tomatoes 2 tins
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 150 g pitted black olives
- 300 g pasta we like penne
- rocket optional
- salt and pepper
- grated cheese dairy free if vegan
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6. Put the onion, garlic and aubergine into a large oven proof dish, cover with oil and roast for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the aubergine is soft.
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
Towards the end of the cooking add the chopped tomatoes and smoked paprika and mix well.
If preferred you can blend the sauce until smooth and stir in the black olives. Alternatively serve it as it is.
Mix the pasta with the sauce. Serve with rocket leaves, salt and pepper and grated cheese.
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*It’s 2018 now and he’s still going strong with his “olives are the only fruit I like” line!
NB: this recipe and photographs were updated in March 2019