Crispy hazelnuts and tender eggplant slices top a simple and comforting pasta dish. Fragrant with fresh oregano and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, this makes a perfect rainy day dinner. I’m a big fan of including nuts in cooked dishes, and this one is no exception. The crunch, flavor, and healthy fat that’s added makes this dish a winner.
Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes
1/2 lb pasta of choice
1 small eggplant (I used three mini chinese eggplants), sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb spinach, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup flour of choice (wheat, GF, rice, chickpea all ok)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
handful of fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1 Tbsp dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, rinse and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
2. Place flour, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a pinch of oregano in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Toss eggplant slices in the flour mixture one at a time until coated. Heat a deep skillet with 1 Tbsp of high heat oil over medium heat, and add eggplant slices. Cook on both sides until tender and evenly browned, usually 2-3 minutes per side. When done transfer to a plate and set aside. Keep warm.
3. In same skillet, cook onion and garlic until lightly browning, and add tomato. Cook covered on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until tomatoes break down a bit. Add spinach if using. Turn heat to medium low and add pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast (if using), oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until pasta is heated through, and everything is coated.
4. Top with toasted hazelnuts and eggplant slices, and drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar just before serving. Adjust salt and pepper as desired. If your hazelnuts are raw, toast for 4-5 minutes in skillet over medium low heat, then chop on cutting board. Serve immediately and enjoy!