Traditionally, bolognese is a hearty, comforting sauce loaded with ground meat. But for those of you who aren't into meat (and for meat lovers looking to change it up), eggplant makes a great substitute. This healthy comfort food is is perfect topped on your favorite pasta or whole grain such as freekeh, farro, or quinoa. This recipe can be made one or two days in advance and also freezes very well.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup dry red wine (try cabernet sauvignon)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or a wide sauté pan with high sides. Add onion, celery and carrot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add garlic and eggplant and stir so it's lightly coated with oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, until eggplant just begins to soften.
- Pour in wine and cook until it's reduced almost all the way.
- Add tomato paste and stir to coat vegetables. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, basil, and pepper flakes (if using), season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until eggplant is very soft and breaks apart. (If you like your eggplant super soft, continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.)