Spicy Sausage and Eggplant Spaghetti Bake
I have had quite a few recipe fails in the past week. Three fails, to be exact, which is a lot considering I only made four recipes total. I was starting to get pretty bummed about it because it’s frustrating to put a lot of work into something without any usable results. Obviously these weren’t my first kitchen failures, but it was definitely the first time I had so many back-to-back. Don’t worry, I only share the good stuff with you.
This Spicy Sausage and Eggplant Spaghetti Bake is that good stuff. Actually, good doesn’t even begin to describe it. This dish wiped any negative cooking memories from the past week from my mind completely. They were all worth it if in some small way they contributed to me getting to make this pasta bake. The tomato sauce is cheesy to the point where you feel like you’re getting away with something. I’m the kind of girl that unscrews the cap of the Parmesan cheese shaker at Italian restaurants because that little sprinkle isn’t going to do it for me, so this was right up my alley. It’s also spicy, not in an overwhelming way, but enough that it has a nice kick to it. The pieces of spicy sausage and roasted eggplant throughout give the perfect amount of texture to contrast the spaghetti. I don’t post a recipe on here unless I really liked it, but this one is a must-make!
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Spicy Sausage and Eggplant Spaghetti Bake
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1” square pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 4 oz dry wheat spaghetti
- 1 cup red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ lb hot Italian turkey or chicken sausage, make sure to get the spicy kind, casings removed
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup 2% reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- a few basil leaves for garnish, sliced (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the eggplant cubes with one tablespoon of the olive oil and salt & pepper to taste until eggplant is lightly coated. Spread the eggplant in a single layer across the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- While the eggplant cooks, fill a pot with water, salt it, and bring it to a boil. Cook the spaghetti al dente according to package directions and drain, reserving about 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
- While the water boils/spaghetti cooks, pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet or sauté pan and bring to medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until onions are softened and almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden or plastic spoon, until meat is cooked through. Stir in marinara sauce and reduce heat to low.
- When the eggplant is finished roasting, remove it from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 375. Lightly mist a 7x11 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- When the spaghetti is finished and drained, add it to the sauce mixture and stir to coat. Add the roasted eggplant and the crushed red pepper and stir until combined. Remove from heat for about 10 minutes. Mixture will still be warm.
- Add the mozzarella cheese, ½ cup of the Parmesan, and the 1/3 cup reserved pasta water to the pasta mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs over the top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the crumbs on top start to turn golden and the cheese in the pasta is bubbling throughout. Top with sliced basil leaves and serve.
9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com) adapted from Plum Pie
That looks fabulous!! I went through that this fall when I made like 3 things in a row that didn’t turn out. Thought I had lost my touch! Glad you got your mojo back with this pasta! 🙂
Thanks! This was really good, and I needed it after all those bad ones in a row!
Did you peel the eggplant?
What kind/brand of marinara do you recommend? I know they can vary with the fat and calorie content. Thx
I almost always use my store brand tomato & basil sauce, but I would just suggest looking for one that’s low in calories and added sugars.
I love eggplant! This looks delicious!
Thanks, Tami! I love eggplant too 🙂
YUM. I cannot wait to make this! FYI: I told everyone at my meeting about your site today and they all excitedly wrote it down! 🙂
Thanks, Rachael! I hope you love this 🙂
I made this last night for dinner. Another winner! It was very hard not to do a lot of “taste tests” along the way….
This sounds truly phenomenal!
It’s really good! I hope you try it and love it!
I just started the CarbLovers diet this past Monday (and have lost 3 pounds in 4 days so far!), and THIS is going to be my new saving grace for meals throughout the week! Thank you so much Emily!!!!
Congrats on your loss so far! Let me know what you end up making 🙂
I’m so glad you loved this dish! I need to try with spicy sausage! I bet that is delish!
You should definitely try it this way, it was delicious! I’ve never had buffalo meat but I’m sure that was fab too. Great recipe! 🙂
Another success! I made this for my husband and some friends. It was amazing!
Awesome, I’m so happy you all liked it!
I made this tonight. I used a spicy chipotle chicken sausage and it turned out fantastic. Thanks for the recipe.
Great, I’m glad it was a hit!
I’m super new at this “cooking” thing – how do you roast eggplant?? Just stick it in at 500 for 30 minutes or is there another temp you recommend? Thanks!
Just follow the first two instructions of the recipe and you will have roasted eggplant! Step 1 of the recipe calls for 400 degrees for the eggplant.
Thanks! I somehow missed the first part. Will do
I made this last night, and it is AMAZING. I will probably use a bit less crushed red pepper next time because the sausage I used was really spicy, but I really love this recipe. Thanks so much!
So glad you loved it!
Eggplant is one of those vegetables I keep trying in different recipes because, although it’s not been my favorite, I think I could really like it if it’s done right. This recipe is the one I have been looking for! Roasting the eggplant really enhanced the flavor without the slimy texture you sometimes get. Both my husband and I LOVED it!
Yay, so happy to have turned you on to eggplant! I agree, it really depends on the recipe as to whether it turns out fabulous or mushy/slimy. I love roasting vegetables, I think it almost always takes them up a notch. Glad to hear this was a hit! 🙂
Emily – I made this the other night and it was really delicious. Thanks for sharing! ~ Amy
So happy you loved it, Amy! 🙂
Made this tonight! It was awesome! Thanks for all your great recipes!
Yay, glad it was a hit!
made this last night for dinner. HEAVENLY!!! and so filling too! thanks for your awesome website, i swear i use your recipes almost daily!! it makes it so easy to stay on track, and it’s great leftovers for lunch too!!
I am so glad you loved this and that you’re finding my site helpful! Thanks for letting me know 🙂
I loved this recipie especially because it made enough to freeze for another night! It was delicious. I pretty much choose a recipe from your sight at a minimum 4 nights a week. Keep them coming!
Thanks, I’m glad you loved it!
funny i found this same exact recipe on another site months ago…..
sorry here’s the site if your wondering…
I very clearly credited this recipe as having been adapted from that site and the author of that site even commented above saying she was glad I enjoyed the recipe, so I’m not sure what you’re getting at…?
made this when all my fiance’s old college football teammates came into town (the shortest was like 6’3″–8 HUGE men!) they all LOVED it and had no idea it was low-fat and diet friendly!! It’s so delicious and one of my go-to recipes whenever we have company!
Do you think this would work using spaghetti squash instead of actual pasta?
I made this after having your creamy chicken with stove top and this was just as delicious
I think it was better leftover.
Next time I am going to use even more eggplant
I made this for supper tonight! It was absolutely FABULOUS!!! I will, definitely,be making this one again! Thank you for the recipe :d
Wonderful eggplant dish with a touch of spice. Yummy
Emily, thanks for the great recipe, and for introducing me to eggplant!
Made this last night and it was awesome! I added about 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese and used panko for the bread crumbs. YUM!
Just made this a few minutes ago and eating it now! So delicious, thanks for posting the recipe. The only thing I did was double the eggplant and omit the sausage since I had a lot of eggplant on hand and zero sausage. This is mostly because I love eggplant, so for me the dish is just as tasty! I think next time I might take Michelle’s (the commenter above me)tip and add cottage cheese for creaminess and extra protein. – Lauren
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Emily emily emily…where do I begin? With your tamale bake? Lemon blueberry muffins? Pumpkin mac and cheese? You are a GODSEND. And my fiancee is from Rochester so I always tell me about my buffalo blogger and her wegmans references! Question for you my dear- think this would work with bowties instead?
This has become a staple in my house – every single person loves it! Made one batch with half the pepper and sweet sausage for my spice-sensitive family, then made another batch with DOUBLE the pepper and the original hot sausage for my sister to take home! Thanks for posting this, fellow Emily, it’s so easy and tasty that I’m willing to make it at 11:00 at night! 🙂
Delicious recipe! Do you recommend peeling the eggplant first?
During the pandemic, this is one of my comforting dishes and weight watchers at that. I have been making this dish for many years. Thanks