My Pasta Alternative: Eggplant Noodles

March 1, 2013 · 20 comments

If you love marinara sauce like me but not crazy about pasta or eat a gluten free diet, then you will love my eggplant noodle recipe. Thanks to the Tone It Up diet plan, I’ve learned that it’s easier for me to maintain my weight when I eat my carbs during the day rather than at night. I saw this way of preparing eggplant on The View 3 years ago and have been using it to make my favorite Italian pasta dinners but with eggplant instead of pasta ever since. It takes a little bit of prep time so it’s not on my weekly menu but boy is it good!

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To start, all you need is an eggplant and salt. First peel the eggplant. Leave about an inch of skin on the top and bottom. Slice the eggplant the long way into thin 1-4-1/2 inch thick slabs. The thinner the slices, the shorter the time it will take. Next, salt the top of each slice well and let sit on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Flip, sprinkle again with salt and wait another 15 minutes.

You will notice water will begin to seep out of the eggplant. After you’ve waited, rinse off salt under cool running water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Place on a paper towel and pat dry. You will notice that the eggplant has hopefully lost it’s firmness and noodle like. If not, don’t worry, it will get there the rest of the way in your pan. Slice the eggplant now, into 1/4 inch wide strips so that they look like pasta noodles, as seen below.

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Preheat a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil. I like to add garlic as well but depending on the recipe, you may not want to. I added a few slices sun dried tomatoes to the recipe seen in the pictures. Sauteed eggplant until the noodles have completely lost their firmness. They should appear to look like noodles at this point. Add in your favorite pasta sauce. Mine is the Roasted Vegetable Whole 360 from Whole Foods.

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You can also add garlic and basil with toasted walnuts and parmesan cheese. That is my other favorite. I use the frozen herb cubes you can buy at most grocery stores. Just pop in two basil and one garlic.

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Feel free to add ground turkey, veggie meatballs, ricotta or other protein to complete this dish as a dinner. I like to add a little parmesan cheese too!

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I usually am too impatient to let the noodles wilt completely on their own before transferring them to the frying pan but they always turn out just fine. Make sure you thoroughly wash off the salt too or else you will be in for a big surprise when you take a bit! The past few times I have made the recipe, I haven’t washed the salt off completely. I think the seeds to be scraped out to really get it out.

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For more gluten free pasta substitutions, check out the active Udi’s community. If your child or friend has an allergy to gluten or you just prefer to eat without it, this is a great resource. From dinner party menu planning to restaurants with the best menu, you’ll find recipes, support and creative ideas.

The nutrition info will vary based on your sauce and recipe. Since this is just for the eggplant, the calories are very low. You can basically eat an entire eggplant 100-150 calories. Not bad!

Have you ever made eggplant noodles before?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lauren March 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

YUM! I love making veggie noodles, but never thought about trying eggplant…can’t wait to give this a go!

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2 Marie March 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

Ohh, I love alternative to pasta!! Never heard of eggplant noodles but I’ll give em a try, thanks for sharing!!

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3 Liana@RunToMunch March 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

wow Sarah! These look great! You should add a pinterest button so I can pin these!

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4 Molly @ Just Your Average Athlete March 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

I’ve made noodles out of butternut squash before, but never eggplant! I’ll definitely need to try them – but probably on a day where I’m around the house doing chores because I’m impatient & waiting 1.5-2 hrs will make me antsy :P

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5 eat.style.play March 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

I have to say I’m very impressed at the many ways people manage to sub noodled. I like this idea and it’s packed with lots of protein i’ll def have to try this.

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6 Rachel @ painfreekitchen March 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Awesome! Thanks for sharing this idea. I’ve done the exact same thing with zucchini but I’ve never tried eggplant. (Actually I’ve never even had eggplant…) Guess I know what i’ll be making this weekend :)

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7 sara @ fitcupcaker March 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Ive tried eggplant parm, but never used eggplant in place of noodles, but what a great idea. looks very tasty. Ill have to remember this! I try to watch carbs in the evening/night too.

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8 Anna @ Tough Lipstick March 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm

I love this idea – I’m a huge fan of eggplant so I’ll have to try this out. Thanks for the idea!

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9 Elizabeth March 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Fun! I wanted a different way to use my marinara sauce, but not spaghetti squash this time. Thank you!

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10 Fiona Jesse Giffords March 4, 2013 at 2:09 am

I never ever heard of eggplant noodles. As egg plants can be easily cooked and they always tastes good for me if i fry them or makes mash and add all the stuffs like salt, chili, pepper etc. to it.

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11 Eileen Hall March 4, 2013 at 9:47 am

I love parmesan cheese. I always use it when mixing spaghetti that my mom usually makes. It gives a wonderful taste everytime. This dish looks very pleasing. Have to try it some time.

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12 Tonya @ Will Run For Yoga March 4, 2013 at 10:09 am

This is an awesome idea! I have used spaghetti squash and Zucchini but never eggplant – I will definitely have to try this out!

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13 Amy T. March 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I tried making this dish, but couldn’t eat it because the eggplant was SO salty. I followed all the steps you put in- including rinsing and drying. I wonder what I did differently from the way you make it- do you coat the noodles with salt or just sprinkle them?

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14 Gina March 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Hi Sarah! I tried making this dish last night too but unfortunately found it too salty to eat. I really added a lot of salt but thought I had rinsed long and thoroughly enough. I only had course sea salt on hand too which may have been a reason that it was too salty too, not sure. I had such high hopes for this dish too cuz I love eggplant! I’ll have to give it another try and just sprinkle on the salt to see how it turns out.

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15 Sarah March 20, 2013 at 10:39 am

Ok, so I just modified some of the directions. I think the time that I said to leave the eggplant was off. I’ve been making this dish for years and for some reason remembered it being longer. When I did the post, I put to leave them out longer, but after checking out the original recipe I used, I saw that 15 minute is not an hour. I feel like a child. Remember, when you would wait for Christmas in December and it seems like an eternity? Apparently 2 years ago, 30 minutes was an eternity. lol.

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16 April Maura August 7, 2013 at 6:26 am

This recipe looks great. I am going to try it. P.S. I am living in China, this alternative is perfect because there are few gluten-free healthy options. I love that this is vegetable based. Thanks for the tip on peeling the outer skin.

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17 ebony January 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Instead of salting the eggplant and placing on a rack place the slices in a bowl of cool water and add the sat to the water.

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18 Sarah January 13, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I do that sometimes too but it takes much longer.

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19 ebony January 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I leave it for about thirty minutes at most, once I see the water begin to change color, the eggplant may still be slightly firm but it will cook exactly the way you want, i.e. will not soak up oil or stick to the pan etc.

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20 Sasha August 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

Yum! So going to try this!!

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