Creamy Eggplant Vegan Vodka Sauce

Sharing one of my favorite sauces that incorporates a sneaky eggplant that your family likely won’t even realize is in there (ssshhhh!!!). You can omit the vodka if preferred, but it makes it quite the saucy treat. Trust me, this sauce will be delicious either way!

I never thought that I was an eggplant fan until I had eggplant in a chunky marinara sauce at a friends house back in school (too many years ago to really count). Served simply with red onion and cherry tomatoes as part of the sauce, it was tangy, sweet, and oh so delicious over penne with some red chili flakes. Fast forward a “few” years, and now I’m blending up eggplant for sauce like it’s my job. The eggplant adds a very mild flavor and a creamy texture to the sauce, making it a perfect vegetable to get sneaky with.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium onion finely chopped

1/2 medium eggplant diced

3 tbsp olive oil

5 cloves garlic minced

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup vodka

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 cups (packed) spinach

METHOD:

Add oil, onions and eggplant to a large pan, and cook until onions are translucent and the eggplant is softened and caramelizing. Stir often during this process. This takes about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and seasonings, and cook another minute. Add cherry tomatoes, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add vodka and let the sauce gently bubble until the vodka has reduced by half.

Add the crushed tomatoes, stir, and cook at a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered. Carefully blend in batches (take extra caution when blending hot sauces!). Pour over your pasta and return to the pan. Add spinach, stir, and let wilt. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

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