Healthy Pasta alla Norma recipe

Our healthier take on this classic Italian dish of aubergines and pasta has a fiery kick and counts as two of your 5 A Day.

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Welcome to your new favourite midweek meal: easy, healthy aubergine pasta.

This recipe is inspired by Pasta alla Norma, a traditional Sicilian pasta dish made with tomatoes, aubergines and basil.

Pasta alla Norma is a classic for a reason: the flavours are beautifully balanced, almost perfect in their simplicity.

Our interpretation is not 100% authentic but we do believe it is 100% delicious.

What makes this recipe healthy?

We’ve developed a recipe that’s quick and easy but more importantly good for you. It should fit in to most healthy eating plans.

It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly (just check your ingredients carefully) but tasty enough to please even the most committed meat eater. After all, who doesn’t love pasta and red sauce?

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With its rich tomato sauce and generous serving of aubergine, this recipe makes up two of your 5 A Day. If you want to up your vegetable intake even further, add thinly sliced onions to the sauce, or serve alongside a green salad or some steamed broccoli.

We recommend 320 grams of wholewheat pasta between four people. 80 grams is easily enough per person and brown pasta is more nutritious than white pasta, not to mention it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

Of course, you can adapt the recipe to your own tastes and dietary needs. If you don’t like chilli, leave it out (though we will say it takes it to the next level!).

If your doctor has advised you to reduce your salt or carbohydrate intake, adjust the ingredients accordingly. Pasta recipes are generally very flexible.

This is a healthy pasta recipe we hope everyone can get on board with.

How to make our healthy aubergine pasta

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This recipe could hardly be easier. Simply chop the aubergines and fry them in olive oil for 10 minutes or so until they’re lovely and soft.

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Almost everything else goes into the pan at the same time, so make the use of those 10 minutes when the aubergine is cooking to finish the rest of your chopping. There’s not much to do.

It’s a good idea to get the pasta water going too. That way it will have reached a rolling boil by the time you’re ready to start cooking your penne (or fusilli, or conchiglie…)

Once the aubergine is cooked to your liking, add all the other ingredients to the pan – except the pasta of course. Get the rich tomatoey sauce simmering then it’s time to cook the pasta.

Once it’s al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce. Do make sure it’s got at least a bit of bite left in it, as it’ll cook a little more in the sauce.

If you’re looking for a healthy recipe that’s ready in less than 30 minutes, this aubergine pasta is for you.

Why don’t you salt the aubergines?

Oftentimes in recipes that use aubergines, you’ll find something along the lines of ‘sprinkle with salt and leave to sit for 10 minutes’.

This is not necessary for this recipe, and we would advise against it. You are likely to end up adding more salt than is necessary or healthy.

Healthy pasta alla norma recipe

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Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp olive oil

2 aubergines, cut into small cubes

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 x 400g tins tomatoes (chopped, plum and cherry tomatoes all work here)

1 tsp dried basil / half a bunch chopped fresh basil (reserving a few leaves to sprinkle over the top if you’re feeling fancy)

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1tsp black pepper

320g wholewheat pasta (any shape you like)

METHOD

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the aubergines and cook until soft (about 10 minutes).

2. When the aubergines are cooked through, add the garlic and chilli and fry for two minutes or so, until fragrant.

3. Add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer.

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4. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Once al dente, drain the pasta, reserving half a mug of cooking water.

Combine the sauce and pasta, adding a little pasta water if you need to loosen.

Serve and enjoy!

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