• ¾ cup walnuts
  • 1 globe eggplant (1- 1 ½ lb) Peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • Sea salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to your preference
  • 3 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained—keep the juice for another use, like soup or broth
  • ¼ cup pitted black olives (packed in water), thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup pitted green olives (packed in water), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 oz dried fusilli pasta of choice (brown rice, chickpea, red lentil, or quinoa)

Serves 3-4

This beautiful and delicious dish is from Ashley Madden’s must-have cookbook, Plant-Based Delicious. It is rich with flavor, texture, color, and strong flavors.  With a base of cubed and pan-roasted eggplant, flavored with oregano, black and green olives, toasted walnuts, capers, and lots of tomato, this dish will have you shouting “Mamma Mia!”  Thank you Ashley!

Toast the walnuts in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, only until lightly browned. Alternatively, chop and toss in a small pan to toast lightly.  Set aside to cool,  and chop finely.

Heat a large, nonstick pan over low to medium heat and add the eggplant plus a small pinch of salt.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is browned and begins to shrink. We are dry-frying here, but if it starts to stick, add a small amount of water as needed.

While the eggplant is cooking in the pan, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Next, add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the eggplant pan. Add a little water and cook for another 30 seconds while stirring.

Add the drained tomatoes to the pan. Stir and cover over medium heat for 10 minutes. She tomatoes should start falling apart.

Add the olives and capers to the pan and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes, over low to medium heat.  Stir in the walnuts, nutritional yeast, and black pepper, and turn off the heat.  The puttanesca will be thick.  Cover until the pasta is done.

Meanwhile, once the water is boiling, cook the pasta to the package directions for al dente.  When done, reserve 1/2 of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Add the drained pasta to the pan of veggies and toss to combine.  Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta.  Add more, if needed.  Adjust seasoning.  Serve immediately.