5 Days of Oven-Free Meals: Eggplant Marinara

menu ideas for cooking without using the oven

Welcome to 5 Days of Oven-Free Meals!

With this year being the hottest ever recorded in the United States, many people have turned to eating out for dinner instead of cranking up the oven and raising the temperature in the house. This week, I plan to share 5 budget-friendly meals you can quickly prepare without using your oven.

using eggplant instead of meat

Eggplant Marinara Recipe

Today, I am cooking on the stove top and using eggplant and tomatoes which I picked up at the local produce stand, marked for quick sale. Can you see those prices?

using eggplant as a substitute for meat

2 eggplants = $0.59

6 tomatoes = $0.99

TIPS: 1) If you want to snatch produce at these prices, get to the produce stand when they open. Deals like this are picked up quickly. 2) If you are thinking that something must have been wrong with these vegetables because of their price, let me assure you that every piece was completely edible.

Substituting Eggplant for Meat

While I am blessed with a husband who will eat almost anything I put in front of him, he does enjoy meat with each meal, but our budget is too tight for that. So, I learned quickly that eggplant absorbs other flavors easily and I use broth or bullion to put this vegetable in a disguise.

how to make eggplant marinara

1. Peel and cube the eggplant. Smash two beef bullion cubes.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and the eggplant. Sprinkle it with the bullion. Cook until softened.

3. Chop 6 to 8 tomatoes and add them to the pot.

4. Stir in 2 teaspoons of honey and other seasonings.

5. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes start to fall apart and liquefy, about 15 minutes.

6. Using an immersion hand blender, puree the marinara to the consistency you prefer. If the sauce appears to thick, you can add one cup of the water you used to cook your pasta. Allow it to simmer slightly and serve with pasta.

TIP: If you do not own an immersion hand blender, you can puree the marinara in a regular blender or food processor but be careful. The mixture is HOT.

easy stove top meals with no oven needed

Because my boys love meatballs, I tossed in enough for each to have two but this is completely optional.

This recipe is also easy to double, reheats well, and would be a great addition to your freezer cooking rotation.

Total Cost: $2.75, including spaghetti but not meatballs

Hop around! Visit all the iHomeschool Network bloggers participating in the 5 Days series, and if you are a blogger who homeschools, be sure to check out BEECH Retreat, a conference especially for Christian homeschooling bloggers.

Eggplant Marinara

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 6-8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 2 beef bullion cubes, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized stock pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and eggplant. Sprinkle with bullion and toss well. Cook until the eggplant has softened.

Add chopped tomatoes to the eggplant as well as seasonings. Cover and cook until the tomatoes liquefy.

Using an immersion blender, puree the marinara to the consistency you prefer. Add pasta stock (water used to cook pasta) if needed. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve.



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    • Penny says

      I can taste the eggplant but it is not overpowering because the tomato flavor is stronger and the beef seasoning diffuses it a bit. Plus, with it pureed, you can get it so fine that it is not seen.

  1. Vikki says

    Ok, I now have to try to get this past my family. Eggplant parm didn’t go over that well. Mostly pulled off cheese and ate it with the pasta I served with it, however I really liked it. Eggplant used as the noodles in lasagna ( was trying to cut down on the amount of processed carbs we were eating, was a complete flop even I didn’t like that. Even through they were sliced really thin and left salted for half hour, it was a watery mess.
    But unless they watch me make it, no one should know going in that its even in there, so at least I’ll know if they really don’t like it or if resisting because it’s different. Thank you for sharing.

    • Penny says

      I hope it works for your family, Vikki. My children (the ones who like red sauce) gobbled it down without a second thought. They had no idea that there was eggplant in the sauce.

  2. says

    I need an immersion blender, like yesterday! This looks fantastic. I’ve never had eggplant but everyone tells me that it’s a lot like zucchini. I love zucchini in spaghetti sauce, so I’m sure this is just as good! Stopping by from Weekend Potluck.


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