September 6, 2012

Gnocchi with Eggplant Tomato Mozzarella Sauce {Naptime Everyday}

Ricotta Gnocchi with Eggplant Tomato & Mozzarella via The Naptime Chef

This post has been updated on October 3, 2016 as part of the 5 Affordable Weeknight Dinners from Whole Foods Market project. We were able to enjoy this recipe again in a whole new way with ingredients from my recent Whole Foods Market trip.

This soup is a long-standing favorite of ours. This week it is part of our 5 Affordable Weeknight Dinners from Whole Foods Market. For this project I am sharing how I make five delicious, easy dinners for my family using one bag of Whole Foods Market groceries. I love shopping there because of their extra fresh ingredients and high commitment to quality.

When it comes to purchasing produce in the winter, or anytime during the year, I head to Whole Foods Market first. They always have a terrific variety of produce that is responsibly grown and fits their very high standards. I know Whole Foods Market is dedicated to supporting farm workers and families. They actively encourage farmers to practice environmentally sound farming methods, which produce high quality, healthy vegetables. It is so easy shopping for produce at Whole Foods Market when I know they’ve already vetted the highest quality produce for me!

I purchase the gnocchi in this recipe from the prepared pasta case. They also have a large variety super fresh pastas that are easy for me to cook in just a few minutes. I also always check my Whole Foods Market app and sales flyer for coupons. They are so easy to use and offer terrific discounts for so many of my favorite every day staples, and the specialty items I love to try. Once my easy one-stop shopping is complete I head home to make dinner!

We always seem to celebrate a new school year with eggplant. With the season in full swing I’ve been cooking up some of our favorites lately and dreaming of new eggplant recipes in my sleep. (Next on the list is Phoebe’s Grilled Eggplant Baba Ganoush – holy yum!) For a great fall meal I decide to riff on a favorite baked eggplant and gnocchi recipe that is in my book, and is entirely make-ahead, and pair our favorite gnocchi with a simple eggplant pan sauce.

While my daughter was taking one last summer nap before school I roasted the eggplant, which, I believe, is just about the easiest make-ahead step in the world. It can be roasted up to a day in advance in kept in the fridge if you are really in need of a time saving step! At dinner time I simply added the eggplant to a batch of my homemade marinara sauce from the pantry, threw in some cubed fresh mozzarella, and heated it through for a few minutes. While it was simmering away I made the gnocchi and boiled it until perfectly cooked (a ten minute process from start to finish) and dinner was served!

My daughter’s request for a vegetable side dish was a simple crudite platter of her favorite veggies and we added in some hummus for dipping. It seemed a little funny to pair with her pasta but I really don’t mind as long as she is willingly crunching away.


Gnocchi with Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella


1 package potato gnocchi
1 large eggplant
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups marinara sauce of your choice (store-bought is fine)
½ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed


1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

2. Cube the eggplant and toss it with the olive oil until evenly coated and spread them evenly on the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the salt. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Then quickly remove the pan from the oven and push the eggplant around with a wooden spoon so the cubes turn over. Then return the pan to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes or until the eggplant is lightly browned and collapsed. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. *Can be done up to a day ahead and stored in the fridge.

3. Add the marinara sauce and roasted eggplant to a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. You want the sauce to get heated through but not boil or bubble.

4. While the sauce is warming, make the gnocchi according to package directions and divide the cooked dumplings evenly amongst three or four bowls. Then add the cubed mozzarella to the sauce and stir for one minute so it gets tender but doesn’t melt. Stir the sauce into the gnocchi and serve!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

While we served this with veggies and dip a deep green salad on the side would be delicious. This recipe works well with potato gnocchi as well.

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep time (for gnocchi and eggplant), 50 minutes cook time (including eggplant roasting)

Naptime Reviews

This warm bowl of comfort is a delicious dish for anyone looking for a new, fun way to serve eggplant this season!



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