Zucchini Vegan Pasta Alla Norma Fashion


In the world of vegan cuisine, finding creative and delicious ways to reinvent traditional dishes can be a rewarding challenge. One such dish that lends itself beautifully to a vegan makeover is Pasta Alla Norma.

This Sicilian classic, traditionally made with eggplant, tomatoes, and ricotta salata, is transformed in this recipe by substituting zucchini for eggplant and using vegan alternatives. The result is a delightful and healthy twist that is sure to satisfy both your taste buds and nutritional needs. Let’s dive into this Zucchini Vegan Pasta Alla Norma recipe, perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion.

Why Zucchini?

Zucchini is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that makes an excellent substitute for eggplant in this dish. It’s low in calories but high in essential nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. Its mild flavor and firm texture make it a great canvas for absorbing the rich tomato sauce and the other vibrant flavors of this dish. Additionally, zucchini is easier to cook and doesn’t require the salting and draining process that eggplant often needs.


For this Zucchini Vegan Pasta Alla Norma, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced into rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 12 ounces vegan pasta (such as penne, rigatoni, or spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup vegan ricotta or crumbled tofu
  • Vegan parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


1. Preparing the Zucchini

Start by washing and slicing the zucchinis into rounds. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini slices and cook until they are golden brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the zucchini from the skillet and set aside.

2. Making the Sauce

In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion, and sauté until they are translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it can become bitter.

Next, add the crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if you’re using them. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

3. Cooking the Pasta

While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Be sure to reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining, as you might need it to adjust the consistency of the sauce later.

4. Combining Everything

Once the sauce has simmered, add the cooked zucchini back into the skillet. Stir to coat the zucchini with the tomato sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to reach your desired consistency.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Stir in the fresh basil leaves.

5. Serving

To serve, divide the pasta among plates and top each serving with a dollop of vegan ricotta or crumbled tofu. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese if desired and garnish with additional fresh basil leaves.

Tips and Variations

Roasting Zucchini: For an added depth of flavor, try roasting the zucchini slices in the oven instead of pan-frying them. Simply toss the slices in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 400°F (200°C) for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden and tender.

Adding Protein: To make this dish more filling, consider adding a protein source such as chickpeas, lentils, or vegan sausage. Simply stir them into the sauce along with the zucchini.

Gluten-Free Option: Use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this dish gluten-free. The sauce and zucchini are naturally gluten-free.

Nut-Free Vegan Ricotta: If you need a nut-free version of vegan ricotta, try using crumbled tofu with a bit of lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt to mimic the tangy flavor of ricotta.

Nutritional Benefits

This Zucchini Vegan Pasta Alla Norma is not only delicious but also packed with nutritional benefits:

Zucchini: Low in calories and high in vitamins A and C, zucchini also provides dietary fiber, which aids in digestion.

Tomatoes: Rich in antioxidants like lycopene, tomatoes support heart health and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Garlic and Onion: Both are known for their immune-boosting properties and contribute to overall heart health.

Vegan Ricotta: Depending on the brand, vegan ricotta can be a good source of plant-based protein and healthy fats. If using tofu, it provides additional protein and essential amino acids.

Fresh Basil: Contains vitamins A, K, and C, and has antibacterial properties.


Zucchini Vegan Pasta Alla Norma is a delightful and healthy twist on the traditional Sicilian dish. By using zucchini instead of eggplant and incorporating vegan ingredients, you create a meal that is not only kinder to the planet but also nourishing for your body.

This dish is perfect for any occasion, from a casual weeknight dinner to a special gathering with friends and family. Enjoy the vibrant flavors and the comforting warmth of this vegan pasta dish, knowing that you’re indulging in something both delicious and good for you. Bon appétit!

This blog post provides a comprehensive guide to making Zucchini Vegan Pasta Alla Norma, highlighting the nutritional benefits and offering tips for variations and serving. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this recipe is sure to become a favorite.