Eggplant Marinara – $5 Dinner Challenge

I was cruising through the produce department recently and saw that eggplant was priced as “per eggplant,” not per pound. So of course, I looked for the largest one so I could make lots of sauce!

Don’t forget to get the largest one when you see “per unit” prices in the produce department!

So here’s how this goes down…

Dice. Salt. Let sit in colander in the sink.

For at least 30 minutes.

This draws out the bitter juices and will make your sauce much tastier!


Cold water.


With seasonings.


Add crushed tomatoes.


Serve over pasta!

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Eggplant Marinara Sauce

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 30 minutes

Cooking Time – 15 minutes


  • 1 large eggplant, diced ($.99)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($.05)
  • 1 tsp Italian sesasoning ($.05)
  • 1 tsp minced onion ($.05)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic ($.05)
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes ($.99)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Spaghetti noodles or other pasta ($.50)
  • Side of veggies and/or bread ($1)



  • Put the diced eggplant into a colander in the kitchen sink and sprinkle salt over liberally. Let sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse with cold water.
  • In large skillet, add the olive oil and saute the rinsed eggplant with the Italian seasoning, onion and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes. Deglaze the skillet with 1/4 cup of water, then stir in the crushed tomatoes.
  • Cook noodles and veggies/bread as directed.
  • Serve Eggplant Marinara over pasta with side of veggies/bread.

Cost $3.68

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  1. phaedra says

    I prefer the smaller Indian eggplants that I can get for about $1.38 a pound…you get quite a few for a pond and don’t have to salt…I roast with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil and serve with pasta.

  2. says

    That looks worth a try! I usually make eggplant Parmesan when I get eggplant so it would be fun to try something new. I learned you could bread and fry (or bake if you’d rather) the sliced eggplant, then freeze for later. Makes quick work of eggplant Parmesan down the road, especially as I typically make lots of sauce and freeze for later too.

  3. says

    I am sorry to ask this but I don’t cook very much and now that I am living in Ecuador I find myself learning to cook from scratch, what does it mean to deglaze?
    Thanks, Susan

  4. says

    I have made a wonderful eggplant bolognese recipe from Mark Bittman that is similar to this. I omitted the meat from his recipe and it was fantastic. LOVE eggplant!


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