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Food Network star Ree Drummond is a tried-and-true champion of the one-pot/one-pan meal. Her Eggplant Parm pasta is no different. It features everything you love about an eggplant parm: the cheese, the basil, of course, the eggplant, and al dente pasta to bring it all together.

'The Pioneer Woman' star Ree Drummond is pictured in a 2019 appearance on 'Today.'
‘The Pioneer Woman’ star Ree Drummond | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Ree Drummond was once a practicing vegetarian

The mother of five wrote in a “Friday Confession” on her Pioneer Woman blog that in her California college days, she was a devoted vegetarian.

“And I stuck with it, too, convincing myself that if I ever did have a weak moment and eat meat, I’d probably get wickedly ill and be unable to accomplish any productive shopping on Melrose Avenue or hang with the celebs at Spago that night,” she wrote.

“So I subsisted on vegetables, pasta, cheese, tofu, and coffee Haagen Dazs. More than that, I always had the VEGETARIAN card to whip out at parties and get-togethers, just in case I ever felt like I needed some added identity. It worked just fine. And I kept it up through all my years at U.S.C.”

One fix makes Drummond’s eggplant dish truly vegetarian

Drummond’s recipe calls for seasoned toasted breadcrumbs, olive oil, sliced garlic, diced eggplant, sliced onion, stewed tomatoes, chicken stock, red pepper flakes, fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella pearls, and casarecce pasta. Make her dish completely vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

The eggplant is cooked in oil until it starts to soften; the chicken broth is added, followed by the canned tomatoes and uncooked pasta. Drummond reminds home cooks to stir the mixture to “coat the pasta,” as she notes in her Food Network video for this recipe.

Cook the pasta and eggplant mixture for about 15 minutes, making sure to “stir it every once in a while, and when the pasta is done, it’s ready.”

Once the pasta finishes cooking, the pan is removed from the heat, and the mozzarella pearls are added to the hot pasta, followed by the grated Parmesan cheese.

“There’s still just a tiny bit of liquid in the pan, so as I stir the parm and the mozzarella, it’s going to kind of combine with that cooking liquid and make an amazing creamy sauce,” Drummond added.

The toasted seasoned panko breadcrumbs are sprinkled all over the pasta mixture for a finish that’s both crunchy and creamy.

Get the complete recipe, video, and reviews on Food Network’s site.

Another easy vegetarian dish from ‘The Pioneer Woman’ star Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond’s Easy Veggie-Packed Pasta Lives up to Its Name

Reviewers were wowed by Drummond’s creamy one-pan meal

Drummond’s eggplant recipe gave a starring role to the meaty vegetable in this dish, and home cooks loved it.

“This was really simple but delicious! My family who doesn’t think they like eggplant, actually really enjoyed it and request I make it again!,” one reviewer said.

Another home cook added, “Another great one! The toasted bread crumbs with the soft pasta are divine!! I love it!”