Barbecue Eggplant Noodle Bowl with Golden Beet Romesco Sauce (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Most dinners at my house are bowl-food. It’s been soups and stews all Winter long. But now that it’s warming up I’m digging on rice noodle bowls like this one, featuring roasted barbecue eggplant, asparagus, crispy mushrooms and a sunny spin on romesco sauce. I made this particular eggplant noodle bowl for a friends birthday dinner last week. It was a hit!

Honestly I was a little nervous that the birthday girl wouldn't like it seeing that she is an omnivore known for her love of bacon. But thankfully she loved it!

Ever since then my golden beet romesco has come to be known solely as “that sauce.” As in: “Hey let’s go out to dinner but actually all I really want is that sauce.” And  “I will drag my butt across town to watch movies with you if we can dip sweet potato fries in that sauce.”

Clearly my sauce skills are a perk of being friends with me, ha!

Anyway, beyond the sunny sauce, this big bowl of goodness was born out of my desire to consume boat loads of asparagus, eggplant and noodles all in one go. I have to say, I think this dinner bowl fits the bill nicely.

The beauty of “that sauce” is that it is so simple, so low maintenance, packed with plant-powered goodness, and it’s only 7 ingredients (not including salt + pepper).

It’s so good that I’ve put it on weekly rotation! I never put sauces on rotation. There’s always something new to test, so why would I? But I can’t get enough of this sunshiny twist on romesco!

To make the sauce you roast yellow beet, yellow peppers and garlic all on one pan until they’re sweet and tender. Then you throw it all into a blender along with cashew butter,  olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

It’s tangy, bright, earthy, sweet, creamy and salty. And with the help of black pepper it gets a nudge of heat.

I throw it on big noodle bowls or grain bowls most often. But it’s also a fantastic dip for fries, chips, raw veggies…. If you can dip it, dip it in this!

The barbecue eggplant is simple and fabulous as well. Using my beloved salt/squeeze/fat/heat method, it’s gets that meltingly tender quality that I generally only get in restaurants.

First you salt the sliced eggplant for 15-30 minutes. Then rinse the salt off and squeeze the extra liquid out of the eggplant. Add it to a sheet pan and toss it generously with olive oil. Bake on high heat, douse in sauce, bake again. VOILA! Saucy, melty, delicious eggplant.

And I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to throw loads of asparagus into this eggplant noodle bowl! Plus some local shiitakes fried in ghee. I think the overall combo of sauce + bbq eggplant + asparagus + mushrooms + noodles is dreamy.

But if you’re not into asparagus you could steam broccoli, cauliflower or kale instead. And you could sub out mushrooms for tofu, beans or your protein of choice. I want you to feel empowered to make this bowl your own!

Let me know if you make this for dinner! Hope you guys enjoy. Oh! And if anybody tries this eggplant method grilled instead of baked, let me know! I haven’t tried it yet but I bet it would be delicious. xoxo — Renee

p.s. Thanks to my bandmate Annabeth for being my hand model for this shoot!

Golden Beet Romesco Sauce

Created by Renee on March 30, 2017

Note: You could of course use red beets and red peppers. Although I find yellow beets particularly sweet compared to their red brethren. I also just love the yellow color of this sauce!

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 25m
  • Serves: 6


  • 2 yellow or orange peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow beet, quartered and sliced into 1/2” thick pieces
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Add the peppers, beets and whole unpeeled garlic cloves to a baking sheet. Roast on the top rack at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until beets are tender and the peppers are soft (their skins will wrinkle).
  2. Let cool 5 minutes before handling.
  3. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic. Add the peppers, beets, roasted garlic, cashew butter, olive oil and apple cider vinegar to the bowl of a high powered blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add salt and black pepper, to taste. I don’t tend to add more salt although I like to add up to 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper because I like to really taste the black pepper in the final sauce.
  4. Serve warm. Keeps 2-3 days in the fridge.

Baked Barbecue Eggplant

Created by Renee on March 30, 2017

Note: You could use any barbecue sauce that you like for this! I personally use a simple one from Trader Joes. If you’re concerned about sugar / gums and that sort of thing, look for “paleo” barbecue sauces that are refined sugar free / gum free.

  • Prep Time: 1m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 21m
  • Serves: 4


  • 1 large purple eggplant
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • optional garnish: hulled sesame seeds


  1. Cut the green top off of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into strips, then halve the strips (mine were about 5” x 1.5”). Add the sliced eggplant to a big bowl and toss with 1/8 cup salt until all of the slices are every exposed to salt. Set aside to sweat for 15-30 minutes (the longer the sweat the more evenly the eggplant becomes meltingly soft when baked).
  2. Rinse the eggplant to get all of the salt off, discarding all of the salt in the bowl. Briefly squeeze each of the eggplant slices in your hand to release as much excess water as you can.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  4. Toss the eggplant slices with olive oil and black pepper and spread the slices out on a baking sheet, taking care that the slices aren’t overlapping. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush the slices with barbecue sauce and bake for 10 minutes more or until totally tender (depending on how much sugar is in your BBQ sauce the sauce on the pan might burn, so keep an eye on that). Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Barbecue Eggplant Noodle Bowl with Golden Beet Romesco Sauce

Created by Renee on March 30, 2017

Note: Directions suggest that you set all of the cooked ingredients in one large serving bowl. However, you could alternatively add everything to the big pot that you cooked your noodles in and serve individual portions from there.

  • Cook Time: 12m
  • Total Time: 12m
  • Serves: 4


  • 8 ounces pad thai rice noodles or noodle of choice
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil or olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • Golden Romesco Sauce
  • Barbecue Eggplant


  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, drain the noodles and rinse under cold water to remove excess starch. Add the noodles to a large serving bowl and cover with a cloth to keep the noodles warm.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, set a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the asparagus and 1/8 cup water and steam until all of the liquid has cooked off. Add olive oil and lemon juice and cook further until browning, 2-5 minutes. Add the asparagus to the serving bowl along with the noodles.
  3. To the same pan that you cooked the asparagus in, add the mushrooms and dry-fry over medium-high heat until they shrink and begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the ghee to the pan and fry for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they crisp up. Add the mushrooms to the serving bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper over top of the noodles, asparagus, and mushrooms to taste.
  4. Add the barbecue eggplant and romesco sauce to the bowl. Serve hot!

Thanks to Vitamix for sponsoring this post! The blender featured is the Ascent 2500. It has a latch-on top, different speed settings and timer settings for ice cream, smoothies and hot soup. And it's pretty easy to clean. It's ridiculously convenient seeing that I use my blender between 1 and 10 times a day! And it's a huge upgrade from the cheap blenders I've used over the years, that seem to break once a year with the amount of wear and tear I put on them. But not this bad boy! Definitely a solid investment. As always, all opinions & words are authentically my own. I was not paid to offer a positive review.