Monday, April 25, 2011

Eggplant and Rice Casserole

Dairy alert! This recipe includes cheese, yogurt, butter, and sour cream. When I make it, I substitute the sour cream with Tofutti sour cream to reduce the lactose in it. And I use sharp cheddar cheese. But, if you are quite lactose-intolerant then skip this one. For those avoiding gluten who can eat dairy, it will work as the perfect anchor for a wonderful vegetarian meal.


1 eggplant
1 Portobello mushroom
1 c. rice (uncooked)
6 oz. tomato paste (1 small can)
8 oz. tomato sauce (1 small can)
¼ c. warm water
½ c. sour cream (or Tofutti sour cream substitute)
½ c. yogurt
2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ c. flax seed meal (or wheat germ if you eat gluten)
¼ c. butter
Salt to taste


Cook the rice in advance. Use 1 cup of uncooked rice to 2 cups of water and simmer on very low heat for 45-55 minutes. I recommend using an exotic rice, such as black japonica or red rice combined with a little wild rice. However, any rice will work fine (e.g., brown rice or Basmati rice). I like to add a teaspoon of olive oil to the cooking rice, but it is not necessary.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and grease a large, oblong baking dish.

Peel the eggplant and slice it into thin rounds (not more than ¼-inch thick). Chop the Portobello mushroom into small pieces. Keep these vegetables separate from each other. Grate the cheese and set it aside.

Combine all the wet ingredients and the herbs in a bowl, stirring the tomato paste in well. Reserve the flax seed meal and butter for the topping and do not add the grated cheese to the wet mixture either.

This is how to assemble this dish. First spread the cooked rice in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the mushrooms on top. Pour half of the wet mixture over this and spread it to the edges with a spoon. Sprinkle half (one cup) of the grated cheese over the mixture. Lay the eggplant rounds on next, placing them in an even layer that covers the cheese. Then pour the other half of the wet mixture over the eggplant rounds, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle the other half (one cup) of the grated cheese over the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle the flax seed meal across the cheese and then dot generously with butter.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350˚, then remove the foil and continue baking for another 8 minutes to crisp up the top. This makes enough to serve about 6 people.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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