Step over eggplant parm, there’s a new eggplant dish on the block! Almost like a lasagna that uses eggplant rounds instead of noodles, this cheesy baked dish is the ultimate comfort food.
eggplant mozzarella and saffron rice bake

Sometimes I force the.boy to eat things he doesn’t think he likes.

And sometimes he abandons me when I have the cold to end all colds so that he can go to his third fantasy football draft of the season.

I’d say we’re even.

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So yes, while I was laying in bed last night with a tissue (okay, sheet of toilet paper since someone thinks it’s better for nose-blowing than, say, Kleenex. I believe his exact words were, “I like them because you can make them really long”. Seriously. Who am I dating.) permanently inserted into my nose.

He was drinking beer, eating any number of things that I wouldn’t approve of and generally living it up with his dad and uncles in Staten Island.

It just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Well, it isn’t, until you consider the fact that I had this cheesy delicious casserole in the fridge. With layers of roasted melt-in-your-mouth eggplant, a whole pound of mozzarella, and some arborio rice smack dab in the middle to add some carby comfort to what was already fairly indulgent (but also somehow still not that bad for you. #winning)

For someone who “doesn’t like rice” and makes a face every time I tell him we’re eating eggplant for dinner…he gobbled up his share pretty quickly this weekend. But then left me home alone with the leftovers in my time of need.

I may or may not have saved him any. (Probably not.)

Like I said. We’re even.

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One year ago…Creamy Spinach Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream

Three years ago…Cold Peanut Noodles with Eggplant and Red Pepper

Four years ago…Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake

Eggplant, Mozzarella and Saffron Rice Bake

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe

Eggplant, Mozzarella and Saffron Rice Bake

Step over eggplant parm, there's a new eggplant dish on the block! Almost like a lasagna that uses eggplant rounds instead of noodles, this baked dish is the ultimate comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 large eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/4" rounds
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place eggplant slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender and golden brown.
  2. Heat whatever olive oil is left in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in the saffron and the wine. Cook until the wine reduces a bit. Add the broth and season with salt. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan with 1 cup of tomato sauce. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan over it. Top with a layer of the eggplant rounds (about half) overlapping them so that there is no visible sauce in the pan. Add the rice to the top of the eggplant layer, spreading out so that it covers it. Sprinkle over half of the remaining sauce and another 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan. Add another layer of eggplant. Top with the remaining tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil cover and bake for 20 minutes more, until golden on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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66 Responses to Eggplant, Mozzarella and Saffron Rice Bake

  1. Beth says:

    Ah, yes, Fantasy Pools. With my husband, it’s hockey. And baseball. Thank goodness he isn’t really into football (or archery, or whatever other sports have fantasy pools) or I’d never see him.

  2. Jemma says:

    Wow. After reading this recipe, I’ll never look at an eggplant the same way again. I’ve never thought that an eggplant can be prepared into something as delicious as eggplant mozzarella. I’ll surely try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Julia says:

    I need to make more eggplant cheesy comfort food! This looks real cozy and delish!

  4. cquek says:

    This absolutely looks stunning.

  5. sallybr says:

    Love this! Love, love, love this… and I must say a toilet paper roll has its advantages compared to Kleenex. I promise not to side with The Boy too often, ok? ;-)

    (sorry for not commenting that much, I am at the airport coming back from a quick trip to Brazil where connections were iffy to say the very least!)

  6. I love that this is like lasagna – but there are no noodles! This is way better in my opinion.
    And I side with you on the kleenex debate – tissues are better than tp :)

  7. Monica says:

    The layers of ingredients and flavors in this sound amazing! This is the kind of food I’m craving right now, with the turn of the season…

  8. Erika says:

    This looks sooo good!! And I’m with you on the kleenex debate.

  9. Kathryn says:

    I’ve always been v disappointed in the quality of US tissues compared to what we have in the UK so I sort of see where he’s coming from. Your tissues seem so much smaller than our tissues here! But I do have complete sympathy with you re being abandoned in favour of fantasy football. I can’t believe how much time my boyfriend devotes to his team!

    I hope you’re feeling better now – this looks the perfect kind of comfort food.

  10. OK, toilet paper is so not good for the nose.. and I know from experience. Splurge on the good stuff!!! This looks like a great dish, although I have always been weary of cheesy leftovers which are typically best fresh. ;)

  11. Ok, this is going to be tomorrow’s dinner because it looks so darn awesome and cheesy, I love cheesy!
    Toilet paper, now that’s funny! There’s a girl in my class who prefers it over Kleenex and whenever she’s got a cold, she gets a toilet paper roll out of her bag and cleans her nose with that… in the middle of the lesson, it’s too funny ;-)
    I hope you’re better now x

  12. :) this looks goooood. I want carby comfort.

  13. This looks so amazing! It’s so unfortunate that I somehow am incapable of making rice… pinning this to force my boyfriend to make for me later ;-)

  14. Christine says:

    This looks fantastic! Adding it to the growing list of things to make once temps become livable again in So Cal and I can turn on the oven…sigh. I find it so funny how men, when sick, think the world is ending and yet when women get sick, no big deal to them. Summer colds suck. Please feel better soon! Oh, and I agree with Kathryn, tissues in the UK are waaay superior to ours.

  15. Jessie says:

    Aww, I hope you feel better soon! This veggie-packed dish will help, I’m sure. I love the idea of including rice and saffron – luxury! – and keeping it all to yourself, HA!

    Also, I love the idea of using TP as tissues because you can “make them really long”. I’m totally using that argument.

  16. Kleenex ftw! Toilet paper gets all up in your eyelashes and then you have little fluffies bugging the heck outta you. Truth. Now that that’s over with… I am going to curl up with this delicious comforting cheesy rice bake and ravage it with a fork. Yes… yes, I will.

  17. Pam says:

    I wouldn’t have left him any either. I can only imagine this cheesy rice bake made even the worst cold feel a little better.

  18. Amy says:

    Wait…what? The.Boy doesn’t like rice??? In my good ear? And also, toilet paper used as Kleenex is just wrong. WRONG. This dish, though…all so right :D

  19. If the recipe ends in “bake” I’m pretty usually all in, so needless to say I am loving this recipe! YUM!

  20. Love this cheesey rice bake! I would definitely have to force my boyfriend to eat it too though!

  21. Sounds and looks AMAZING! Bring on the eggplant and cheese!

  22. Erica says:

    This dish sounds amazing!Love the combination of flavors and textures, Joanne!

  23. I love eggplants prepared at any method! This cheesy veggie bake with saffron rice looks divine, Joanne.

  24. Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables for a casserole – so good! Hope you feel better soon Joanne :)

  25. All of my favorite food loves in one dish!!! So wonderful, J!

  26. Eileen says:

    Oh, this sounds like the best possible way to use the late summer eggplant! You have to love a big pan full of cheesy vegetabley goodness. :) Hope you feel better soon!

  27. Awww….. I hope you’re feeling better. This rice bake certainly would make me feel better if I had a cold. Sounds awesome and oh so comforting! I only resort to toilet paper when I’m out of kleenex! ;) Take care Joanne!

  28. Kate says:

    This would work well with squash too (zucchini or butternut)

  29. P says:

    This looks so soft and delicious! Love how it incorporates rice!
    I’ve got to say…I must admit I prefer toilet paper over Kleenex too :P!

  30. I am cracking up over the tissue/toilet paper comment. That is SO my husband.

    Anyways – I am loving the idea for this dish. I am always looking for ways to use more eggplant!

  31. Hope you’re feeling better! This does sound like the perfect comfort food. Cheese, eggplant, and rice, mmm-mmm.

  32. Feeling pretty smitten with this recipe, especially since eggplants are slowly getting cheaper and cheaper again as the seasons roll over here. Feel better soon! Or at least get some kleenex, haha.

  33. Amy Tong says:

    Oh my…This eggplant, mozzarella and saffron rice bake is looking scrumptious! I would opt for this over eggplant parm too. ;)

  34. Ashley says:

    Feel better, girlie! I’ll take a big ol’ helping of this – it looks awesome! Much better than the eggplant parm we ordered from our local pizza place last night.

  35. Margarita says:

    sorry you are not feeling great… you shouldn’t be sorry for eating all of your share! i’m with the boy though, i like toilet paper more than tissues when it comes to nose blowing during flus.

    this eggplant dish looks so good! i am curious to use arborio rice… never tried it before, but it sounds great especially with saffron.

  36. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGG… this looks freakin amazing. Love eggplant… you come up with the most exciting dishes. Love it.

  37. okay I know I say this a lot but I am making this recipe!!! I have all the ingredients on hand so this weekend this is happening! I’m already drooling over it!

  38. Oooohhhh this looks like a great new way to use eggplant. It looks so gooey and yummy! My in-laws just brought us a bag of eggplants from their garden, too!

  39. I don’t know anything about football! I like all the “football food” out there though, so that’s a plus! And this rice bake? I want it in my body immediately!

  40. I’m into fantasy kitchens!
    How about that one?
    Oh yeah

  41. Way to get even, Joanne!! I hope you are planning your next method of exacting evenness. Seriously, this eggplant looks wonderful. I sure hope you are feeling better soon!!

  42. sippitysup says:

    TP for Kleenex? Yep. Kleenex for TP? No way… GREG

  43. Hannah says:

    Okay, so I’m picturing this made with zucchini instead of eggplant, and with vegan cheese of course. Also, I’m picturing myself eating the whole dish in one sitting. Clear as day, I can definitely see all of the above happening…

  44. Suzie says:

    Your funny stories along with your recipes always make me laugh!

  45. Megan says:

    Three fantasy football drafts? Man. I thought Jeff was bad with two! Hope you’re feeling better! I love eggplant and could totally go for this comfort food dish.

  46. Yum! I’ve been craving a casserole for some reason, even though it still feels like summer out. This looks sooo comforting.

  47. Hotly Spiced says:

    That does look very good. It looks a lot like a lasagne to me (a vegetarian one!) I hope you’re getting over your cold. There’s nothing worse than lying in bed feeling ordinary when you know everyone else is on Staton Island whooping it up xx

  48. Awww, poor thing you…but this lasagna does seem comfortable. Get better girl.

  49. CCU says:

    Rice bake? Delicious!
    I hope you feel much better soon my friend full of you yummy foods!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  50. I hope you’re feeling better Joanne! This certainly looks like it would have helped you get there :)

  51. Joanne this is our favorite vegetable and this recipe is FABULOUS!! I can eat this eggplant dish as a meal all on its own. Thanks for sharing!

  52. I’m drooling over this and it’s 6 am! I’m on an eggplant binge these days :)

  53. Lynn says:

    My stomach just rumbled loudly when I looked at that dish. Yum.

    Hope you are feeling better!

  54. This sounds fantastic! I love eggplant roasted in the oven. With sauce and cheese — even better. And how could someone not like rice!?

  55. Shannon says:

    eggplant, cheese, and saffron rice? #winning hope you’re feeling better hun!

  56. This looks amazing, I would say this is the perfect comfort food. I hope you get over your cold soon.

  57. This looks insanely good, Joanne… that saffron really is the icing on the bake (ha!).

  58. I love eggplants and saffron! Both are very delicious ingredients!

  59. cassie says:

    What a great meal, Joanne. I love all of these flavors!

  60. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh yum! This looks so incredible :) I love eggplant!!

  61. Sylvia says:

    I have finally made a healthy relationship with eggplant with this recipe!!!!! Everything was beautiful about this delicious recipe. I substituted the rice for quinoa and it turned out great. Thank you for sharing!

  62. […] cheeses, strangle piles of runny eggs and veggies, endless mounds of eggplant). I am intrigued by this eggplant dish and this quinoa bake, and I absolutely cannot get enough of this cake. It’s so healthy that […]

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