This Post Brought To You By UNCLE BEN’S®. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Whether eaten as a side dish or a vegetarian meal, this oven-baked brown rice and eggplant casserole is full of fresh flavors that won’t fail to please. 
oven-baked brown rice and eggplant casserole

Sometimes healthy living is a day-by-day kind of thing.

It’s not being the person to finish off the last of the box of chocolate-covered-toffees sitting outside your boss’s office even though you are working on the computer less than two feet away from it for five hours straight.

It’s walking the 15 blocks to the grocery store instead of taking the bus even though it is the ever invigorating “feels like -20F” outside.

And then it’s the sense of triumph you feel when you realize you have reached your destination and haven’t been passed by a bus, so had you decided to give into your laziness…you would still be waiting.

In -20F. 20 minutes later.

(Go health.)

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Sometimes it’s hard to see the larger picture of our goals when it feels like every day has a million difference choices, and we need to get them all right if we want to move forward.

So I like to give every day, and every choice within that day, it’s own chance.

No one decision is going to make or break anything, after all, but it’s what we do on the whole that really counts.

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It’s just not worth it to sweat the small stuff:

Not the piece of dark chocolate I have after dinner every night, not the pilates class that I really meant to attend last Wednesday except that I kind of decided to bake brownies instead, not the fact that we might never be able to afford a caterer at our wedding and will very likely be serving pizza that we will order from the closest place that will deliver to Prospect Park.

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Rather, focus on the victories.

Like, today I made this healthy, wholesome, delicious meal.

And it is one step in the right direction.

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I made this recipe using UNCLE BEN’S® Whole Grain Brown Ready Rice, which is a great way to get whole grains like brown rice into your life, especially when you don’t feel like you have enough time to cook them from scratch. With a brown rice and chickpea pilaf base that is then topped with roasted eggplant and fresh-flavored tomatoes, this is a healthy vegan casserole that will make everyone happy.

 

Oven-Baked Brown Rice and Eggplant Casserole
 
Whether eaten as a side dish or a vegetarian meal, this casserole is full of fresh flavors that won't fail to please.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for eggplant
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt, plus more for eggplant
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 packages Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Ready Rice (or 4 cups cooked brown rice)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • ½ lb dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled until tender
  • 14 oz canned diced tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and saute until starting to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add in in the garlic, salt, black pepper, and turmeric. Saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the brown rice and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, slice the eggplant crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices. Spread out on a work surface and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Add to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds to a minute per side, or until browned. Set aside.
  4. Heat oven to 350.
  5. When rice is done, pour into a shallow casserole pan. Stir in the greek yogurt.
  6. Top with the chickpeas, then layer the eggplant on top, followed by the tomatoes.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, or until eggplant is cooked through and mixture is bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving.
Notes
Adapted from Uncle Ben's
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th of recipe

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51 Responses to Oven-Baked Brown Rice and Eggplant Casserole

  1. Monica says:

    Definitely don’t sweat the small stuff…though sometimes we have to remember to identity what the ‘small stuff’ actually is! : ) I am amazed by all the great things that come out of your kitchen with your busy schedule. This looks like a great meal and I love a shortcut.

  2. Those small, healthy choices add up for a big benefit in the long run! What a delicious dish this is. You always have such inspiring, healthful meals (well, except for when you share your amazing desserts ;)).

  3. This sounds delicious! It’s the perfect vegetarian meal in this cold weather! I can’t wait to try it :)

  4. This looks delicious and healthy! Life is all about choices and the little ones do add up.

  5. This looks totally healthy and something I would make during the week, definitely!

  6. I love baked eggplant and will often do a tomato, eggplant, chickpea combination and put it on top of rice or couscous. Never thought to include Greek yogurt, but that’s a great idea!

  7. Barbara says:

    Yum! My mother made something similar, but slapped it all together in a casserole with cheese. Great presentation, Joanne.
    Stay warm!

  8. This looks so delicious. I love eggplant. And it’s so true- don’t sweat the small stuff.

  9. I think pizza for a wedding is a great idea. We wanted pizza for ours, but our mothers got mad at us for even mentioning it.
    Anyways, eggplant is a good idea no matter what. Fry it and top it with cheese, still eggplant, right? Brown rice….even better!

  10. Megan says:

    I always get a sense of satisfaction when I decide to walk and a bus never passes me. I think that feeling would be even stronger when it’s this cold out! This dinner looks great! I love finding new ways to incorporate eggplant into a meal.

  11. Erika says:

    I love baked eggplant.. this looks amazing. All of your healthy meals are on point. You’re serious motivation for those of us (like me) who need to eat healthier. :)

  12. I just got the hubby to accept eggplant for dinner, so I’m immediately adding this to my list!

  13. this is so simple to make! I have everything in my fridge. excited for it to go in my belly!

  14. haha, when I read this I thought it said “over-baked”…huh?? But no, it says oven-baked…sooooo delicious! Love this recipe.

  15. Yum! Love that Uncle Bens is making whole grains super convenient and this dish is chock full of delish & healthy ingredients – my next eggplant recipe to try :)

  16. cassie says:

    Go health! And go you for walking in cold weather to the grocery store. That’s nearly unheard of here, I can’t imagine how crazy people would think I was. I hope it warms up soon!!

  17. cheri says:

    Great looking dish, love eggplant!

  18. Great post Joanne. Small victories are still victories – that’s something I’ve had to learn to be ok with. Love this healthy dish – I could use a plate of this now!

  19. Jessie says:

    Go YOU, Joanne! We are bombarded with tons of little choices in a single day and it gets exhausting! I totally agree with not sweating the small stuff. This brown rice and eggplant casserole looks delicious and super easy to make!

    By the way, I think pizza at your wedding would be epic. And awesome.

  20. kudos for walking in the freezing temp. I sweat at small stuff and get upset for not doing this or that but really at the end of the day, its the smaller victories that matter. thanks for the reminder.

  21. Please dont sweat that piece of dark chocolate – I justify the 2 or 3 or 4 or maybe bar of dark chocolate I have by thinking of all the antioxidants I am taking in ;)
    I bet your guests would love for YOU to cater your own wedding…now if only you could clone yourself on that big day!
    I am a big fan of vegetarian dishes and this one sounds fantastic – You think if I subbed the quinoa for the brown rice it would be ok?

  22. I know what you mean about the weather! It reeeeeeeeallllly shows you what you’re made of and inspires you to eat healthy so you have the energy to stay out there and keep yourself warm for more than 10 seconds!

  23. This looks REALLY good, I love the idea of a rice cassarole and I love the veggies! Mmmmm fresh veggies!

  24. gloria says:

    Love eggsplants and this look delicious Joanne!!

  25. Eileen says:

    This kind of feels like a curry (or lasagna?) in casserole form to me. Sweet tomato, tender eggplant, and a chickpea protein punch, all over chewy, hearty brown rice? YES.

  26. Lynn says:

    This looks good! And I would have been the chocolate covered toffee snatcher!

  27. A perfectly warming and delicious meal!

  28. Kate says:

    Your evil eggplant dishes always do me in. I end up making them because they look so good, and my stomach does not thank me after!

  29. oh yum! looks so healthy and delicious!

  30. Hotly Spiced says:

    At the moment I have the opposite problem – wondering if I should walk as I would be exposed to so much heat. Good luck with finding a caterer. xx

  31. Good luck on the caterer. I got so discouraged trying to find one I could afford for my son’s wedding that I did all the food myself! For 150 people! It turned out great and I kinda sorta got into the catering business that way…

  32. Christina says:

    Healthy choices.. I’ve been considering going veggie again… this would help!

  33. What a different and fun casserole recipe!

  34. Cheers to healthy food like this!!!

  35. Not easy to make an eggplant casserole look good and you ROCKED it! This looks delicious and beautiful photos!

  36. Juliana says:

    Joanne, you just reminded me with this post that I can have tasty vegetarian dishes…thank you for the recipe.
    Hope you are having a great week :D

  37. Don’t sweat the small stuff is my moto lately. And this dish looks like heavan!

  38. I always had a bag of ready cooked rice in my pantry! Your wedding is not about the food so I hope you find a solution that works for you :)

  39. Joanne, you always make healthy and vegetarian looks awesome. Where the hell were you when I wasn’t eating meat??

  40. I am in love with brown rice though only you can make it look so good, especially with eggplants!

    Cheers
    CCU

  41. Deena kakaya says:

    Yum, I love that the rice still looks fluffy x

  42. Very nice, and love the combinations of flavors, indeed! Great job!

  43. Beautiful message. :) And kudos to you for walking in that cold!
    I love anything with eggplant so this casserole is totally speaking to me. Love. :)

  44. Yup, that’s the way to live! Sweating the small stuff is the words, and everybody knowas that brownies are ncier than pilates, right? ; )
    This casserole looks killer, yum! x

  45. Mary says:

    what a perfect meal – full of health and deliciousness! love it!
    mary x

  46. Christine says:

    I so do not envy you the temps of late. I remember such temps after 30 years of midwest winters. Cringe…. This dish is so delicious looking, having all the hallmarks of both comfort and health. Am bookmarking it btw, that’s how good it sounds. Nice photos and stay warm!

  47. this casserole looks so tasty! love the eggplant!

  48. I don’t make casseroles often enough, and this one looks so tasty!

  49. Rika @ VM says:

    What a hearty and delicious dish – rice & eggplants…mmmmm! Have you tried SoDelicious greek yogurt before?

  50. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh yum, this looks so tasty and warm :)

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