Roasted Veggie Rice Bake

by Kirsten on September 22, 2012 · 20 comments

in Main Dishes, Misc. Savory Dishes, Sides, Starters & Sides

While on the road back from another soccer game that lasted way past our usual dinner time, I feel happy.  No dinner rush tonight, since a roasted veggie rice bake is awaiting us. A meal I could easily prepare ahead this afternoon. Earlier in the day I had time to roast zucchinis and eggplants, prepare the wine infused risotto filling and finish layering the casserole with tomato sauce and fresh cheeses like mozzarella and Pecorino. Now the sun is slowly setting behind the mountains and we are finally at our destination, home. Everybody is tired and hungry, showers are running and homework started. The roasted veggie rice bake comes out of the oven. The tomato sauce is bubbling, the cheesy topping golden brown and the bakes’ mouthwatering smell is filling the house. It is almost dark outside until we finally sit down as a family to share our day and this meal.  Mr. Rockies quickly goes back for a second helping which is an exception. Welcome roasted veggie rice bake as the newest addition to my kitchen’s recipe repertoire!


Roasted Veggie Rice Bake
5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe type: Main, Side
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large organic eggplants (about 3 pounds), cut crosswise into ¼-inch rounds, (Kirsten also used zucchinis)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups store-bought organic tomato sauce (such as marinara), divided
  • 1 pound fresh Buffalo mozzarella, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 2 cups), divided
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan/ Pecorino (4 ounces), divided
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Distribute sliced zucchinis and eggplants evenly onto two rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle with 1 cup olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for a total of 20-25 minutes. Turn the vegetables once, after 12 minutes, and remove them from the oven when they are done roasting.
  3. In the meantime start the rice filling.
  4. In a large sized pan cook the onions with the left over olive oil until softened on medium heat. Add the rice and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring. Add the saffron and wine. Reduce wine slightly and add the broth. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the rice is al dente, about 6 minutes, don't over cook!
  5. Let's start layering.
  6. Cover the bottom of a 13x9x2 baking dish with 1 cup tomato sauce. Sprinkle evenly with ⅓ of mozzarella and Parmesan. Layer half of the roasted veggies on top. Make sure the veggies overlap and no sauce peaks through. Spread the rice mixture evenly on top. Sprinkle with ⅓ of both cheeses and add half of the remaining tomato sauce. Layer with the rest of the roasted vegetables, cover with the rest of the tomato sauce and sprinkle evenly with remaining cheeses.
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (longer if you prepared your casserole ahead and kept in the fridge) or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
  9. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese topping is golden brown.
  10. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Adapted from

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Liz @ The Lemon Bowl November 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Beautiful recipe – such a delicious and healthy twist on Meatless Monday!

Liz @ The Lemon Bowl November 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Beautiful recipe – such a delicious and healthy twist on Meatless Monday!

elisabeth@foodandthrift October 5, 2012 at 8:26 am

Kirsten, I just love this comforting and delicious dish combined with rice. It reminds me of eggplant parmesan, but healthier because it’s not breaded and fried. Beautifully prepared, and I can imagine what a ‘hit’ this was with your family…yumm!

Susan o September 27, 2012 at 4:31 am

This looks delicious. It was nice that you could prepare it during the day when you had some extra time. I love meals like that.

Simone September 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I love easy and delicious dishes like that and with the amount of vegetables in there it is very good for you too!

Nuts about food September 25, 2012 at 2:16 am

Never had this before. Love the idea of the rice in it.

Sabine September 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hallo liebe Kirsten,

habe dir auf Facebook geschrieben.

Ganz liebe Grüße


Steve O September 23, 2012 at 6:47 am

That looks amazing! As well as infinitely modifiable. Cheers!

Kevin (Closet Cooking) September 23, 2012 at 6:06 am

This sounds like a really tasty rice bake!

Katie (The Muffin Myth) September 23, 2012 at 3:09 am

Mmmmm, this looks so good! I wonder if I could sub a whole grain like barley or brown rice in for the arborio rice? Definitely something I’ll try out!

Kirsten September 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

Katie, Yes, you could substitute a different rice or grain. Just make sure they are cooked al dente, so you won’t end up with a mushy mess after the baking.

Susan September 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I made something similar a few weeks ago from a recipe I found in Bon Appetit, but I love your addition of the zucchini with the eggplant…a good recipe made better by your ingenuity. XOXO

irenalana September 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try this recipe

manu September 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

this sounds delicious and yummy!!

rebecca September 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

great recipe new to me will try

Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) September 22, 2012 at 11:32 am

I would have been right next to Mr. Rockies for that 2nd helping. This sounds delicious Kirsten. And don’t you love dishes that are pre-made and just waiting to be baked.

Cathy @ Noble Pig September 22, 2012 at 11:18 am

How I would love to come home to this! This would a wonderful meal after a long day of winemaking here in Oregon!!

Karen Harris September 22, 2012 at 11:08 am

The one good thing about fall is pulling out all of those great casserole recipes. This looks like it would be so good after a long day out and about.

Sue/the view from great island September 22, 2012 at 11:01 am

I loooove that feeling of dinner waiting at home after a long day. This casserole looks so warm and inviting, I just want to dig right in—your photos are wonderful, and I love your dishes, too!

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