kid friendly main meals pasta spring summer vegan

Spicy Grilled Eggplant Risoni Bake

June 26, 2012

I love being a little family; having Lu has filled our life with so much joy and I can’t believe she is now close to seven months old. How time disappears!! And yes, it has been far too long between recipes here on Veggie num num, once again!

I really need to get my cooking and blogging groove back and here for you all today is a very simple and tasty family veggie recipe. Risoni is a lovely ingredient with a great texture that’s perfect for a pasta bake. A simple tomato sauce brings together the wonderful smoky flavour of grilled eggplant with oregano and fresh roasted tomatoes.

It’s a quick and super simple vegetarian recipe perfect for a mid week family meal. Try zucchini or capsicum (bell peppers) instead of the eggplant if you prefer and be sure to use lovely sweet cherry tomatoes for the very best flavour. Add a vegetarian feta or parmesan cheese if you like for a melty, gooey, cheesy topping. Serve up with crusty bread and enjoy with love from our kitchen to yours.

Spicy Grilled Eggplant Risoni Bake

Spicy Grilled Eggplant Risoni Bake

Preparation time: 55mins // Serves 4-6

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  • 1 large celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups risoni
  • 3½ cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups passata
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and squashed (optional)
  • 3-4 Lebanese eggplants, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ½-1 tsp harissa paste (optional)
  • 4-5 whole cherry tomatoes
  • a few slices of red onion
  • sprigs of fresh oregano

Preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F

Fry the diced celery and carrot in a little olive oil over a medium heat until softened. Add the garlic and fry for a minute more.

Add the risoni, stock, passata, tomato paste and bay leaf. Increase heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile combine the olive oil and harissa in a small bowl. Brush the cut side of the eggplant with the harissa and olive oil mixture.

Heat a small amount of oil in a grill pan, barbeque or frying pan. Place the eggplant on the grill cut side down and brush with remaining harissa and olive oil mixture. Grill eggplant over a medium/high heat until golden then turn and repeat on the other side. Remove from the grill and set aside.

Remove the bay leaf and transfer the risoni mixture into a large casserole dish (there should still be a reasonable amount of liquid at this stage). Top with slices of grilled eggplant, tuck in the whole cherry tomatoes and scatter over the slices of onion and sprigs of oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and vegetables nicely roasted.

Enjoy as a lovely warming family meal with crusty bread.

Spicy Grilled Eggplant Risoni Bake

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42 Comments

  • Reply M.R. Stringer June 27, 2012 at 7:30 am

    The harissa… she said, somewhat nervously…
    Isn’t this stuff that blows the roof off your mouth?
    If I were to replace it with a long red chilli, chopped, would that alter the flavour of the dish?

  • Reply Jeanne June 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Hi Trudy, just wanted to say that even though (understandably) lately entries have been few and far between I still regularly check to see if you’ve posted anything new and wonderful, and often look to see if you’ve previously tried it when I’m thinking up ideas for meals. Keep looking after your family (and self) and don’t worry about us one tiny bit! Oh and this recipe is a brilliant idea!

  • Reply jenny @ giftboxology June 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

    yay i love that you are back with more beautiful pics and recipes. thankyou! my husband and i only recently discovered the brilliance that is risoni.

    being a mum is truly a brilliant thing isn’t it?! watching your little ones grow is amazing.

  • Reply Trudy ~ Veggie num num June 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Hi M.R. Stringer, yes harissa can be very hot, use just a small amount or fresh chilli as you suggested would work well in its place. A little tomato paste could be a good replacement too, enjoy!

    Thanks so much for the lovely comment Jeanne, very happy to hear you’re still enjoying the recipes here on Veggie num num!!

    Thank you Jenny!! Hope you enjoy the dish and yes being a mum is possibly the very best thing in the whole world :)

  • Reply bhavani/ameanderingmango June 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Looks delicious and like the perfect winter dish. I’ve never tried cooking risoni but will have to give it a shot now. Thanks for sharing another great post!

  • Reply Amanda July 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Made this last night for some vegetarian guests omitted Harissa paste and used a whole red chilli, I also used zuchinni instead of eggplant it was so tasty can’t wait to try more of the dishes.

  • Reply chow vegan July 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Has it already been 7 months? That went by fast, glad you found a bit of time to post. It looks so good! :-)

  • Reply Lena July 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Hey,

    what a gorgeous foodblog and a delicious recepie!
    I’d wish you posted recepies more often!

    Greetings from Germany!
    Lena

  • Reply Suzanne Bélanger July 6, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Could you tell me what passata is?
    Is it like crushed tomatoes or is it rather considered to be a coulis?
    If I cannot find this product can it be replaced by diced tomates and if so, drained or not drained.
    The recipe looks truly delicious!
    Thank you.

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