Eggplant and Vegetable Rice

I look at this dish as a great way to utilize random vegetables you have in your refrigerator or freezer. In the case of frozen vegetables, you can swap out as needed and use any frozen vegetables you have on hand. It can be made vegetarian and can also be a great side dish instead of an entree.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

3 medium eggplants, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

1 onion, chopped into small dice

Kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh oregano 

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

2 cups basmati or jasmine rice

2 cups crushed tomatoes (fresh or canned)

3 cups frozen vegetables 

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth, heated until hot

Chopped basil leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat the bottom of a large ovenproof pot with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the eggplant and onions, season with salt, cover and cook, stirring or shaking the pot often, until the vegetables are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. If the vegetables stick to the pot, drizzle in more olive oil, as needed to loosen. 
  3. Add the garlic, oregano, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and frozen vegetables and cook, stirring often, until the rice is lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes until well combined. Stir in the frozen vegetables and season with salt. Ladle in enough stock to cover, then add about another 3/4 inch on top (amount will vary, depending on the size of your pot). Stir just to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. 
  4. Cover the pot and bake until all the liquid is absorbed into the rice, 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and fluff the rice using a long fork (such as one used to hold a roast while carving). Be gentle so as not to mush the eggplant.
  6. Place the pot back in the oven until the vegetables are warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil and drizzle olive oil over the top. Serve immediately.
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