Baked Eggplant Boats with Rice and Veggie Stuffing

I was part of a cooking group on Facebook. Each week the group hosted a cooking contest. The challenge was to create a dish with a secret ingredient that was chosen by the previous week's winner and then submit the photo of the final product to the group. Once all the entries were submitted people voted for their favorites by LIKING the photos and the photo with the most LIKES was crowned the winner and the winning chef was revealed.

When I heard that the secret ingredient for one of the latest competitions was eggplant I became inspired to enter the competition. I could have easily entered an eggplant dish I had already made. It looked very appetizing but I decided to try to create something new and that's when I came up with the idea to create baked eggplant boats with rice and veggie stuffing. I've never done something like this before so didn't know what to expect but in the end the dish turned out so good that I will definitely be making it again soon.

I was sure the dish would win the competition but unfortunately it lost to a dish that was created from a recipe the chef Googled online, which wasn't revealed until the chef won. I think that is unfair to the other participants who actually took the time to come up with and prepare unique, original great-tasting dishes instead of just Googling them up online. That aside, I am still very proud of my dish and think it's definitely something you should give a try. Below you will find a list of the ingredients that go into making this delicious recipe along with step-by-step instructions and recipe photos. Happy Cooking! :)

4.7 stars from 3 ratings of Baked Eggplant Boats with Rice and Veggie Stuffing
Baked Eggplant Boats with Rice and Veggie Stuffing
Baked Eggplant Boats with Rice and Veggie Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 Medium Eggplant
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Medium Organic Carrot
  • 1/2 Large Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Medium Kumato Tomato
  • Small package Enoki Mushrooms
  • 1 Teaspoon Aji Mirin (Sweet Cooking Rice Wine)
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • Sea Salt
  • Dried Basil
  • Square slice Butter
  • Cooking Oil
  • 1 Package Shredded Cheese, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Parmesan

Instructions

Step-by-step instructions on how to prepare Baked Eggplant Boats with Rice and Veggie Stuffing, along with recipe photos.

Step 1 - Removing the flesh from the eggplant

Since this recipe involves stuffing the eggplant the first thing you need to do is prepare the eggplant for the stuffing by removing the flesh from the inside. Take two eggplants, wash them, pat dry with a paper towel and cut in half length-wise. Then take a small knife and gently trace it along the inside of the eggplant being careful not to pierce the eggplant all the way through but inserting the knife deep enough so you can later scoop out the flesh. Then take a spoon and gently scoop out the flesh, again being careful not to damage the eggplant. Take your time doing this because you don't want the eggplant to have holes in it or to break apart. After you've scooped out the flesh from the eggplant set it aside. Take some olive oil and pour it into a small bowl. Then take a basting brush and baste the inside of the eggplant so that every inch of the eggplant is penetrated with oil. Don't add to much oil though. Use just enough of it to be absorbed by the eggplant.

scooping out the flesh from the eggplant
scooping out the flesh from the eggplant

Step 2 - Cooking the Basmati Rice

While you'll be working on preparing and cooking the stuffing you can save some time by cooking the rice at the same time as you'll need it for the stuffing too. Take 3/4 cup of Basmati Rice, rinse, and place into a pot. Then add twice as much water, some sea salt and let cook over medium-to-low heat until done, stirring occasionally. When done add a square slice of butter and stir. You can melt the butter before adding it to the rice.

Make sure to keep an eye on the rice while you are working on the stuffing so that it doesn't get burned. You may want to set a timer for about 15 minutes to remind you that you've got the rice cooking.

Basmati Rice (Cooked)
Basmati Rice (Cooked)

Step 3 - Preparing the ingredients for the stuffing

Take the eggplant flesh you had set aside earlier, cut into small square pieces and place into a bowl. Peel a medium onion and cut into small square pieces as well and set aside. Wash a medium red bell pepper, and cut half of it into small square pieces and set aside. Wash and peel a medium organic carrot and cut into small pieces as well and set aside. Wash a medium Kumato tomato and cut into small pieces and set aside as well. Take a package of Enoki mushrooms, cut off about an inch from the bottom and then rinse under running water. Separate the mushrooms from each other and cut into small pieces and set aside.

Step 4 - Cooking the ingredients for the stuffing - onion, eggplant, carrot, red bell pepper, Kumato tomato

Pour some oil into a deep pan and place on medium heat. Once heated place the diced onions and cook until golden brown. When done remove onto a bowl. Add some more cooking oil into a pan if necessary and place the diced red bell pepper, the carrots, and the eggplant, sprinkle with sea salt, and cook until just about tender. Then add the Kumato tomato and the onions you had removed earlier and cook for a few minutes more.

Cooking the stuffing for the baked eggplant - eggplant, red bell pepper, onion, carrots, Kumato tomatoes
Cooking the stuffing for the baked eggplant - eggplant, red bell pepper, onion, carrots, Kumato tomatoes

Step 5 - Cooking the ingredients for the stuffing - Adding the Ketchup/Aji Mirin mixture and Enoki Mushrooms

Take the cut Enoki mushrooms and add them to the pan. Mix everything. Then take a bowl and mix two tablespoons of Ketchup with a teaspoon of Aji Mirin (Sweet Cooking Rice Wine). Add the mixture to the pan and stir and let cook for a few minutes.

Cooking the stuffing for the baked eggplant - Adding Enoki mushrooms to the stuffing along with the Ketchup and Aji Mirin mixture.
Cooking the stuffing for the baked eggplant - Adding Enoki mushrooms to the stuffing along with the Ketchup and Aji Mirin mixture.

Step 6 - Cooking the ingredients for the stuffing - Adding the Basmati Rice

Add the cooked Basmati rice to the pan and mix everything well. Then sprinkle with some dried basil and mix again. Cook for a few minutes. Taste the stuffing to see if it's to your liking. Add some more sea salt or some more ketchup if you feel the stuffing requires more of it. After a few minutes are up cover the pan and let sit.

Cooking the stuffing for the baked eggplant - Adding Basmati Rice (Cooked) to the stuffing
Cooking the stuffing for the baked eggplant - Adding Basmati Rice (Cooked) to the stuffing

Step 7- Adding stuffing to the eggplant

Take an aluminum tray and drizzle some cooking oil on the bottom of it and on the sides to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the tray once it is cooking. Then layout the eggplants and using as spoon transfer the stuffing from the pan to each of the eggplants evenly. Make sure that each eggplant is positioned upright and that no stuffing falls over onto the tray. Once done you should have no stuffing left in the pan.

Adding stuffing to the eggplant
Adding stuffing to the eggplant

Step 8 - Adding shredded cheese to the stuffing

Now that you've added the stuffing to the eggplant it is time to add the shredded cheese. The cheeses you will need are Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Parmesan. You can buy a package of shredded cheese in the supermarket or you can just buy pieces of cheese and shred them yourself. The choice is yours. You may opt for buying the shredded cheese but in the even they don't have all of these cheeses shredded you can do it yourself. Now, you don't have to use all four of these cheeses but I prefer to use them all. They make the dish taste even better.

Adding shredded cheese to the stuffing
Adding shredded cheese to the stuffing

Step 9 - Cooking the Stuffed Eggplant

Pre-heat the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When done pre-heating place the aluminum tray with the stuffed eggplants and cook for about twenty five to thirty minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the cheese so that it doesn't burn. When done, turn off the oven and remove the tray from the oven. Place one stuffed eggplant onto a plate and garnish with fresh basil leaves. You may even sprinkle some dried parsley flakes if you'd like. Take a knife and fork and enjoy. You may want to have a glass of wine with this dish. I am not a wine expert but I think having a glass of wine with the stuffed eggplant will be refreshing.

Baked eggplant boats with rice and veggie stuffing
Baked eggplant boats with rice and veggie stuffing

Have a favorite eggplant dish or recipe. Feel free to share it in the comments below.

© 2013 Lena Kovadlo

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Comments 22 comments

Iris Wells profile image

Iris Wells 5 weeks ago

Ohhh, I like this. Sounds like a winner to me :). Thank you for sharing.


easylearningweb profile image

easylearningweb 19 months ago

Great recipe! I shared it on my Pinterest recipe board. :-)


VVanNess profile image

VVanNess 2 years ago from Prescott Valley

I'm always trying to figure out what to do with the eggplants we get in our basket every month. This sounds absolutely delicious! I'll have to let you know how it turned out for me.

I'm so sorry to hear about the cooking contest. :)


anmurphy7 profile image

anmurphy7 3 years ago from Weston, Florida

Yum! Thanks for sharing :)


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Marsha Musselman1 - I love Basmati rice and hence why I used it in this recipe. You can use any rice you like. I doubt the taste will be ruined...


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Marsha Musselman1 - Thank you so much for the feedback.

When it came to the contest I wasn't upset that I had lost. I was upset that I had lost to someone who simply Googled a recipe online and recreated it, even if a slight change was made to the recipe. I think the rules should have specified that people can just Google up recipes and recreate them. Maybe then I wouldn't have reacted so strongly. But for a competition (even if just an online one where winner doesn't win anything) recipes should be original in my opinion. And I let the group know that.

I also said it was unfair to those who take time to come up with their own dishes when someone just recreates something from the Internet or a cookbook. I said that I would rather lose with my own recipe (if it were to happen) then to win with a recipe I Googled up online or took from a cookbook. People in the group started attacking me, telling me that I am upset that I didn't win and am taking it out on others. They said that no one in their right mind would think that it had to be only original recipes and said if the competition allowed only for original recipes (which again they never specified in the rules) that no one would enter it. They also said other bad stuff my way and told me to start my own group and have my own contest there with my own rules. Even my suggestion to create an award for the winner (similar to what students get in school for excelling in a class) was criticized. No one thought a piece of paper would motivate people to do their best...

I decided to leave the group because I didn't want to be subjected to all these comments my way. And now I do have my own cooking group on Facebook that I just started - Creative Culinary Delights (name may change) where chefs professional or not can share delicious recipes with others, cooking tips, and other such related content. I don't have a contest on there but I may start one...


Marsha Musselman1 profile image

Marsha Musselman1 3 years ago from Michigan, USA

Looks delish. I'll have to wait to try this until I purchase my next oven. My current one isn't working.

I've been coming up with my own recipes too and have used eggplant in at least one of them before. I wonder if this would work just as well if old-fashioned rice were used? Meaning the rice many Americans use. We sell that rice in our stores here, but it's much more expensive.

I'm not sure that I totally disagree with getting ideas from the internet when creating my own dishes, unless the stipulations were to do it solely on your own that is. It would be nice if everyone used the same parameters, but that may not have been explained that well.

Voting up, sharing and awesome. And I'll be following, I want to read more of your hubs.


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

RTalloni - Thank you for your feedback. I miss the baked eggplant boats already. Want to make them again. :) Maybe this time I will add some different ingredients to the stuffing.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

This looks fabulous and I think it is a real winner! It would be easy to use cow milk alternatives for the cheese and butter. Thanks for sharing your entry with us!


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

I wish though that everyone that entered actually created dishes using their own recipes and not those they Googled online and recreated even if they were slightly changed.


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Yes. There is a cooking group on Facebook and they have a cooking contest every week just for fun... No one actually wins anything. Still it's fun to prepare a new dish for it...and enter and see how many people will Like it even if it doesn't win.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 3 years ago from Mexico

A cooking contest in facebook, what a great idea! I am sorry there are people who spoil the fun of it, but I congratulate you on your effort. The resulting baked eggplant boats look delicious. I might even make them soon!


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

I am not the first one to come up with stuffing eggplant and baking it but the this recipe I came up with myself.


Vacation Trip profile image

Vacation Trip 3 years ago from India

Wow. A superb recipe. Have never heard of this. It is simply mouth watering. Voted up and awesome. Thanks for sharing.


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

drmiddlebrook - Thank you for your comments. :) Hope you make this one day. It turned out so good.


drmiddlebrook profile image

drmiddlebrook 3 years ago from Texas, USA

Wow, I'm getting hungry just reading how you prepared it, and looking at the pictures. I will definitely give this a try one day. Looks scrumptious and satisfying! Great job on the article and the pics! Voted up.


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Thank you Regis. I wonder what it would take for you to one day make something delicious that is not from the freezer or takes under 5 minutes?


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Thanks for the comments carol7777. I hope you give this a try. :) Let me know how it turns out.


rauffray profile image

rauffray 3 years ago from BC, Canada

That looks like a fine and fancy dish, Lena. Thank you for sharing your culinary knowledge and skills.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I make eggplant parmesan often..never thought to stuff them.. Love this recipe and cannot wait to try it..Great job. Voting up and also pinning.


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 3 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

I am sure it will work without cheese and still taste great.


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 3 years ago from Upstate New York

This looks yummy. I wonder if it would work without cheese. Great recipe!

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