Tag Archives: eggplant

Eggplant Tomato Rice Pastelón / Arroz Relleno

5 Mar

I have been meaning to make a recipe for a Rice Pastelón for quite some time… and then the other day, my mom and Mili surprised me with the news they’re making a rice pastelón and they want me to document it for the blog. Sweet!!!

When I was growing up, the mom of a very, very good friend of mine loved to cook rice pastelones, or Arroz Relleno as she would call it. At the time it was rice on the bottom, stewed chicken in the middle and rice on the top, covered of course with cheese. I have debated how I would adapt Lolita’s recipe to make it vegetarian and as reminiscent of that original arroz relleno as possible… that’s where I stayed in the idea/concept stage.

But Mili and Mami did one better… Picture this – imagine layers of rice with layers of eggplant and tomato and cheese in between. Genius, right?? Genius and DELICIOUS… you will make a large mold of this because you WANT to have leftovers. I guarantee it…


3 cups of cooked brown rice
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, chopped large
½ cup of strained tomatoes or tomato sauce or marinara sauce
2 cups of shredded cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1 vegetable bouillon cube

First, you need to cook all the components…

  1. Cook your rice the usual way you know how to cook brown rice. I make it in a rice cooker seasoning it with a little bit of salt, a drizzle of olive oil and a vegetable bouillon cube. I try to smash the cube and mix it in water before turning it on so the water is flavored evenly. After the rice is made, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season the tomato slices with salt and garlic/herb seasoning mixture. Place slices side by side in a baking dish or tray. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes. Roast in a 400F oven for about 25-20 minutes. The idea is to concentrate the flavors of the tomato. Take out of the oven and set aside.
  3. Also, season the eggplant slices with the same salt and garlic/herbs mixture. Place slices side by side in a baking dish or tray. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the eggplant slices. Roast in the same oven where the tomatoes are at 400F for about 25-20 minutes too. Take out of the oven and set aside.
  4. And while the tomatoes and eggplants are cooking and rice is finishing, sauté the onions in a large skillet. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. The idea is to soften them by cooking them over medium heat for about 10 minutes, without browning them too much. Set aside.
  5. Take the strained tomatoes and season them with salt, pepper and garlic and herbs. Add a little drizzle of olive oil to add extra flavor. Set aside. If using marinara sauce, you don’t need to season it then.

Now that everything is basically cooked, we assemble the pastelón as if it were a lasagna…

  1. Using a 9 x 13 baking dish, place 1/3 of the rice at the bottom of the pan. Flatten as much as possible.
  2. Add a drizzle of the strained tomato sauce over the rice.
  3. Add a layer of eggplants and tomatoes using half of the quantity you have available, trying to cover the layer of rice.
  4. Add some onions on top of eggplant/tomato layer.
  5. Add a layer of shredded cheese over the onions.
  6. Repeat with a second layer of rice. Drizzle some tomato sauce. Another layer of eggplant/tomato. Another layer of onions. Another layer of cheese.
  7. Finish with a last layer of rice. Add any remaining ingredients you might still have. Don’t let anything go to waste. And top with plenty of shredded cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven covered for 20-25 minutes in a 350F oven for all the flavors to combine. Uncover for the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the cheese on top.

Just like with lasagna, there are several steps to this pastelón, but none of them are particularly difficult. After it’s assembled all you need to do is bake to melt the cheeses inside and on top. A nice salad on the side and dinner is ready!!!

Eggplant Sandwich Stacks

6 Jul

We were talking recently about my favorite sandwiches… but not all sandwiches need to have bread. Such is the case with these Eggplant Sandwich Stacks. I think they’re more aptly named Eggplant Stacks and done. But Mili at the Yoga Center always calls them Eggplant Sandwiches.

To me an eggplant sandwich is like these ones… eggplant fried or grilled inside two pieces of bread. In this case, the eggplant is the “bread” and the filling is lots’o cheese.

They’re easy to make and are a great way to enjoy eggplants…


2 medium sized eggplants
2 cups of tomato pizza or pasta sauce – I like to use this one I make
1 package of mild cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil
Garlic and herbs Seasoning mix
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cut the eggplants in rounds. Do not peel them as the skin will help retain the shape of the eggplants. If you’re not fond of the skins, you can certainly remove them while you’re eating them. They’ll peel off easily.
  3. Drizzle the eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with garlic and herbs seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Place them side by side on several cookie sheets to roast in the oven covered with aluminum foil paper. Let them cook in the oven for about 15 -20 minutes.
  4. After the eggplant stacks are partially cooked… we stack them. Find pieces that are evenly sized so your stack is even. Or if pieces are not exactly the same size, try for the bottom piece to be larger than the top piece.
  5. Take one piece of eggplant, spread some tomato/marinara sauce on top, but not too much. Place a few slices of cheddar cheese, top with another piece of eggplant.
  6. Spread more tomato/marinara sauce and finish with a mound of mozzarella cheese. Repeat until you have stacked all pieces of eggplant into these sandwiches.
  7. Place again in the oven for about 10-15 additional minutes to finish cooking the eggplants and allowing the cheeses to melt and brown on top.
  8. Allow them to cool a bit before transferring to a plate to serve.

We had these eggplant sandwiches with a lovely rice made in the oven with spinach, mushrooms and nuts.

Eggplant Gratin

5 Aug

The other day I did a whole batch of fried eggplants and even though I loooove to have them with just a squirt of lemon on top, sometimes I want to change it up.

It had been a while since I had eggplant parmesan and by having these fried eggplants, making one would be half the time.  This recipe is actually a mixture of two recipes I had seen before – one from Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa and another one from Tyler Florence I had seen years ago.

This is the result of the combination…


EGGPLANT GRATIN – serves 2 people

About 6-8 slices of fried eggplant
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup of spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
½ cup of petite diced tomatoes
1tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Italian Seasonings
Kosher salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Italian shredded cheese blend


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix together the ricotta cheese and squeezed-dry spinach.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the petite tomatoes, vinegar, oil, Italian Seasonings, salt and pepper.  Mix well and set aside.
  4. In a shallow gratin dish, place a little of the tomato juice on the bottom.  Now place a layer of fried eggplant on the bottom.  Place a few tablespoons of the tomato mixture and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Now place the ricotta/spinach mixture in an even layer.  Place a few more tomatoes.  Cover with another layer of fried eggplants.  Place the rest of the tomatoes you have left.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and the Italian shredded cheeses.
  5. Place in oven for about 20-30 minutes for the tomatoes to cook a bit and the eggplant to reheat well.


This is a great combination between an eggplant lasagna and eggplant parmesan. .. It tastes great and it’s easy to do once the eggplants are already fried.  You can certainly assemble this any night of the week.  The breading on the eggplant will get soggy due to the tomato sauce… but the taste is so delicious you will not mind at all.

Eggplant Milanese

3 Jul

I have to be in the mood to eat eggplant…  I like it, but I have to be in the mood for it.  However, I am ALWAYS in the mood for fried eggplant.  It could be the Latin in me that gravitates to anything fried.  But that’s the truth…

Ever since my friend Tania returned from her first trip to Paraguay, she and I have both been in love with her fried eggplants.  She always saves me a batch every time she makes them at home. When she makes them at the yoga center, they’re the only thing on my plate.

She learned them from a woman in our yoga center there, in Coronel Oviedo in Paraguay. And on that side of the world, they call MILANESAS anything that is breaded and fried.  Talk to any Argentinean, Chilean, Uruguayan, etc. and they’ll call milanesa what I called growing up empanadas… and the most common thing to “empanar” was a chopped steak.  Now that we’re vegetarians, we need to “empanizar” something else… and these Eggplants Milanese are truly SOMETHING ELSE!!!



3 small eggplants, I like to pick the lightest eggplants possible = less seeds
3 tbs of tamari 
1 tbs ume plum vinegar
About 1 tbs  + 1 tsp of garlic and herbs seasoning, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
3 cups of cornstarch
¼ cup of milk
3 cups of quick-cooking oats, ground as finely as possible in a food processor
Canola Oil for frying


  1. Peel and slice the eggplants using a mandolin slicer.
  2. Place eggplant slices in a glass container and season with tamari sauce, vinegar, minced garlic and 1 tbs of the garlic and herbs seasoning.  I drizzle the tamari over the eggplant slices little by little using a measuring spoon and massage the slices to cover – like giving the eggplant some color.  It may seem like there’s not enough tamari to season, but the salt in it will allow the eggplants to purge and the end product will be a lot of water in the bottom of your glass container.
  3. Cover the container and marinate the eggplants in this mixture for at least 2 hours.
  4.  After the marinating time has elapsed, prepare a breading station using 3 containers, 2 larger and 1 smaller one.  In the first larger one place the cornstarch, in the second smaller hand place the milk and season with the 1tsp of remaining garlic and herbs seasoning. 
  5.  And in the third larger container, place the ground oatmeal.  Also, set a cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment paper to set the eggplants after breading.
  6. And using your right hand for the dry stuff and your left hand for the wet stuff (hey, I’m a righty, but you can switch if it works better for you), we start to bread…  take an eggplant with your right hand and place in cornstarch to coat.  With your left hand pick it up and dunk into seasoned milk.  Place it in the oatmeal dish with that same hand.  With your right hand, cover the eggplant with more oatmeal and pat the oatmeal so it sticks to the eggplant well.  After wards, press on the eggplant to make sure the oatmeal breading sticks well.  Place on the cookie sheet waiting for it to be fried.  Repeat the process until all eggplant slices have been breaded.

Here you have 3 options:

  • Store in plastic freezer bags for frying at a later time – you can store these in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for about 3 months.  Mine never last that long there.

To Store:

Place a piece of parchment or even wax paper in the plastic freezer bag. Place as many breaded eggplant slices as you can in a single layer, without any overlaps or touching.  Place another piece of paper and keep on stacking.  I can usually make three layers of eggplant per bag.  Store in fridge or freezer flat so the eggplants retain their shape.


  • Fry away to eat immediately – following we’ll show you plating and serving ideas for this
  • Fry away to eat in another dish tomorrow – I’ll share this in a later post we’ll call Eggplant Gratin…

For Frying: 

    1. Just take a small skillet with about ¼ inch of canola oil.  Bring to temperature for frying, which I usually measure by inserting the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and making sure there are bubbles around the spoon.
    2. Place a few slices of eggplant in and fry a few minutes on both sides until golden.  These eggplants are sliced so thin you don’t need to cook them for a long time.  If you fry them until they’re light brown, usually they’re be too cooked on the inside.  So err on the side of caution and not let it go too far.
    3. Take them out of the oil and place them onto a plate covered with paper towels to absorb all the excess oil.  Allow them to cool off a bit before serving.


I love serving these next to a nice garden salad with a few wedges of lime, or even a yellow lemon.  I learned to eat empanadas with lime or criollo lemons and to me they cut a bit some of the greasiness of the frying.  These are crispy, crunchy and kind of creamy inside.  They’re awesome…

I have also used them in sandwiches, in pastelones and shortly you’ll see my take on an Eggplant Gratin dish…  really tasty.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Sandwich

12 Sep

In my CSA box we’ve been receiving many eggplants and zucchini… why not combine them both in one of my favorite applications? A SANDWICH!!!

Super simple, super tasty and travels really well…

  Grilled Eggplant Zuch Sandwich - KFC


1 small Japanese or Italian eggplant
1 small zucchini or summer squash
2 oz of goat cheese, at room temperature works best
A handful of arugula lettuce – washed well and pat dry
Extra virgin Olive oil
Sea salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 whole-wheat whole grain demi baguette


  1. Preheat your grill – I use my George Foreman grill for this…
  2. Slice the eggplant and the zucchini in ¼ inch slices.  Brush with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Place on the grill for about 4-5 minutes to cook and get pretty grill marks.
  3. In the meantime, slice the baguette in top and bottom halves and toast in a toaster oven.  Slather both sides of bread with goat cheese.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper to season cheese.
  4. Remove the eggplant and zucchini slices from grill and let cool down a bit.  Place on bottom half of bread.  Add lettuce on top of grilled veggies.  Season lettuce with a bit of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.  Top with top half of bread.


Simple, yet very tasty and nutritious.   You could add some tomatoes or even some roasted red peppers or roasted piquillo peppers too.

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