Eggplant Rice Dressing has served its purpose throughout the years as a delicious way to use up that bountiful late summer fruit. That's right, fruit!
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Just like a tomato, the eggplant is considered a fruit because it contains seeds and develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. Actually, there are many fruits that we have a habit of calling vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, and avocado.
Not only is the eggplant beautiful to behold, but it has many benefits. It's full of fiber and minerals and aids the body as an antioxidant. It's also a tasty meat substitute in dishes such as Eggplant Parmesan. Does this make it a fruitarian instead of a vegetarian meal? (Food for thought.)
Mama's Eggplant Rice Dressing
While using her regular rice dressing recipe, Mama would add cooked eggplant to simmer along with the roux, vegetables, and ground meat mixture just before mixing in the cooked rice. It was and still is a smart way to stretch the meat we had in the freezer and enjoy the plentiful eggplant harvest.
But before making the roux, the eggplant needs to be prepared either by oven roasting or boiling in salted water. The older the eggplant, the more of a chance it has of tasting bitter. For this reason, I cut around the seeds before boiling, or I scoop them out after roasting, especially if I buy them from an unknown source. You can skip the de-seeding process if you know you're using young eggplants. It's delicious either way.
The shells can be stuffed with the dressing and baked just before serving. I like leaving a layer of eggplant next to the skin to give it an extra eggplant flavor with every bite. Yummy!Print
4 medium eggplants
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, diced
1 cup bell pepper, any color and diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
½ pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning, or more
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
3 cus cooked rice, white or brown
Cut eggplants in half, rub olive oil on all sides and roast with the outer shell up in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes (after roasting remove as many seeds as possible) or peel and cut fresh eggplants around seeds into 1 inch cubes (yields 5 cups) and boil in water with 2 teaspoons of sea salt until tender. Keep shells to stuff with dressing.
Make a roux in a medium saucepan with oil and flour stirring these ingredients together over medium heat until it is a dark chocolate color.
Add onion, peppers, and garlic into the roux and cook them for 10 minutes or until onions become transparent.
Brown the ground meats together in a large pot and drain the oil.
Add the roux mixture to the meat and stir in the seasoning.
Pour the broth and water into the meat mixture then add the eggplant, stir then simmer for 30 minutes covered.
Stir in 3 cups of cooked rice and serve.
You may prefer stuffing the roasted eggplant shells and top them with breadcrumbs then bake at 350 degrees until breadcrumbs are toasted.
Another way is to pour the dressing into a casserole dish and cover with breadcrumbs and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
The casserole dish can be frozen and baked later.
The dressing mix can be frozen before adding the rice then defrost, heat through, add rice, and serve.
The eggplant will be less noticeable if it's cut into smaller pieces before cooking.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Main or Side Dish
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Cajun
- Serving Size: ¾ cup
Keywords: eggplant rice dressing
This is my favorite rice dressing because the eggplant brings in a moist, flavorful texture and mellows out that strong roux taste. It's so satisfying as a main or side dish. I hope you give it a try and let me know how it turns out. I love hearing from you!
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