Spicy Rice & Quinoa Bake with Layered Eggplant & Cheezy Topping

The aroma, texture and color of this dish are really quite astounding. Serve with a mixture of different lettuces, butter lettuce, rocket and such like – serve the salad with an olive oil and cider vinegar dressing, with a drizzle of agave in it.  Oh what delight awaits !

Note : This also works well with mushroom slices – feel free to use these instead of eggplant.

Serves 4


  • olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant (aubergine), cut lengthways
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1½ cups (10 oz) short grain rice (for a healthy recipe use short grain brown rice)  (pre-cooked, boiled, drained and set aside)
  • ½ cup (3 oz) quinoa, washed and precooked according to packet directions
  • 10 balls (350 g) frozen spinach (thaw first), or ½ kg fresh washed spinach
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp garlic granules
  • 12 spicy green olives,  pitted and chopped (I used the salty ones with chilli and garlic)
  • salt to taste


  • ½ pt (235 mL) vegan milk (I used cashew milk)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp grated vegan cheese
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup (1¼ oz) sunflower seeds
  • paprika
  • olive oil for drizzling


1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

2. Pour into a small pan, and heat gently, whilst constantly stirring until the mixture has thickened into a rich thick white sauce.


1. Fry the aubergine slices on both sides until golden. Then, use kitchen towel to absorb any excess grease, and set aside.

2. Fry your spices for a minute or two in a large non-stick saucepan, stirring them whilst you do so.

3. Add your tomato paste, and continue to stir.

4. Spoon in your rice and quinoa, and mix well to enable them to pick up the flavors and aroma of the spices. Continue to mix for a few more minutes

5. Add the spinach and lemon zest, then lower the heat to the lowest setting, and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes or so.

6. Add the chopped olives, mix again for a further minute or so, and take off the heat.

7. Slightly grease an oven dish – the one I used was around 11 x 5 inches.  8. Place half of the eggplant slices at the bottom of the dish.

9. Spoon in the spiced rice and quinoa mixture.

10. Finish by covering with the rest of the eggplant slices.

11. Pour the cheezy sauce on top, and sprinkle on the sunflower seeds.

12. Dust the centre of the dish with paprika, and drizzle on the olive oil.

13. Place in a preheated 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden in colour.

14. When ready, remove from oven, and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting the portions.

All recipes, content & design © Miriam Sorrell www.mouthwateringvegan.com 2010
These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave a constructive comment !



  1. This looks great. A Total Dish too- u only need a Small Salad to Serve with.Its a mix of the Greek Mousaka and Spanagorizo,(Spinach Rice).Will definitely Try it. Thx u my Dear.. xxx

  2. yum!!! going to make this today!

  3. Angela Hi there and welcome here. Many thanks for your very interesting comment – indeed my Greek roots must have been at work here when I created this dish on a subconscious level – I do hope you enjoy it, make it and come back with your feedback. Very best wishes to you Angela !

  4. Ani dear Hi there and welcome here – i very much look forward to your feedback on this dish. Best wishes to you !!!

  5. looks great! I’m always happy when I read about new ways to prepare quinoa. Will try to make this this week.

  6. This looks wonderful–can’t wait to try!

  7. Mirjam Hi there – hope you enjoy this and let me know what you think, as and when !

  8. Joan Hi there and welcome here. Thanks for dropping by and I look forward to your feedback on this dish. Cheers to you !

  9. Hi Miriam! This might be a stupid question but, just to double-check, when you refer to the cups of rice or quinoa you mean that you’ve measured them first and then cooked them, or that’s the measurement after being cooked? Thanks so much for so many inspiring recipes, I think I’ll try this one tonight!

  10. Christina Hi there and welcome here. Thanks for dropping by here with your comment. In answer to your question – the rice and quinoa measurements are before they are cooked – they will bulk up (as you probably suspected) once cooked and amount to more in terms of quantity when ready, but measure those amounts of uncooked rice and quinoa, then cook them and continue to follow the recipe. Do hope you enjoy it and let me know. Very best to you !

  11. Made it this evening, and it definitely is a keeper! Think I’ll use a little less of the zest next time, and maybe spicen it up just a little (but that’s just because I like it that way), but otherwise it was just perfect.

  12. Mirjam Hi there and glad you both enjoyed this and that it’s a keeper in your culinary repertoire. Yes, it can be spiced up to suit your buds, there are no strict rules, and from time to time, I do the same – I love spices. I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog, meantime all the best and cheers to you !

  13. Hi Miriam, I made it tonight (with mushies instead of eggplant). It’s an absolute winner! Thank you so much for your amazing recipes. xxx

  14. Neva Hi there and welcome here. Thanks so much for dropping by here with your comment, I am delighted that you have enjoyed this recipe so thoroughly, how wonderful and thanks for your compliments too ! Cheers to you !

  15. Made this and it was yyyuummmyyyyyy 🙂

  16. Hi Jos and welcome here. Many thanks for dropping by with your comment which sounds like a success – glad you enjoyed it. Look forward to your future comments on my blog. All the best wishes to you !

  17. I made this tonight with mushrooms not eggplants and lime instead of lemon as that’s what was on hand and Im totally stuffed! Mind you I had twice as much dinner than id normally have. It was to die for,just divine,your the best Miriam!

  18. Hi Miriam, I have this in the oven at the moment! Thought i’d comment whilst I wait for it to cook! (will comment again with the verdict once I’ve eaten it!) Thought I’d share a few constructive comments if that’s ok!
    I used mushrooms instead of aubergine (as shop had sold out!) but wasn’t sure which to buy? I opted for large flat mushrooms, 4 of them. Maybe you could suggest the best mushrooms to use and how many?
    Also when making the sauce it says to add all the ingredients to the bowl, but after reading further down I noticed that the sunflower seeds and paprika were to be added at the end? (not that I suppose it would matter to much if they were added early!)
    And I couldn’t see when to add the garlic granules? Should they have been fried with the spices? (i just stirred them in the rice mix when I remembered!)

    A few other subs I did were: omitted the olives (as I don’t like olives!) and I didn’t have any vegan cheese suitable for grating, so I used a tablespoon of toffuti cream cheese instead!! Wonder how it will turn out…!
    Will update after dinner 🙂

  19. Hi there Tatianna and welcome here. Sounds like you really enjoyed the dish – mushrooms are a good substitute for eggplant, whether one does not have it at home or simply prefers mushrooms, it will work wonderfully just the same (I think I said as much on the post) – as regards lime or lemon it’s really a much for much – both are awesome. I am glad you found it ‘to-die-for’ – thanks for your wonderful comment and I look forward to your future comments on my blog. Cheers to you !

  20. I’m making this tonight! By some miracle I have all the ingredients on hand.

  21. Hi there Holley and thanks for dropping by here with your comment. Let me know how it goes and best to you !

  22. who needs beef, when u have Eggplant from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes. The vegan lifestyle is Delicious & nutritious!

  23. Jaimee Hi there and thanks so much for your feedback on this recipe – so glad you have tried it and thanks for your compliment, much appreciated ! Cheers !

  24. Ok so tonight this is what’s on the menu. It will be my first attempt. I couldn’t get Redwood Edam Cheese or the Mozarella (vegan online were out of stock) so I got the tasty cheddar option. Hope it melts. Anyway am really looking forward to trying this because am still looking for a vegan dinner party main. Remember my soup will be broccoli coconut and dessert is (at this stage anyway, a complete no brainer) the incomparable chocolate cheesecake. Having said that though am going to try that amazing looking lemon lime and coconut cake on the weekend, we have a picnic to go to so thought I would give this amazing looking cake a first attempt. Oh an I also want to try the lemon cheesecake. Oh there is just too much here Miriam – you are pure genius – thank you so much. I’ll let you know how everything turns out.
    P.S. Do you think that the cheddar will melt? Oh never mind – I’m going to find out for myself very soon. Until next time 🙂 <3

  25. Oh, that <3 was supposed to turn out like a heart ❤. there you go 🙂

  26. Barbara thanks for your comment and hope all has turned out well. Do let me know if so and Very Best to You !!! (I look forward to your future comments on my blog).

  27. Thanks Barbara, very kind of you !

  28. Made this and shared with my vegetarian group–I LOVE quinoa and am always looking for new ways to prepare it…quinoa paired with the eggplant, and the salty, crunchiness of the sunflower seeds was a perfect combo! Thanks for creating this dish, this one is getting bookmarked for sure! 😀

  29. Sara Hi there and thanks for dropping by here with your comment. Here is the link to my other quinoa recipe that might interest you http://www.mouthwateringvegan.com/2011/04/05/delicious-red-bean-nut-burgers/ it’s delicious too ! Look forward to your future comments on my blog. Cheers in the meantime !

  30. This recipe looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it – I’m new to vegan life, so thanks so much for sharing! 😀

  31. Bethany Hi there and welcome here. Good luck with your new vegan life – hopefully my recipes will assist in the process and congratulations for choosing to be vegan ! I look forward to your future comments on my blog and all the very best wishes to you. Cheers !

  32. This looks positively divine! Thanks for sharing the recipe – will make it tomorrow to receive my vegan daughter who is coming back home after a long time!

  33. Mirian Hi there again and thanks for your compliments. I do hope you and your daughter enjoy this dish, I shall look forward to your comments on my blog about it and others too I hope. A green salad will go down very well with this too Mirian. Very best wishes to you and hope you have a super evening with your daughter ! Cheers !

  34. Hi Miriam,
    This recipe looks really tasty! I’m just wondering if you have tried it with brown rice? Just to make it even more healthy?

  35. Hi there Cindy, yes we make it with short grain brown rice most of the time !

  36. I made this for dinner the other night and we loved it! I did not add the caraway seeds (I don’t like them) and I added a bit more cheese. It was soooo yummy! My husband said it was a keeper! We ate it for dinner the next night too! Thank you for all of the delicious recipes 🙂

  37. Hi there Beth and welcome here. I am delighted that this dish was a success, and kudos to you for making it ! (not everybody is a lover of caraway seeds, so no worries there). I look forward to your future comments on my blog and best wishes your way in the meantime !

  38. This recipe will be tried very soon!!!

  39. Hi Michelle do let me know how it goes as and when. Cheers !

  40. I made this rice & quinoa dish for brunch earlier today. It was absolutely delicious. The cheese sauce topping and crunchiness of the sunflower seeds completed this dish. I layered fried mushrooms instead of the eggplant as I was already making the Moroccan style pizza. My lactose-intolerant father and almost world renowned carnivore devoured every single bite. The lemon, the spinach, the olives, all of the ingredients combined to make this dish a winner crowd pleaser! Thank you Miriam for contributing to an outstanding Thanksgiving brunch!

  41. Elizabeth dear Hi there and welcome here. Thank you so much for making the time to give me feedback on several of my recipes that you so kindly prepared for your guests. I am delighted that all has gone very well and most of all that your dad, a lactose-intolerant and world renowned carnivore devoured every single bite, that really is a super result both for yourself and me too – a huge KUDOS goes to you for lovingly preparing all this food, and a lucky dad you have indeed for being presented with such delights and for a change no meat on his plate, but a healthy and compassionate meal full of colours, flavours and appetizing aromas. I agree with you about the lemon, spinach and olives ! Stay tuned for more festive recipes as I post up weekly. I very much look forward to your future comments and feedback here on my blog. Best wishes your way !

  42. just had this come up in a post on my facebook page, I love quinoa and spinach, can’t wait to try this one out

  43. Hi there Karen and welcome here. Do try it and let me know how it goes as and when. Best wishes your way in the meantime.

  44. Hi Miriam,

    I made this dish the other night and it was delicious! However, my “cheese” sauce didn’t coat the top of the eggplant as yours seemed to do in the picture above. Instead it soaked right through the rice and quinoa (still delicious). Any suggestions on why it may not have coated on the top and what I can do next time? Thanks!

  45. Hi Miriam, I am completely new to vegan. If you can recommend vegan cheeses that melt that are avialbale in Canada that wuld be great. Can you substitute coriander seeds for coriander powder? Also, would regular olives work rather than spicy?

  46. Wow, this looks divine, completely suited to my taste buds 🙂 I’m just wondering though Miriam, what could I replace the vegan cheese with? I don’t live in a country where it is available, though I do have plenty of coconuts… maybe I could use fresh coconut cream made really thick? Thanks in advance!

  47. Sian Hi there and thanks for dropping by here with your comment. Can you get hold of nutritional yeast ? If so in the near future you can make your own cheese – my cheese recipes will be published in my upcoming book, they are easy to make and will have more out elsewhere. For more info join my new newsletter, how ? Just say the word and I will add you. Meantime, don’t use coconut cream for this it’s not the right ingredient, so I wouldn’t advise it. Soak a cup of raw cashew nuts, then drain and with 1 cup of water process until totally smooth, add a little vegetable stock to this and if you have nutritional yeast use 2 tablespoons of it and mix it in with this, if not use half a teaspoon of miso or vegetable cube stock and process it with it and a few drops of lemon – use that instead for the topping and then add the seeds I recommend. Best wishes your way and enjoy !

  48. Karen Hi there and welcome here. Congratulations and a huge Kudos to you for going vegan. My site will help you. You can purchase Daiya Cheese from Canada – google it and you’ll be fine. Most brands are not that great – for this reason I have spent the best part of 18 months creating my own, that melts and tastes better than all the commercially branded makes on the market, which either don’t melt or don’t taste quite ‘cheesy’ enough, in fact some don’t taste cheesy at all. Now, my own cheeses will be published by Random House’s imprint Appetite (funnily enough in Canada), in my upcoming book of recipes (150 vegan recipes where I also include a handful of cheese ones). Meantime, feel free to join my new monthly newsletter where I will have exclusive recipes and info for my members. How do you do this ? Just by saying yes, and I will add you to my list – bear with me as it will be a few weeks from now due to the overwhelming response. As you are new here, I just wanted to fill you in with this basic info. In answer to the rest of your query on your comment the answer is yes to both your questions – for additional ‘spicing it up’ add some chilli powder. I look forward to your feedback on this as well as your future comments on my blog. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  49. Hi there Victoria, and thanks for dropping by here. I am glad you enjoyed the taste. Now, with regards to the texture cheese sauce, it’s simple, all you need to do is thicken it a little more so that it sits rather than seeps through the top – for that, just add more cornstarch, another half tablespoon should do the job and be sure that the heat is on the lowest setting otherwise it may be an added factor ! Best your way !

  50. Thanks Miriam! Yes I have nutritional yeast and miso as well – and I have recently found somewhere on island that sells raw cashews! (frightfully expensive, but worth it!) I will be trying this very soon and will let you know how it goes! Thank you so much! And yes please add me to the newsletter 🙂 Best wishes

  51. You have just been added and thanks, I am delighted to hear you can get hold of the basics. 🙂

  52. Hi Miriam,
    I am new to your blog and hoped you could add me to your newsletter please.
    So keen to learn more from you. I have lots to learn!
    Hope you have a great week! 🙂
    Take care

  53. Diana dear you have just been added to our new monthly newsletter – bear with us as the response for this has been overwhelming, but you will hear from us in a few weeks time ! Best Wishes your way in the meantime and hope you have had a look at my Home page for my recent Festive Recipes. Enjoy ! 🙂

  54. Hi Miriam! I made this dish today and it was wonderful! I didn’t use all the rice and I didn’t have caraway seeds so I used cumin instead. The cheesey topping (I used blended cashews) was amazing – I couldn’t believe it came out just like the topping on a ‘regular’ lasagne! Delicious 🙂 I intended to ask you if the remainder could be frozen but my boyfriend just told me that it will all be gone by tonight!!

  55. I made this today for Yuletide weekend for my daughter & I. It looks really delicious! I’m freezing and reheating it when we have it for dinner, and pairing it with a green salad.

  56. Hi there Penthesilea, Sounds great ! Do let me know what you think as and when. Best wishes and enjoy !

  57. Sian Hi there and welcome here. Sounds like a win-win situation to me – well done for making this and so glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed it ! This dish keeps well in the fridge for 3 days, so no worries on that front. Hope you find something festive from my homepage for the holidays and I look forward to your future comments on my blog. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  58. This was delicious. I made in for my mother and I for dinner. I will add this to my list of things to make again! It is my idea of vegan comfort food for this cold winter weather. And… leftovers tonight! My mother loved it too!

  59. We made this last week and it was AMAZING! We are planning on making it for Christmas dinner – my family is a bunch of non-vegans, but I am sure it will be a big hit! 🙂

  60. Amanda Hi there and welcome here. Thanks for the feedback and I look forward to your feedback once again post Christmas once you have served it up and seen the feedback for yourself at table from your non-vegan guests (always very interesting) ! 🙂

  61. Jennifer Hi there and welcome here. How wonderful to hear from you with your feedback ! an old rounded success story. So happy Your mother loved it too ! I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog and send best wishes your way to you and your loved ones too ! P.S. Let me know if you wish to be added to our new monthly newsletter, if so just say the word. Cheers !

  62. Just made this…..still in the oven……mouth is watering….

  63. Kari Hi there and thanks for dropping by here – hope it went down well, enjoy !

  64. Hi Miriam i made this dish yesterday for Christmas dinner for our vegan guests. It went down a treat and all plates were empty, which is always a good sign. regards. Teresa

  65. What spectacular news dear Teresa, how wonderful – a clear win win success and kudos to you for preparing this and sharing it. Empty plates, well, they speak for themselves. Bravo and I look forward to your future comments on my blog. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  66. Made this yesterday and it was fantastic!
    A couple of variations as I didn’t want it spicy and didn’t have some of the other spices. Used 1 rounded teaspoon of ginger and 3/4 teaspoon of curry instead.
    And – as I still had some in the fridge that needed using, added some sun dried tomatoes and red pesto instead of the tomato paste. Yum! Thanks for your great recipes!

  67. Eliza Hi there and welcome here. Your adjustments are minimal and I am sure it worked out well from what you have said. Best wishes your way !

  68. Made this because it looks so good in the photo. Was slightly worried half way through as I wasn’t too happy with the topping, but when it was all put together I was very pleasantly surprised. Really lovely. I think the sunflower seeds really added a great flavour and texture to the top. Thanks again Miriam for another great recipe.

  69. Hi there Sharron, I have to agree with you regarding the assembling of this dish, but the end result works, and that’s the bottom line. So glad you enjoyed it ! 🙂

  70. First I want to say that I just got your cookbook and I LOVE IT!!!!! Every recipe is easy to make and doesn’t use exotic ingredients that I can get in my small town of

  71. I LOVE your cookbook! The recipes are so easy and the best part is ingredients are pretty easy to get in my small town of 4000 people. BONUS!!

    I made this, so good! With the leftovers I cooked up some portabella mushrooms in coconut oil, added some more “cheese” made from the Happy Milk, and used the casserole to stuff a tortilla wrap. Yummy.

  72. That’s so awesome dear Leya, I am so glad you enjoyed this and my book, and may it bring you many years of happy eating and pleasure. Be sure to double the quantity of agar powder in the recipe for the cheddars as the revised recipes did not reach my publishers in time, so pencil that in. Since you love my cookbook, could I ask that you drop an amazon customer review for me if you can spare a few minutes for me – the reviews mean the world to me. Best and drop by again here with your comments and feedback ! 🙂

  73. Awesome Leya, thank you for letting me know !!! 🙂

  74. Can rice flour or another flour be used in place of the corn starch?

  75. Hi Miriam,

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. I live in South Africa where Vegan cheese is not available. Is it possible to make it relatively easily oneself with soya or another plant milk?


  76. Corinna Hi there and welcome here. I heard that the brand Redwood is sold in South Africa, but not in every store obviously. Here is a very cheesy sauce that I created that can be used for cooking purposes, it will save you the worry for basic cheese sauces http://www.mouthwateringvegan.com/2012/11/13/golden-cheddar’d-potatoes/ . Many of the cheeses on the market are not really palatable, so I make my own, from Mozzarella to mature cheddar, fondues as well as feta cheese – they are published in my recent new book by Random House, here are the links for you to see – the book also has a host of other recipes for all occasions, by all means browse the links. Enjoy and let me know how things go. Best wishes your way in the meantime ! 🙂

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0449015653?ie=UTF8&creativeASIN=0449015653&linkCode=xm2&tag=mouthwvegan02-20 or Amazon UK :

  77. Erica Hi there, tapioca flour would be ideal for this if you can get hold of it ! If not you may use arrow root. Hope you enjoy it and let me know how it goes as and when ! 🙂

  78. Apologies for the delay in answering Jen this comment but this message went into my ‘others folder’ hope you have made and enjoyed this recipe. 🙂 And look forward to your future comments on my blog ! 🙂

  79. Hi Miriam, thank you for this amazing recipe. I made it a few weeks ago, and served with a fresh chunky tomato sauce and broccoli. The whole family loved it. Today I am making it for a Wellbeing Retreat i’m running…… I know ti will go down a treat! Thank you! xx

  80. Dear Tonja you are totally welcome and so glad you are making and sharing this with others too ! 🙂

  81. Hi Miriam,
    I have your book and cooked that recipe today, I’m no way a vegan but love to cook vegetarian dishes, so I don’t have all the ingredients and made some substitutes, I use zucchini, no eggplant, I did not have nutrition yeast and I did not use olives and I use real cheddar, the rest was the same as in your book. I can tell it was good and healthy but has lack of flavor for my taste. Would you suggest what other spices I can use to enhance flavor and not ruin the dish. Thank you and I’m looking forward to cook out your recopies.

  82. Hi Irene and thanks for dropping by. I suggest you get around 2 cups of finely chopped mushrooms, fry them in plenty of garlic and add more salt to the dish – and add them to your rice. Remember, the likes of olives are packed with flavour, you could also add a handful of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes. Hope you enjoy many other recipes from my book and blog. My forthcoming book entitled YASOU is now up for pre-ordering, check it out on amazon – the recipes there are super flavoresome and I have a feeling you will have a super time in the kitchen preparing and a delightful culinary experience. Each recipe has it’s own picture too ! Enjoy ! 🙂

  83. Hi Miriam,

    Thank you so much for suggestions and prompt reply, I’m going to try it very soon. I already noticed you have another book coming and it’s on top on my list.
    Love you recipes and looking forward to see you new book. Wish you the best.

  84. Thanks Irene and hope you also enjoy my upcoming book entitled ‘Yasou’! 🙂


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