Sautéed eggplant and bell peppers with simple marinara sauce and served over brown rice – a quick and healthy vegetarian dinner. Full of flavour and affordable too. This eggplant marinara was delish!
I love eggplant and am completely puzzled why many people don’t. It’s highly underrated vegetable in America. Its texture makes a great substitute for meat. Once cooked, it develops tender texture and complex rich flavour. In my Ukrainian opinion, it tastes best with tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs.:)
I asked my Canadian friends why they don’t eat eggplant. Majority said they don’t know how to cook it. It’s easier than they think. There are so many ways to cook eggplant besides making Eggplant Parmigiana, trust me.
My favourite way is to incorporate eggplant in skillets. Many online sources recommend salting or peeling the eggplant before cooking to remove bitterness and add softness. I don’t do any of that because my mom and grandma never did, and I don’t find it necessary. What is important to know is that eggplant has high absorbing qualities, so frying it in oil is not a good idea. When buying, choose firm eggplant and use within a few days.
This eggplant marinara skillet comes together in minutes and is super versatile. I quickly sauteed eggplant and bell peppers on high heat for that extra flavour. Then poured marinara sauce on top (you can make your own or use jarred) and cooked for 25 minutes. My brown rice was simmering in a pot, in the meanwhile. This is so simple!
Feel free to add extra protein like chicken, tofu, chickpeas, beans or even shrimp. If adding raw meat/shellfish the sauce will be thinner. You can whisk in a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot powder at the end. Cheese is completely optional, looks nice though, right?!
And if you are wondering whether you can serve this skillet with pasta, the answer is “yes”. This dish resembles of an Italian but I just love skillets with rice, especially all that sauce over rice. Feel free to use any whole grain or gluten free pasta.
The skillet keeps well refrigerated for up to 5 days. Make sure to store separately from rice. You could also freeze the leftovers, even prepared as a meal in separate containers for an easy grab-and-go lunches. Grab it from a freezer on the way to work, let sit on a counter and by lunch time you have a healthy homemade meal. Enjoy!
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into quarters
- 4 large bell peppers, sliced into rounds
- 4 medium tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1/3 cup part skim mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)
- 1/2 cup parsley or basil, chopped (for garnish)
- Brown rice, cooked as per package instructions (I used long grain)
- 14 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp basil, dried
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp hot pepper flakes
- Cook rice as per package instructions.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk Marinara Sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Preheat large deep skillet on medium high heat and add olive oil, eggplant, bell peppers and tomatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sauce, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 25 minutes. Serve hot over brown rice, toppped with cheese (if desired) and fresh parsley or basil.
Feel free to add extra protein like chicken, tofu, chickpeas, beans or even shrimp. If adding raw meat/shellfish the sauce will be thinner. You can whisk in a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot powder at the end.
I have included nutritional info separately, so you can build your meal.
Nutritional Info (Eggplant & Pepper Marinara)
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving = 1 + 1/3 cups:
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 350.7 mg
Total Carbs: 17.3 g
Sugars: 7.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.8 g
Protein: 3.2 g
WW Points+: 2
Nutritional Info (Long Grain Brown Rice, cooked)
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Amount Per Serving = 0.5 cup:
Total Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.9 mg
Total Carbs: 22.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 2.5 g
WW Points+: 3