Indian Rice and Vegetable Casserole

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October 2, 2012 | Issue 420

Spice Up Your Casserole

Indian Rice and Vegetable Casserole

Spiced rice dishes with vegetables, called Biryani, are popular casseroles in India. This recipe calls for brown basmati rice and rich layers of summer and fall vegetables that add extra fiber and protein. Hearty chunks of eggplant, zucchini, edamame and raisins are flavored with Indian favorites like turmeric, which is one of many spices being studied for its cancer-protective properties.

Makes 6 servings as main course (9 servings as a side dish).

Per serving(6 servings): 333 calories, 10 g fat (2 g sat fat), 56 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 6g fiber, 24 mg sodium.

  • 4 tsp. canola oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 cups Asian eggplant, in 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cups zucchini squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped (red or green)
  • 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame or lima beans
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins


  1. In medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons oil with 1 teaspoon butter. Add rice, mixing until it looks shiny. Add water, turmeric and salt to taste. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until rice is tender, about 40-50 minutes. There will be 3 cups cooked rice. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9 x 9-in. square pan or 2-quart round baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Spread almonds and cashews on separate baking sheets. Bake almonds for 5 minutes, remove from oven and spread on plate to cool. Bake cashews until golden, about 8 minutes. Add to plate with almonds, and set aside.
  4. Heat remaining oil and butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 4 minutes. Mix in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne, if using. Cook, stirring until onion pieces are coated and spices fragrant, about 1 minute. Add eggplant, squash and peppers, and cook, stirring, until vegetables look moist, 2 to 3 minutes. Add edamame or beans, tomato purée and sugar, cover and simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Spread half of cooked rice in a layer in baking pan. Cover rice with cooked vegetables. Mix nuts and raisins into remaining rice. Cover vegetables with rice mixture. Cover casserole with lid, or use foil.
  6. Bake casserole for 20 minutes, until heated through. Let stand 15 minutes and serve hot. Casserole also may be served lukewarm or at room temperature.

Grocery list

Canola oil
Unsalted butter
Brown basmati rice
Canola oil cooking spray
Cayenne pepper
Asian eggplant
Zucchini squash
Bell pepper
Edamame or lima beans
Tomato purée
Golden raisins

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