We are not vegetarian in this household, but, we do like to eat veggie meals every once in a while! My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and mother-in-law are vegetarians, so it does mean I have to come up with new and exciting dishes for when they visit us for a meal.
There is this preconceived notion that vegetarian food is bland, boring and flavourless and that you need meat to somehow have a tasty meal. I beg to differ! Some of my favourite recipes are vegan and vegetarian, and I’ve got quite an extensive index of veggie recipes here on my blog!
I’m sharing one of my family’s favourite vegetarian recipe which is not only easy to prepare, but is all cooked in one pan (meaning minimal washing up!), can easily be adapted with your favourite vegetables, and can be eaten both hot and cold! It’s a great side dish, and is a very tasty meal in itself. I often make it as a side at barbecues, sometimes I make it for dinner or cold as lunch the next day. It’s also a fab dish if you’re going to a ‘pot luck’ party, which I’ve done at family gatherings, when they’re not at our house!!
So, without further ado, let me teach you how to make my Oven Baked Vegetable + Rice Salad!
I’ve got more Rice Salad Recipes for you to enjoy – right click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!
As I said, you can use whatever vegetables you like in this dish, but I usually use chopped bell peppers, aubergine, red onion, courgettes, mushrooms and whole cherry tomatoes – they add a nice pop of flavour when you eat this dish. For seasoning there is crushed garlic, dried mint and oregano, ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon, lemon juice, as well as salt and freshly ground black pepper. This combination of herbs and spices gives it a real Middle Eastern flavour.
A few tablespoons of olive oil, and a can (or two) of tinned chopped tomatoes goes into the veggies and then I mix everything together with my hands to get a nice distribution of flavours.
I cook both the vegetables and the rice in the same pan…weird huh?! Trust me – it works! I make a gap in the middle of the pan by pushing the veg out to the side a bit and pour the rice into the ‘hole’ I’ve made. I then fill up the now empty tomato can with water and stir in some tomato paste, this concoction gets poured over the rice, and I give it a little mix with my finger a spoon.
The tray then gets covered with foil and put in a hot oven – around 200C/gas 6 for half an hour or so.
After half an hour, I take the dish out of the oven and stir everything around before re-covering and putting back in the oven for another half an hour.
An hour is usually more than enough time to cook this through, but of course, check to make sure the rice is tender!
You can then serve as is, or if you like, stir in some flaked almonds and sultanas to give a sweet twist to this flavourful savoury dish.I sometimes add a can of chickpeas to the mix whilst it is cooking in the oven, and some fresh herbs – like parsley and/or coriander are a great addition stirred through as you are about to serve. The beauty of this dish is you can really customise it to your tastes!
I promise you, this dish will be loved by all – veggies and carnivores alike – there is so much flavour and so many bright colours that you can’t help but want to gobble up a bowlful!
- 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 small aubergine, cut into small pieces
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 2 medium courgettes, halved lengthways and sliced
- 6 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 12 cherry tomatoes, whole
- 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 tbsps olive oil
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes - don't throw away the can yet!
- juice of 1 lemon
- 200g basmati rice
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- handful of flaked almonds (optional, to serve)
- handful of sultanas (optional, to serve)
- fresh parsley or coriander, chopped (optional, to serve)
- Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6.
- Place all of the chopped vegetables into a large roasting tray.
- Add the crushed garlic, olive oil, herbs, spices, salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice then mix everything together to distribute all the ingredients.
- Make a parting in the middle of the pan, by pushing the vegetables out to the sides a bit and pour the rice into the gap.
- Place the tomato puree into the empty and fill up with water - stir to combine and then pour this over the rice, mix gently to incorporate the water and rice but keep it in the middle of the tray!
- Cover with foil and place into the oven for half an hour.
- Remove from the oven and mix all the rice and vegetables together.
- Re-cover the tray and put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes.
- After the hour is done, check to see if the rice is cooked, if it needs longer, do it in 5-10 minute batches.
- When the rice and vegetables are tender you can either serve it hot from the oven, or allow it to cool to room temperature.
- An optional extra is to stir through some flaked almonds and/or sultanas. Fresh herbs like parsley or coriander also add another great dimension!