Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Hands-on Time
45 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 15 Mins
Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

The walnuts in this gratin offer a crunchy contrast to the roasted eggplant, zucchini and cheesy rice mixture, while the splash of half-and-half adds creamy richness. The brown rice mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated. When ready to prepare, bring to room temperature, spoon into the baking dish, and proceed as directed at the end of step 5.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step 3

Combine eggplant, zucchini, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl; toss to combine. Place eggplant mixture evenly on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Place vegetables in a large bowl.

Step 4

Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

Step 5

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; cook for 12 minutes or until tender. Add onion mixture to eggplant mixture. Add cooked rice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup cheese, and the next 3 ingredients (through eggs), and stir well to combine. Spoon rice mixture into an 11 x 7–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil, and bake at 375° for 15 minutes.

Step 6

Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add breadcrumbs, and cook for 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 cup cheese, walnuts, and parsley.

Step 7

Remove foil from rice mixture. Top evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and topping is browned.

Step 8

Wine Match: Pick a smooth, midweight red like Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne, Piedmont, Italy, 2009 ($16). With its vibrant fruit and acidity, this soft-tannin wine stands up to the rich cheese without overpowering the tender veggies. --Scott Jones

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Ratings & Reviews

nmchilecat's Review

February 26, 2012
We did not care for this too much. It was very dry and even with a whole cup of expensive cheese, it was pretty much flavorless. As a vegetarian meal goes, I guess it's nutritious, but nutritious doesn't have to mean tasteless. We will not make again.

portland's Review

December 30, 2013
very disappointed with this dish...dry and bland. liked all the ingredients, just not together.

labisson's Review

March 08, 2013

constellates's Review

February 29, 2012
It was pretty good. The onions and garlic give it just enough aroma to be interesting. In the future I would slice the eggplant in the recipe thinner than 1 inch cubes. Maybe 1/2. Also, I used panko since I had it on hand, and light soymilk instead of half and half ... turned out fine. Since I dine alone and am on a severely calorie-restricted diet, I didn't cook anything with it, and one serving was enough to fill me up. I'll be making this again, though. Might add some spinach next time. Also, the walnuts are awesome. This is the first recipe I've made from my first issue of Cooking Light, and I'm definitely looking forward to making more!

Breezycookin's Review

February 20, 2012

WendyReece's Review

November 12, 2012
We are trying to eat healthier. I am not sure eggplant will be on our favorite foods list, but the zucchini, brown rice and breadcrumbs tasted good!

helomaa's Review

August 07, 2013

DanaSam's Review

July 15, 2012
This is a great side and keeps for a few nights (only 2 of us). Great flavors and textures...I love the nutty bite.

kdbarton28's Review

April 11, 2012
The flavor of this dish is ok and the texture is really dry. I think subbing mozzerella for the hard cheese might make it a little creamier. The main reason I will not make this dish again is the amount of time and effort it requires- too much. I was really bummed that I ended up with an overflowing sink full of dirty dishes as well. (I don't have a dishwasher so all the dirty dishes were big pain in the you-know-where.)

LowryLindsay's Review

February 29, 2012
Even with adding more herbs than called for in this recipe, I found this recipe rather bland and lackluster. I like the concept, but it just fell short. I tasted it before cooking and added in some cinnamon and some fresh thyme--strange combination, I know, but it worked well. The recipe was, overall, rather dry. I definitely agree on the 1/2 inch cubes instead of the 1 inch cubes. Unless the picture is taken with a giant spoon and giant rice grains, it looks like those were more 1/2 inch or even 1/4 inch dice vegetables. A squirt of hot sauce (Cholula) on the leftovers the next day improved this dish considerably, but it was still rather dry and bland.