This vegetarian entrée will be a hit with meat-eating partygoers since it’s stuffed with lots of flavorful ingredients including walnuts, two kinds of cheese and roasted vegetables. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet on the stovetop to bring out their nutty flavor. Add leftovers of the loaf to chili, or use slices to make “mock meatloaf” sandwiches.
1 cup brown and wild rice blend (such as Lundberg)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 bay leaf
11/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 slices whole-grain bread
11/2 cups chopped red and yellow bell pepper
11/2 cups chopped eggplant
1 cup chopped yellow or white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup 1-percent reduced-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
1. Combine rice, 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Tear bread and place into a mini food chopper or blender. Pulse until it forms small breadcrumbs.
3. Add peppers and eggplant to a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; place on nonstick baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.
4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for four to five minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook one minute. Remove from heat and add to rice. Stir in breadcrumbs, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, eggplant, nuts, cheeses, parsley and pepper.
5. Reserve 1/2 cup of vegetable mixture. Stir remaining vegetables into rice mixture and carefully fold in eggs; pat mixture into an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan coated with a small amount of olive oil. Arrange reserved 1/2 cup of vegetables across the top of loaf and press down gently with fingers to make them stick. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaf is firm. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 to15 minutes before slicing. Cut into 12 slices and serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 12 servings (1 slice)