Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Feta

This is a nice, fresh alternative to lasagna.  The orzo and the cheese melt together with the tomato flavors, and the lemon zest adds a nice kick.  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Yotam Ottolenghi.



  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • olive oil for frying
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250 g orzo
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1.75 c vegetable stock
  • 1.5 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • grated zest of 1 lemon (or, 1 T chopped preserved lemon)
  • 150 g feta
  • 1 c grated parmesan
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into thin slices


  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat 1/3 c oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook aubergine, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  3. In a separate pan, heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat, and saute carrot, celery, and onion for 10 -15 minutes, until soft and golden.
  4. Add garlic and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  5. Stir in orzo and tomato paste, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat, and stir in stock, lemon zest, feta, 1/2 c parmesan, and 1 t salt – combine well.
  7. Transfer to an oven proof dish, arrange tomatoes on top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c parmesan.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, covered, and then an additional 20 minutes uncovered – remove from oven when all of the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is fully cooked.