Harissa baked eggplant with spiced Low GI White Rice Pilaf

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

Moving into these cooler months means it’s time to start cooking really delicious dishes that warm your body, sustain your energy by including ingredients with quality nutrition. I’m going to help you tick that box with my Harissa Baked Eggplant with a Spiced White Rice Pilaf. It’s impressive without fuss and full of flavour.

The beauty of a pilaf is that it essentially cooks itself (win!). I’ve used a SunRice Low GI White Rice in mine because I love how it picks up the flavour of the herbs and spices. It tastes light, warming but wholesome all in one and being a Low GI, long grain, white rice keeps your tummy fuller and your energy charging for longer than a standard grain.

Topped with a simple yoghurt, dressing, pinenuts, lemon and herbs I’ve no doubt this one is going to surprise you and be on your menu pretty frequently in no time at all.


Serves 4

Gluten free : Dairy free (opt) : Veg 


Harissa eggplant:

¼ cup (65ml) extra virgin olive oil 

2 large (500-600g) eggplant, sliced into 8ths 

½ tbsp dried harissa spice 

2 tsp ground cumin 

½ tsp ground cinnamon 



2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 medium (180g) red onion, finely diced 

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped 

½ bunch parsley or coriander finely chopped, stalks included  

1 ½ tsp ground turmeric 

1 tsp sumac

½ tsp ground cumin 

1 ½ cups (300g) SunRice Low GI White Rice

900ml vegetable stock, salt reduced 

2 cups (340g) cooked chickpeas 

¼ cup (30g) dried cranberries 

2 tbsp toasted pinenuts / cashews / pistachios (whichever you have on hand) 

3 tbsp finely sliced mint leaves 

½ lemon 


Yoghurt dressing:

½ cup natural / greek yoghurt

1 tbsp lemon juice 

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 

Sea salt and black pepper 

Bake the eggplant: Heat oven to 220C (fan forced) and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. Pour olive oil over the paper, add eggplant slices. Mix harissa, cumin, cinnamon together in a small bowl and season with sea salt and pepper, then sprinkle over the eggplant and toss all ingredients to coat well. Lay the eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. 


Cook the pilaf: Whilst the eggplant cooks, rinse and drain SunRice Low GI White Rice. Heat a large heavy based frypan or casserole dish on medium heat and add extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic and parsley / coriander and cook 3-4 minutes. Add turmeric, sumac, cumin and cook stirring 1 minute so the spices become fragrant. Add SunRice Low GI White Rice, salt reduced vegetable stock, cranberries, and chickpeas, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is soft and fluffy/ Don’t mix the dish throughout cooking. 

To serve: Lay cooked harissa eggplant on top of the pilaf. Whisk together ingredients for yoghurt dressing and dollop around the pilaf. Sprinkle pinenuts (or your choice) over the top followed by sliced mint. Give the pilaf a big squeeze of lemon and tuck in.


*This is a partnered post with SunRice. Jacqueline is a proud nutrition ambassador for SunRice. All thoughts and opinions expressed are the authors own.