Maltese Baked Rice (Vegan & Gluten Free)

February 13, 2023
This baked rice is a traditional recipe in my country, the island of Malta. Originally, it is not a vegan recipe but it is easy to tweak into a scrumptious plant based dish!

Tomato sauce, vegan ground mince, rice, vegan cheese and nutritional yeast are all stirred together in the same pan, then baked until the flavors marry into deliciousness, topped with a lot of Vegan Parmesan cheese on top.

Trust me, this is one recipe which will be loved by all the family, from children to adults! Everyone loves it—omnivores and vegans alike! In fact, this is a dish I always do when I have non-vegan friends invited over for lunch or dinner.

This dish reminds me a lot of my grandma. Actually, many recipes do. My grandma was an awesome woman. She loved cooking for lots of people. She was a pillar in my life, who affected deeply my life choices, especially when it comes to the big passion towards the art of food.

Rice is a staple across the world. It is a great source of energy, especially when refueling after exercise. This is because refined carbs, like white rice, are a source of quick, easily accessible carbohydrate which is needed to replenish muscle glycogen after physical exertion.

It is easily digested, low in fibre and it is a useful grain for those who suffer from heartburn or nausea.

Thank you, Malta; thank you Nanna for this mouth-watering, belly-warming taste of our island!
Close-up of Maltese baked rice casserole with vegan cheese sprinkles in a Pyrex dish.

Maltese Baked Rice (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Recipe Type: Hearty Entrees
utensils YIELDS 8 servings
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  • 2 tablespoons Coconut aminos
  • 2 Medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 450g Vegan mince (I used gluten free, pea protein based)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Meat seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 800g Whole tomatoes, crushed
  • 400g White rice
  • 200g Vegan mozarella
  • 4 tablespoons Vegan Parmesan
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1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. Heat the coconut aminos in a large skillet. Cook the onion and garlic for 2–3 minutes, until the onion is soft.

3. Add the ground Vegan mince and cook, breaking up the chunks with a spatula, until it is browned.

4. Add the salt, pepper, meat seasoning and oregano, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes to release the flavors in the spices.

5. Add the tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, crush each one in your fist (holding it over the pot) to mush it up before adding it to the pot (or purée the tomatoes before adding, using an immersion blender.

6. Cook the tomato sauce over medium heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

7. Put the rice into a 9 x 13-inch oven dish.

8. Pour the hot tomato and vegan meat sauce over the rice.

9. Mix in the vegan Mozzarella. Stir everything together, mixing it very well right in the baking dish. Top with vegan Parmesan cheese.

10. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. Bake for another 10 minutes.

11. Let rest before serving. Enjoy!

Also by Roberta: Nori Summer Rolls With Tahini Sauce

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Photo: Roberta Farrugia

Roberta Farrugia
Roberta Farrugia is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist specialized in Plant Based Nutrition and Weight Loss. She has been an Ethical Vegan for the past 25 years and is very passionate about Vegan and Plant based cuisine. She is all about living with intention. She focuses her work on encouraging healthy eating combined with self-love, care and worth. Follow Roberta on Facebook and Instagram @powehibyroberta.


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