This is seriously delicious. Not just yummy but grown up delicious!! The inspiration for this dish was the fact that I had a bag full of medium organic aubergines (eggplant) in my fridge from my friends Pattie and Pete Dillon who have a business here in St. Lucia called Plant Grow Eat. They produce all sorts of delicious organic leaves and vegetables, and kudos to them as we all are aware how difficult farming is anywhere, far less in a developing country. Big up!!
600g aubergine/eggplant (4 med sized)
6 tbsp olive oil
150g brown lentils
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1 medium to large bell pepper (mine was yellowy green)
411g can tomatoes
200ml wine (red or white)
100 ml water
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp cinnamon
Start by slicing the aubergine into rounds about 1 cm thick. Arrange them on a roasting sheet with 4 tbsp of the olive oil and turn them so that each receives an equal amount of the oil, which it will thirstily drink up on each side. Cook in the oven at 200°C (400°F) for 20 minutes or so or until they are brown and cooked through.
While the aubergines are cooking, soften the onions in the remaining 2 tbsp of oil, then add the garlic and pepper and cook for another few minutes. Pour in the can of tomatoes, the wine and the water. Stir and when thoroughly mixed, tip in the lentils. Check at this point that there is enough liquid and keep checking throughout as lentils too are very thirsty. Cook covered until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Add salt to taste, and mix in the cinnamon and parsley at the same time.
While the lentils and the aubergines are busy, prepare the topping by simply whisking together the ingredients in a separate bowl. Eliminate the parmesan for the vegan option.
350g firm tofu
good grating of nutmeg
100g parmesan (add for vegetarian option)
salt and pepper
100 ml tahini
1 small garlic clove pressed
50 ml water
juice half lemon
I love to make tahini sauce because first Mark loves it slathered over all sorts, but also because it does this magical thing of getting thick when you whisk the water into the tahini. Its as simple as that…..you just whisk everything together. Gauge the amount of water you pour in by how thick you want your sauce.
Once all 4 of your components are ready, layer starting with the lentils, followed by the aubergine and topped off with the tofu. Bake in a 180°C (350°F) oven for about 20mins until the tofu is just starting to get a little bit brown. Doesn’t need much. When you have lovingly dished this up, confident that you can convert any carnivore, pour over a heaped tablespoonful or so of the tahini sauce and serve with a flourish.