By Özlem Warren

Published in the TML Magazine Issue 14, 2021

  • 175 g/6oz green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 medium aubergines/eggplants
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 400 g/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 60 ml/2fl oz olive oil
  • 240 ml/8fl oz water
  • 60 ml/4 tablespoons light olive oil, Canola oil or groundnut oil (to sauté or bake the aubergines/eggplants)
  • 5 ml/1 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ml/1 tablespoons dried mint
  • Freshly g round black pepper to taste
  • Crusty bread or pita bread to serve
  1. Preheat oven 180°C/350°F.
  2. Put the green lentils in a pan of boiling water, stir and cover. Simmer in low heat for 20 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the aubergine/eggplant in zebra stripes. Then, cut the aubergine/eggplant in half lengthways and cut each half into medium slices. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 10 minutes. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess water out of the aubergines/eggplants.
  4. Heat the light olive oil (or canola or groundnut oil) in a heavy non-stick pan and very lightly sauté the aubergine/eggplant slices for a minute or two. This will help aubergines/eggplants to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh (If preferred, you can also bake these aubergine slices coated in oil, spread on a tray, in the preheated oven 200°C/400F for 20-25 minutes).
  5. In a large bowl, combine the partially cooked lentils, onion, garlic, bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, salt, dried mint and olive oil. Season with ground black pepper, check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  6. In a deep baking dish, place a layer of the aubergine/ eggplant slices. Spread the half of the lentils & vegetable mixture over the aubergines/eggplants evenly. Place the remainder of the aubergine/eggplant slices over the top and spread the remaining vegetable mixture over also. Add the water, cover with aluminium foil and cook on a preheated oven 180°C/350°F for about 35 minutes.
  7. Then remove the cover and bake further about 10 minutes; the eggplants and vegetables will start to get a lovely caramelised colour. Take the dish out of the oven and leave to cool, for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the flavours to develop and blend well (you can actually make this dish a day ahead of time as the flavours develop even further). Serve at room temperature with some crusty bread. Afiyet Olsun!

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