Recipe

Cheesy eggplant and lentil bake

Rich, cheesy and delicious.

  • 2 hrs 10 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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This cheesy eggplant & lentil bake is like a vegetarian moussaka with layers of eggplant, potato and lentils in a tomato sauce and a ricotta bechamel.
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Ingredients

  • 600 grams dutch cream potatoes, cut into 1cm thick slices
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 medium eggplants (1.2kg)
  • 1 cup (200g) French-style green lentils
  • 1 medium onion (150g), chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium carrot (120g), chopped finely
  • 1 medium red capsicum (200g), chopped finely
  • 2 cups (500ml) bottled tomato passata
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 200 grams firm vegetarian fetta, crumbled
  • ½ cup (50g) grated vegetarian mozzarella
  • extra fresh thyme leaves, to serve (optional)
Ricotta bechamel
  • 1½ cups (360g) fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup (280g) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 eggs, beaten lightly
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • 2
    Place potato in a single layer on a large lightly oiled oven tray; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the oregano. Season. Turn potato slices to coat evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned; set aside.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, cut 3 of the eggplants lengthways into 1cm (½in) thick slices. Place eggplant in a single layer on two trays. Brush eggplant with 1 tablespoon of the oil; scatter with 1 teaspoon of the oregano, then season. Working in batches, cook eggplant slices on a heated chargrill plate (or chargrill pan or barbecue) for 5 minutes on each side or until browned and tender. Transfer cooked eggplant to baking-paper-lined trays.
  • 4
    Place lentils and 1 litre (4 cups) water in a medium saucepan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low; cook for 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain, rinse under cold water; drain well.
  • 5
    Cut remaining eggplant into 2cm (¾in) pieces. Heat remaining oil in a large heavy-based saucepan; cook onion and garlic for 4 minutes or until soft. Add chopped eggplant; cook for 5 minutes or until soft and golden. Stir in carrot and capsicum; cook for 4 minutes. Stir in passata and ½ cup (125ml) water, the thyme and remaining oregano. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, for 7 minutes or until eggplant is soft. Stir in drained lentils; season to taste.
  • 6
    Make ricotta bechamel.ricotta bechamel Whisk ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.
  • 7
    Arrange potato slices in a single layer in an oiled 3 litre (12-cup), 22.5cm x 36cm (9in x 14½in) ovenproof dish; top with half the lentil mixture, then half the eggplant slices, placing them in a single layer. Repeat layering with remaining lentil mixture and remaining eggplant slices. Spoon ricotta bechamel on top; top with fetta and mozzarella, then drizzle with a little more oil. Bake for 55 minutes or until heated through and top is golden. Stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • 8
    Serve half the lentil bake topped with extra thyme leaves. Transfer remaining lentil bake to an airtight container; cool, then store.

Notes

Serve with simple green salad (page 217) or lemony lettuce wedges , if you like.Refrigerate lentil bake for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge, then reheat in a microwave.

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