Lentils with Roast Vegetables and Grilled Aubergine

Honest and hearty tasting lentils with crunchy roast vegetables and silky aubergine

Honest and hearty tasting lentils with crunchy roast vegetables and silky aubergine


Welcome to 2013!

Although I am not superstitious, I really do enjoy rituals of celebration. So what better way is there to start the New Year than with a plate full of lentils for abundance of happiness (or is it money?).

This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”.  (It cannot be a coincidence that I gifted this book to myself on Thanksgiving last year🙂  )

As lovely as all this the symbolism is, I believe that the first days of the year are for relaxing and lounging around rather than standing in the kitchen for hours on end. So I would not be suggesting this recipe if it were not so easy to put together. The only thing that takes a little effort is the grilled aubergine. At the same time it really tastes amazing and adds another dimension to the dish. I have two suggestions:  either make as much of this fabulous grilled aubergine as possible; keep the rest (refrigerate or freeze) to make baba ganouch to have later with some soft warps and lamb, for example. Or take a short cut by leavening out the aubergine and replacing it with a piece of delicate steamed fish.

By the way, Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”  is a wonderful vegetarian recipe book. I will not be sharing many recipes from it on my blog as I think you really should get it yourself. So consider this a little amuse bouch for the New Year.

Ingredients
(virtually only ratios altered from Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’)
Serves 2

1-2 medium aubergine for this dish (but make as many as you can)
2 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar (alternative: balsamic)
4 tbsp olive oil
150g lentils (Black Beluga I love for this dish as they keep their shape but Puy will do)
5 small carrots
4 celery sticks
2 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme (or a little dried if you are at a pinch)
1/2 white onion
18 cherry tomatoes
1/3 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp fresh parsley
salt, black pepper
optional: 2 tbsp yoghurt (or creme fraiche)

 

Recipe

Aubergines

Although the traditional way to cook aubergines is oven an open flame, I prefer making them under the grill so I can prepare as many as possible in one go.

Grill: Line a baking tray with a double layer of aluminum foil. Pierce aubergines a few times with a fork (to stop them from exploding.) Place them directly under a hot grill for about 1 hour, turning them a few times. The aubergines should deflate and the skin should burn and break.

Hob: Pierce aubergine a few times with fork. Place them directly over two moderate, open flames. Roast until burnt (about 15 min).

Lentils

  1. Rinse the lentils. Place them in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cut 2 carrots and 1 celery stick into large pieces. Add to lentils.
  3. Add 1/2 onion in one piece as well as bay leaves and thyme to the pot.
  4. Cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 25 min (or until lentils are tender but not mushy.)
  5. Drain in a sieve and remove all the vegetables and herbs.
  6. Transfer lentils to a mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp vinegar.
  7. Season with plenty of pepper and especially salt.
  8. Set aside somewhere warm (this dish is best served warm but can be served at room temperature.)

Vegetables

  1. Whilst the lentils are cooking, cut remaining 3 carrots and 3 celery sticks into 1-2 cm chunks.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  3. Throw the vegetables into a large oven dish and mix with1 tbsp olive oil, the sugar and some salt.
  4. Cook in the oven for 20 min until carrot is tender but still firm.

Assemble

  1. Chop the coriander, dill, parsley.
  2. Add 2/3 of the vegetables and herbs to the lentils. Carefully combine.
  3. Taste to adjust seasoning.
  4. Spoon lentils onto serving dish. Top with remaining vegetables and herbs.
  5. Pile aubergine on the top.
  6. Add a dollop of yoghurt if using.

Tips & Variations

  • If you are rushed for time skip roasting the aubergine and steam some fish instead
  • If you do have the time to make the aubergine make plenty refrigerate or freeze it to use for baba ganouch dip


Serve with

  • Some blanched green beans
5 comments
    • afracooking said:

      Yes, Ottolenghi really knows how to combine flavours and textures for some magic on your plate🙂

  1. Yelena said:

    Thank you for visiting my blog! I wish you many beautiful creations in new year.

  2. I make a similar lentil recipe but without roasting the vegetables and without the aubergine. I can’t wait to try this dish…it sounds great.

    • afracooking said:

      I love lentil dishes, but this one just blew my mind: the crunsh of the roast vegetables and the silky aubergine make for an amazing dish – a beautiful Ottolenghi recipe

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