Hearty lemon-garlic Lentils with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes is infused with smoky flavors from roasted eggplant and plump sweet cherry tomatoes. Cooking the lentils on stovetop while the veggies roast, means this Mediterranean eggplant recipe requires little hands on time to prepare. Share with naan or Sourdough Pita Bread for scooping and a dollop of Greek yogurt or coconut cream. This recipe is vegetarian, easily vegan and gluten free.
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Why You’ll Love This Mediterranean Eggplant Recipe
Hearty, nourishing and full of interesting textures and flavors, this lentils and eggplant recipe is a celebration of late summer and early fall, when produce is at its peak! Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:
- It’s a community favorite
- Vegetarian or vegan and gluten free friendly
- Protein packed at an estimated 22 grams per serving
- Freezer friendly
- So satisfying
Naan, Sourdough Pita Bread, crusty Multigrain Sourdough Bread or Seeded Multigrain Gluten Free Sourdough Bread is quite nice on the side for scooping up all the creamy lentil goodness. Share with a hearty Vegetarian Kale Caesar Salad, or Pan Fried Asparagus to get your greens in.
An Inspired Mediterranean Eggplant Recipe
This Mediterranean lentils recipe is inspired by Ottolenghi Simple, but the recipe itself was torn from the pages of my husband’s much-loved weekly magazine, The Week, where it’s reprinted.
While I followed the original recipe as a guide, I tweaked the lentil cooking method, added a few flavor builders, increased the garlic and lemon of course, and scaled the recipe so that it’s a main for four rather than a side.
Lentils are filling enough, but with the abundance of eggplant and tomatoes in this Mediterranean eggplant recipe, it easily becomes a hearty main. Especially when shared with yogurt or coconut cream and a side of bread.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Simple ingredients produce the most delicious flavors when paired with roasted veggies. Here’s what you’ll need to make this Mediterranean eggplant recipe (see recipe card below for details):
- Eggplant – there are several types of eggplant to choose from. For this recipe, look for Italian Eggplants, also called Globe eggplant. I found some Graffiti eggplant, sometimes called Sicilian eggplant, at the farmers market and it tasted just as delish as Globe.
- Cherry Tomatoes – in season, plump and juicy. You can go for sun golds and/or a mix of heirloom and cherry.
- French or Puy Lentils – these are the same variety of lentils, so you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. The difference is Puy are grown in the Puy region of France, while French lentils are grown in North America and Italy. Look for French lentils in the bulk bins for the best value or Bob’s Red Mill sources them.
- Olive Oil – extra virgin
- Lemons – fresh lemon wedges for serving on the side.
- Garlic Cloves – fresh plump cloves
- Parsley – flat leaf
- Red Pepper Flakes, Bayleaf and Dried Oregano
- Greek Yogurt – for serving or you can opt for Coconut Creme for a diary free and vegan option.
At a Glance: How to Make this Mediterranean Eggplant Recipe
While this recipe takes just over an hour to pull together, most of the time to prepare it is hands-off. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card below for details):
- First, roast the eggplant for about one hour or until they’re soft, and slightly charred.
- Meanwhile, put the lentils on to cook. Chop the garlic, parsley and gather the seasonings.
- Third, when the eggplant are almost done, roast the tomatoes.
- Next, once the eggplant and tomatoes are done roasting, cut the eggplant open and allow to cool a bit. Scrape out the flesh.
- Last, add the eggplant flesh, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan with the lentils. Rewarm on low as needed.
Serve in bowls and share with another squeeze of lemon, parsley, Greek yogurt or coconut cream, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Choosing Eggplant: Although modern eggplants are bred to be less bitter, if concerned, look for smaller eggplants to avoid any bitterness. Choose eggplants that are firm with smooth skin, with no blemishes or soft spots. Check the stem to ensure it’s green with no signs of mold. Buying in season helps too!
- Freezer friendly? Yes please! Freeze this Mediterranean lentil recipe for up to two weeks. Thaw in fridge overnight and rewarm with a splash of water on the stovetop.
- Dairy Free and Vegan friendly? Yes please! Share with coconut cream instead of yogurt just prior to serving.
Thank you all for sharing and tagging your mouthwatering pictures and tips on Instagram and in the comments below! I love seeing and hearing your results! Here are a few of your notes:
- Nancy commented: “…cubed the eggplant before roasting to shorten the bake time. I also added more raw veggies for texture.”
- Carolyn said “I didn’t have yogurt but sprinkled some feta cheese on top.”
- Alexandra commented: “I would only suggest that you roast the garlic when you’re roasting the eggplant and tomatoes. And the yogurt is a must!”
More Eggplant Recipes to Love
- Italian Pressed Sandwich
- Smoky Roasted Eggplant Hummus
- Skillet Eggplant Lasagna by Kitchen Confidante
- Roasted Eggplant-Artichoke White Bean Dip
- Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta by Foolproof Living
- Thai Red Curry with Eggplant and Sweet Peppers
Mediterranean Lentils with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes Recipe
- 4 pounds (1.4 kilograms) Globe Eggplants about 4 large eggplants or 6 medium
- 1 cup (185 grams) French Lentils or Puy
- 3 1/4 cups (765 grams) Water
- 20 ounces (640 grams) Cherry Tomatos about two pints
- 1 Bayleaf
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil extra virgin + more for drizzling if desired
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice about 1/2 a lemon + more for serving
- 3 Plump Cloves of Garlic crushed and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 3 tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 1/2 cups (155 grams) Greek Yogurt or coconut cream for serving
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Preheat oven to 475F (248C). Arrange an oven racks to the second highest setting and another just below it. Using the tines of a fork, prick each eggplant about eight times each all around (no need to peel the eggplants). Set the eggplants on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast on the highest rack for about one hour or until the eggplants are soft and slightly chard. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile arrange the cherry tomatoes on a parchment lined sheet pan. During the last 12-13 minutes of eggplant roasting, place the tomatoes on the lower oven rack and roast until the tomatoes are burst and slightly charred. About 13 minutes.
- While the eggplants are roasting, add the lentils to a medium sauce pot. Pour in the water and add a bayleaf with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low, simmering for about 25-30 minutes. The lentils should be tender, not mushy, and there should be a few tablespoons of liquid left (no need to drain). Remove the bayleaf, lid, remove from heat and set aside.
- Once cool enough to handle, slice the eggplants open and scrape out the flesh. Spoon the flesh and any roasting juices into the pot of lentils along with the roasted tomatoes and all their juices. To the pot of lentils and veggies add the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, pepper flakes, sea salt and parsley. Stir. Heat on low for just a few minutes to warm through. Add a few twists of fresh ground pepper. Stir and taste for salt adjustment.
- Store in lidded containers in the refrigerator for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and gently rewarm on the stovetop.