This is a great, simple, tasty recipe from Turkey that takes a little bit of time to cook, but is well worth the time – full of flavor, satisfying, and vegan. To keep the textures and flavors of the vegetables distinct, it’s important that you layer the eggplant in a pot with tomatoes, lentils, chopped onions and garlic, then slowly cooks it, covered, without stirring. This dish is best when made ahead and allowed to mellow for at least a few hours.
Turkish Pomegranate, Eggplant, and Lentils
Partially peel the eggplant so it has lengthwise stripes, then cut it lengthwise into 4 slices. Score each slice on 1 side in a crosshatch pattern. Cut each slice crosswise into 3 pieces and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils.
Coat a small enameled cast-iron casserole with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. In a bowl, toss the onion with the garlic, tomatoes, green pepper, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.
Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture in the casserole and top with half of the eggplant. Cover with half of the lentils and half of the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining eggplant, lentils and vegetables. Pour the remaining olive oil around the side and over the vegetables, then drizzle with the Serious Foodie Pomegranate Sauce.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the eggplant is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Garnish the dish with fresh greens and pomegranate seeds.