This dish is quite similar to a lentil moussaka, minus the layer of potato, as I was craving lemon roasted potatoes and wanted them on the side instead! You could easily leave the white sauce layer out, as I often do, but I decided to use a little amount of usually avoided, processed margarine here in order to get a comforting, creamy layer on top! If you omit the white sauce you could top this with some wheat free breadcrumbs and pinenuts to add a crunchy topping -sometimes I use both sauce and breadcrumbs.
Lentils are full of protein and fibre, as well as iron, manganese, vitamin b1, potassium and more. My favourites are the red lentils which I have used here, but you could try using green or brown lentils in this. They keep their texture better than red lentils and so would change the overall texture of the dish slightly. Aubergine is a good source of fibre, and they are full of anti oxidants. Their skins in particular contain an anthocyanin phytonutrient called nasunin. This is a potent anti oxidant which has been shown to protect cell membranes from free radical damage.
- 125g red lentils
- 400g can crushed tomato
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 large aubergine, sliced
- 1 large tomato, sliced thinly
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large pepper, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp vegan margarine
- 1 tbsp white spelt flour, sieved
- 300ml unsweetened almond milk
- Potatoes for roasting
- Sunflower Oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Herbs of your choice
Simmer the lentils, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, and herbs in 150ml water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly fry the aubergine, followed by the onions and pepper. Layer the lentils alternately with the aubergine, onion and pepper in an oven proof dish. Make the white sauce by making a roux with the vegan margarine and spelt flour -blend them quickly with a fork in a dry pan on low heat. Mix it constantly and be careful not to burn it. Gradually add the almond milk, stirring continuously until smooth and thickened. You may want to add some extra flour to thicken it even more. Pour the sauce over the lentil and aubergines and place the sliced tomatoes on top of the sauce. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes.
To make the potatoes, roast as usual, but add the juice of one lemon to the oil when you are roasting. I think everyone has their own method to roasting potatoes. Mine is to par-boil the potatoes, remove the skins, and place them back in to the pot (minus the water!) over a low heat to dry them out. Shake the pot vigorously to fluff and break the outsides. This will enable them to go more crispy. Place them in a baking tray shallow filled with some sunflower oil -pour over some more sunflower oil and lemon juice mixture. Add the dried herbs of your choice and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown and crunchy. Periodically spoon the oil over the tops of the potatoes and turn them. I served this with some baby corn, mange tout and tenderstem brocolli.