I love lentils! They are healthy little guys that fuel us with protein and fiber and other nutrients. I like the versatility they give us, from lentil salads, lentil purees, lentil soup to different lentil "meatloaves". They don't require overnight soaking which is a big plus. I created this recipe using an interesting spice mix called Baharat. Baharat is a mixture of finely ground Middle Eastern spices. Mine has: allspice, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and cloves. It smells outstanding and tastes exotic. It is a warm, spicy, sweet and delightful experience for my taste buds. You can use a mixture of spices mentioned above, or just some of those depending on your personal preference. When assembling this dish, don't follow my picture but rather make sure you place the potatoes all the way on the top since otherwise your bell pepper or eggplant might get too dry during the baking process. I highly recommend that you cook your potatoes and lentils day ahead and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to bake the main dish.
Middle Eastern Lentil Bake with Eggplant Steaks
1 cup green lentils, uncooked
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, don't drain the juice
1 bay leaf
1 tsp onion powder
2-3 tsp Baharat spice mixture (allspice, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and cloves)-start with 2 teaspoons and add more if you like spicier food
salt to taste
1 large eggplant, top cut off
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
4 large potatoes, unpeeled
1 large green bell pepper, top cut off and core removed
To make the lentil mixture:
Place lentils into a large pot and cover with 3 cups of hot water. Add diced tomatoes, including the juice. Bring to a boil. Add minced garlic, bay leaf, onion powder and Baharat spices. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook another 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Season with salt to taste.
Meanwhile, place potatoes into a large pot and cover them with water (add enough water to cover about 2 inches above the potatoes). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender enough to be pierced with a fork easily. Don't overcook them though. Drain and rinse under cold water, until potatoes are cool enough to handle. Peel and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch thick circles. Toss soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, paprika, liquid smoke, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and 1/3 cup water together in a medium bowl. Dip each eggplant slice in the marinade and place onto a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining marinade over eggplant steaks and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Slice bell pepper into 1/2 inch thick circles or strips.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat 9x13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place 2 sliced potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish. Lightly season with salt. Add sliced bell pepper layer (1/2 bell pepper) and a layer of eggplant steaks. Spoon lentil mixture on top and create an even layer. Top with the remaining bell pepper, followed by eggplant and potatoes. Sprinkle more salt over potatoes and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes. Serve warm.
This receipe makes about 4 large servings (each about 300 calories)
No oil added, low fat, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian