Aubergine parmigiana meets lentil bolognese, this recipe has turned into a firm favourite since we first cooked it. A rich lentil sauce made with spicy harissa, rich balsamic, sweet tomatoes, grated parmesan, fresh basil and creamy tahini (to make it nice and thick) is cooked between layers of roasted aubergine and stringy mozzarella. It has everything you need to make a filling, wholesome main dish that works perfectly served with a simple green leaf salad on the side.
Serves 6 & takes 45 minutes to cook
3 large aubergines, tops removed and cut lengthways into thin slices (we do about 5-6 per aubergine)
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon of paprika
2x 400g cans of tinned tomatoes
2 tablespoons of harissa paste
2 tablespoons of thick balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon of tahini
1x 400g can of green lentils, drained
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
60g grated veggie-style parmesan cheese
200-250g grated mozzarella (or more if you want it extra cheesy)
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, fan setting.
2. Place aubergine slices into a large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook the aubergines for 20 minutes until they start to become soft.
3. While the aubergines are cooking, make the sauce by placing a large pan over a medium heat and adding a drizzle of olive oil. Once warm, add the chopped onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
4. At this point, mix through the paprika and cook for a few seconds before adding the tinned tomatoes, harissa paste, balsamic vinegar, tahini and drained lentils. Mix well and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the aubergines finish cooking.
5. Once the aubergines have finished cooking and the sauce has turned thick and delicious, turn down the heat and stir the grated parmesan and chopped basil through the sauce.
6. Assemble the bake by adding a layer of the sauce to the bottom of a deep baking dish or casserole dish (we use a 26cm casserole dish). Top with slices of aubergine, followed by grated mozzarella. Continue to do this two more times more until you have three layers of each and the top is covered in grated mozzarella.
7. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until everything is cooked through and delicious, we then like to put the oven up to 200C, grill and finish the top for a final 5 minutes before serving.