- 1 large aubergine, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped (or a jar of passata or can of tomatoes)
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- 5 tsp herbs in provence or a mixture of your preferred herbs – rosemary, basil, thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 150g dry brown or green lentils, cooked
- 250ml of unsweetened almond or soy milk (avoid rice milk)
- 1 tablespoon wholewheat flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- 125ml liquid vegetable stock
- A pinch of arrowroot flour or cornstarch, if needed
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Chop the tomatoes. Lightly sautee the chopped onions and once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes. Leave to thicken and reduce for about 5 minutes until the colour changes to bright red/orange then add the tomato paste, stock and seasoning. Lower the heat and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so until the sauce is cooked through and add the cooked lentils. Set aside.
- Take your sliced aubergine and rub a small amount of sea salt on both sides. Heat a heavy-bottom pan on medium-high. Pour two tablespoons of canola oil into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, or even paper towel, brush a small amount of oil on one side of your aubergine slice, then place in the pan. Repeat with the remainder of slices. After two minutes (or when the slices have nice dark grill marks on them), brush the oil on the other side of your slices (which are face up), and flip. Cook for an additional two minutes before using your fork or spatula to gently press down on the slices to drain some moisture. Flip and repeat if desired.
- Prepare the bechamel by whisking the flour with the almond/soy milk, adding salt and pepper to taste. Heat the mixture in a saucepan over a high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir frequently until sufficiently thickened. If your bechamel is thin, try adding a little more flour or a pinch of arrowroot/cornstarch to help with the thickening.
- To assemble, spoon the lentil and tomato mixture into a medium casserole dish, and top with the second clove of crushed garlic. Add the grilled aubergine slices. (Feel free to do alternating layers.) Pour the bechamel sauce over the casserole and bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the mixture bubbles.