Comfort food for the soul. And it’s vegan.
Middle Eastern food is a firm favourite round our way. The heady spices, the delectable combinations of rich, earthy and bright flavours, the simplicity of the ingredients that go together to make something you simply cannot stop putting in your mouth. Every time we sit down to a Middle Eastern dinner, I can’t help but declare my love for food!
You can accompany this with olives, cheeses (which would make it a non-vegan meal, obviously) such as labneh, feta or halloumi, salads, stuffed vine leaves… for a truly delectable table.
Preparation: 45 minutes
250g (1 1/2 cups) brown lentils
1 tbsp ground cumin
600ml (2 1/2 cups) water
1 large eggplant (aubergine) approx. 350g / 12oz, peeled and diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sumac
50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 tsp) olive oil
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
150ml (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp) pomegranate molasses
juice of 2 lemons
additional olive oil for drizzling
seeds of a small pomegranate
2 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put the lentils, cumin and water in a medium, heavy-based saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Add the eggplant, salt and sumac and cook, covered, over very low heat for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pan over low heat, combine the olive oil and garlic and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until fragrant but not browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add the fried garlic and pomegranate molasses to the lentils and stir to combine. Cook, covered over very low heat for another 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice.
Spoon into bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil and decorate with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
Serve with a spoon and some pita bread for scooping.