Lentils with Roasted Eggplant, Pine Nuts & a Lemon-Tahini Sauce

This recipe is taken from Serious Eats with no adaptations.  The photo on their website is far prettier than how mine turned out. 🙂  

**I was very pleasantly surprised at how delightful the addition of apple cider vinegar tasted with the lentils, and will now make this a regular addition to lentils.**

I served this to Mr. Batch for dinners along with some steamed spinach and rosemary-sea salt crackers I found at Trader Joes:

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For the Eggplant:

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F to prepare for roasting eggplant.

  • 2 large Italian or small globe eggplants, about 1 pound each
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary

Cut each eggplant in half. Score flesh with the tip of a paring knife in a cross-hatch pattern at 1-inch intervals. Sprinkle each eggplant with salt and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes (or longer). Rinse-off salt and bitter juices that surface. Transfer to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, cut side up, and brush each eggplant half with 1 tablespoon oil, letting each brushstroke be fully absorbed before brushing with more. Season with salt and pepper. Place a rosemary sprig on top of each one. Transfer to oven and roast until completely tender and well charred, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and discard rosemary.

For the Lentils:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 small stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brown or de Puy lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups homemade vegetable stock or water
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or sherry vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

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While eggplant roasts, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lentils, bay leaves, stock or water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid partially ajar, and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. (Top up with water if lentils are at any point not fully submerged.) Remove lid, stir in vinegar, and reduce until lentils are moist but not soupy. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Lemon-Tahini Sauce:

  • 1/2 a  head garlic, broken into individual unpeeled cloves (about 5-10 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup fresh juice from 3 to 4 lemons
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 generous cup tahini paste
  • Cold water
  • Kosher salt

Combine garlic and lemon juice in a blender. Pulse until a pulpy puree is formed, about 15 short pulses. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press out as much liquid as you can with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula, then discard solids.  Add cumin and tahini paste to lemon/garlic juice and whisk to combine. The mixture will seize up and turn pasty. Add water a few tablespoons at a time, whisking in between each addition, until a smooth, light sauce is formed. The tahini sauce should very slowly lose its shape if you let ribbons of it drop from the whisk into the bowl. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate for up to 2 1/2 weeks.

To serve:

Combine 1 cup lentils with cubes of roasted eggplant. Drizzle with Lemon-Tahini Sauce and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

*This would also make a fantastic appetizer, to be shared. Especially if served as pictured at Serious Eats.

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