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Author Notes: A delicious and easily prepared vegan, grain-free dish perfect for celebrating eggplant in October, the final month of its season. Out of the 3 components of this dish--roasted eggplant, filling and sauce-- only the eggplant needs to be made immediately prior to serving. The tahini sauce is simple equal parts tahini and water mixed with chopped parsley, lemon juice and sea salt to taste. —Marci Cornett
- 2 medium Eggplant, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoons Chili Flakes
- Large pinches Unrefined Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Deeply score the flesh of the eggplant halves in a diagonal crisscross pattern without cutting through the skin. A small paring knife works best for this task.
- Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, checking periodically. The eggplants are done when the flesh is tender and the skin (which is edible) has gone slightly crispy.
Spiced Lentil Filling with Olives and Almonds
- 1 cup Green Lentils, rinsed and picked through
- 1/4 cup Almonds
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Leek, washed well then halved and cut into thin slices
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 Red Chili, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 4-6 Medjool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Green Olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- splashes Lemon Juice
- Flat-Leaf parsley, chopped and added to taste
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
- Cook the lentils by bringing them to a boil with 3 cups water and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to simmer and partially cover the pot with an angled lid. Cook 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender but retain a firm bite. Drain and set aside.
- Toast the almonds by scattering across a baking tray and placing in an oven heated anywhere from 300 to 350F/150-180C. Toasting will take 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the oven temperature. Give them a stir every 5 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they give off a warm, nutty aroma. To be sure, bite into one. If there’s a nice snap and a toasted flavor, and if the interior has darkened a bit, they’re ready to come out of the oven.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and heat another minute. Add the leeks to the pan, they should give a satisfying sizzle. Stir frequently and cook about 4 minutes before adding the garlic and chili. You may need to turn the heat down while cooking so the leeks don’t color. Once the leeks are softened and glistening, stir in the spices and a good pinch of salt then cook another 2 minutes.
- Next stir in the cooked lentils, toasted almonds, dates, olives and leftover cooked veg (if using). Continue cooking just long enough for everything to heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Stir in parsley just before serving.