This Cheesy Eggplant and Lentil Bake has been one of the most requested recipes I’ve created… not just one of the most requested vegetarian dinner recipes but most requested recipes period. I hinted at it on my Instagram stories about a month ago, and ever since people have been messaging me asking when I would be posting it.
It’s for good reason.
Layers of eggplant and lentils are smothered with a simple tomato sauce spiced with coriander, paprika, and oregano and topped with cheese. Once baked until hot and bubbling and set aside to rest, it cuts almost like an eggplant parmesan but is gluten free and packed with fiber and protein. It is healthy comfort food at its best.
The best part about recipes like this is that it can be prepared at your leisure during the day and simply baked off before dinner. For a busy mom, or anyone that likes to get ahead of mealtime, it’s super convenient.
How to make this cheesy eggplant lentil bake
Step 1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add in the eggplant disks. Boil for 5 – 7 minutes. Drain then set aside. Pat dry to remove as much water as possible.
Step 3. Heat a large pot over medium heat with oil, then add the diced onion. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until the onions start to turn translucent. Add in the garlic, coriander, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of salt. Fry for 2 more minutes.
Step 4. Add the cooked lentils and tomatoes and a large pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Stir and cook for 5 – 7 minutes more.
Step 5. Spread some of the lentil mixture on the bottom of a large oven-safe pan or casserole dish then add some of the eggplant circles. Top with 1/3 – 1/2 of the cheese depending on the size of your pan. You will have 2 or 3 layers.
Step 6. Continue building the layers and finish with the last of the cheese. It doesn’t need to look perfect.
Step 7. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until it is warmed through and is lightly brown on top. Let the pan rest for 20 minutes before serving it with fresh parsley.
“What else can I use?”
- I love my Lodge Cast Iron pan for this, which you can find here, but use any heavy, ovenproof skillet or casserole dish. Something like this or this would work well. I have this one and use it all the time, and it happens to be on sale right now.
- If you don’t have coriander on hand, don’t sweat it. Simply omit it.
- You can boil your lentils ahead of time, or use precooked ones. Trader Joe’s makes great steamed lentils, they’re really convenient for something like this.
- If you’re dairy free, you can use vegan cheese. Daiya makes a very good one.
Cheesy Eggplant and Lentil Bake
- 1 large ovenproof skillet
- 2 medium or large eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch disks
- 1 large, sweet onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 16 oz. green lentils, cooked
- 28 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed or diced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated can sub vegan cheese if you're dairy free
- Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the eggplant disks and boil for 5-7 minutes.
- Drain and set aside, patting dry to remove as much water as possible.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and warm the oil, then add the diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts to get translucent.
- Add the garlic, coriander, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes (if using) and 1 teaspoon salt and fry for 2 minutes more.
- Add the cooked lentils and tomatoes along with a large pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper and stir, cooking for 5-7 minutes more.
- Spread some of the lentil mixture on the bottom of a large oven-safe pan or casserole dish and add some of the eggplant circles.
- Top with 1/3-1/2 of the cheese depending on the size of your pan. You will have 2 or 3 layers.
- Continue building and finish with the last of the cheese. It doesn't need to look perfect, it'll all bubble up beautifully, you can't mess this up.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until warmed through and lightly brown on top.
- Let the pan rest for 20 minutes before serving with fresh parsley on top.