Barbecue Lentils and Eggplant

BBG lentils

This recipe, originally adapted from a The Whole Foods Market Cookbook, is packed with savory and sweet flavors with no shortage of umami. The eggplant softens a great deal and gives a really nice and smooth texture to each bite.

Yields about six cups


Yield:  Makes about 6 cups, serving at least 4

  • 1 c. dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and diced into 3/4″ cubes (about 3 c.)
  • 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 c. finely chopped, canned plum tomatoes (or use fresh if they’re in season)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 c. barbecue sauce (whatever kind you like)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce (I use tamari)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey (agave or maple syrup)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley


Put lentils in a medium saucepan and cover by 2-inches with cold water.  Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat.  Skim any froth from surface, lower heat, and simmer lentils until just tender, about 20-30 minutes (cooking time depends on the kind of lentil you’re using).  Drain, reserving cooking liquid.

Warm a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.  Drizzle in oil, then add eggplant.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent eggplant from sticking.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in onion, tomatoes, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more.  Add barbecue sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, and drained lentils.  Simmer 10 minutes, adding lentil cooking water as necessary if sauce gets too thick.  Stir in scallions and parsley, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.


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