Good food does not need to be complicated and this is certainly true with this dish. Roasted eggplant, drizzled with delicious sweet sour pomegranate dressing and served with a vibrant herb lentils salad. A happy vegan meal to be enjoyed even by the non-vegan converts. I have prepared it couple of months ago while my daughter was still studying for exams. When stress and pressure come upon us, every little thing is a real help. She has enjoyed a generous portion and since then it has become a family favourite weekend meal.
Preparing the pomegranate molasses is a new discovery for me. Such a happy thing to have in the fridge whenever the occasion calls. It is made throughout the Middle East in countries like Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Traditionally the molasses is made by simply reducing pomegranate juice into a thickened syrup, relying on natural fruit sugars to thicken the sauce. In some areas, sugar is added as a preservative and to counteract the natural tartness of the pomegranate fruit; sugar also helps the syrup to reduce and thicken more quickly. Lemon juice is often added as an acidic preservative to increase shelf life. The amount of sugar varies by region; for example, Iranian (Persian) pomegranate syrup tends to be sweeter than the Lebanese variety.
I add both sugar and lemon to my pomegranate molasses. This is because it is a concentrated, powerful syrup that I only use sparingly, so when I do make it I count on having a bottle in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 weeks. Adding the sugar and lemon juice keeps the molasses fresh longer and gives it a nice sweet/tart balance. I like my molasses on the sweeter side.
Serves 6 people
- 3 eggplants (aubergines), halved lengthways and fresh scored
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- pomegranate seeds
- 2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup chia seeds
For the Pomegranate Dressing
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- ¼ cup lemon juice
1. To make the dressing, place the oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice in a bowl, whisk to combine and set aside. Preheat oven to 170°C. Place the eggplant, cut-side up, on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Place the garlic, pomegranate molasses and lemon rind in a bowl and mix to combine. Spoon over the eggplant, drizzle with oil and roast for 1 hour or until tender.
2. Place the lentils and water in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
3. Place the lentils, parsley, coriander, pomegranate seeds, mint and chia seeds in a large bowl. Top with the dressing and toss to combine. Divide the eggplant between serving plates and spoon over the salad. If desired, top with yoghurt to serve.