This healthy grilled eggplant sandwich with puy lentils makes a delicious satisfying lunch both vegans as well as omnivores will love!
This grilled eggplant sandwich recipe was inspired by the flavours of imam bayildi, a traditional Turkish dish. My eggplant recipe version contains the main imam bayildi ingredients such as tomatoes, onion, garlic and parsley, in addition to the eggplant of course.
There is also a twist in the form of puy lentils.
My original idea was to create a veggie burger but in the end I decided against it.
You can try to replicate a meat burger recipe by chopping, mincing and shaping vegetarian ingredients into round patties, but this is often labour intensive.
So instead I grilled slices of eggplant (often considered a ‘meaty’ vegetable) and made a rich, tangy and filling stew to go with it. And that’s how my vegan grilled eggplant sandwich with puy lentils was born!
Low fat grilled eggplant sandwich recipe
In the traditional Imam Bayildi recipe the eggplant is filled with a tomato, onion and parsley mixture and then oven baked. It is a lovely vegetarian dish, usually made with a generous amount of oil and served with lots of crusty bread for dipping in the sauce.
My vegetable mixture is made without the eggplant, which is grilled separately, and without too much oil either. Simply cut the eggplant into about 1 cm thick slices, brush both sides with a little oil, sprinkle with spices and throw in the griddle pan.
How to grill eggplant using a griddle pan
Outdoor grilling is fun but is often reliant on good weather so I tend to do indoor grilling using a griddle pan. This can produce excellent results if you follow a few simple rules.
Ensure the pan is hot before you place the eggplant slices in it. Arrange the slices close together and press gently. Then lower the heat and cook the aubergine for about 5 minutes on each side. The trick is to cook it long enough so it’s tender inside while nicely browned on the outside. That’s why it’s important to grill the slices over a low heat.
Start grilling the eggplant 5 minutes before the lentil mixture is done.
Puy lentils recipe
I have used Puy lentils to add more substance and protein to the sauce. Puy lentils have a lovely slightly peppery flavour and, unlike other lentils, keep their shape during cooking.
If you’ve never used them before they can sometimes be tricky to identify in the supermarket as they are often labelled ‘green lentils’ (along with other types of green lentils, which are not Puy lentils). So if you are looking at small, roundish grey-green lentils that have been imported from France chances are they are not just green lentils, as the label says. They might be Puy lentils, grown in the Le Puy region of France (hence the name).
Can I use different lentils in this grilled eggplant recipe
Yes, you can! Ordinary green lentils would work well, but I don’t recommend red lentils. They cook very quickly and don’t keep their shape well. If you are pressed for time you could also add ready-to-eat lentils from a can. Just make the sauce as per instructions and add in the lentils towards the end to warm through.
You can use any bread or burger bun to make this grilled eggplant sandwich. If you don’t need it to be vegan you could also add a slice of grilled halloumi cheese into the sandwich. You can serve this sandwich either hot or cold. Use 1 or 2 eggplant slices per sandwich.
If you like this recipe check out also these vegan beetroot burgers with quinoa.
Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with Puy Lentils
- 1-2 large eggplants
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Puy lentils rinsed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil plus 2-3 more for brushing the aubergine
- 4 tablespoons parsley finely chopped (discard the tough stems)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole allspice
- Cinnamon and cayenne pepper for seasoning the aubergine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a saucepan heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the garlic, onion, allspice and bay leaf, stir, lower the heat and fry for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the lentils, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, stir, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parsley towards the end of the cooking. (If the mixture is not thick enough cook it uncovered over a high heat for 3 extra minutes, stirring often)
- While the stew is cooking prepare the eggplant. Cut it widthways into 1 cm thick slices. Heat up a griddle pan. Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with the oil. Season with a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Place in the griddle pan, press gently and grill over a low heat for about 5 minutes on each side (be careful not to burn the eggplant).
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