This Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Lentils, and Thyme recipe uses healthy, simple ingredients to make a delicious and filling dinner. It’s an easy to make recipe that you’ll want to add to your dinner recipe rotation.
Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Lentils, and Thyme
Even though our house is always filled with baked goods, when it comes to dinner, Alex and I like to eat healthy, vegetable-forward meals. On our dinner table, you’ll find things like Dope Soup, Ottolenghi’s Fattoush Salad, and Healthy Mushroom Bolognese. I’d describe our food preference as simple yet flavorful, hearty yet wholesome, and with a penchant for Mediterranean, Italian, and Thai flavors.
So it’s no surprise that in the winter months we enjoy warm roasted vegetables, great cheeses, and legumes. Things that are mostly healthy, but not so healthy that you lose 3 pounds just by looking at it.
This Roasted Eggplant Recipe Is Filling And Flavorful
This Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese and Lentils is exactly our type of meal. It’s uncomplicated, satisfying, and doesn’t skimp on the flavor. After all, since I bake all day for my job, the last thing I want to do at night is have a crazy meal that takes over an hour to make. Of course, when eating simpler meals, high-quality ingredients are a must. They impart the ultimate flavor, nutrition, and overall deliciousness.
For example, organic baby eggplants are creamy and lack that tannic taste you can sometimes get with bigger eggplants. And using fresh and not pre-crumbled goat cheese makes this dish extra creamy.
What Type Of Goat Cheese Is Best For This Eggplant Recipe?
Speaking of goat cheese, for this Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese and Lentils recipe I used my go-to fresh goat cheese from Vermont Creamery. Not only has Vermont Creamery been a brand I’ve eaten since I was a kid, but a few years ago I took a trip to their headquarters in — you guessed it — Vermont and fell even more in love with their products and their brand. They are truly the kindest people, and operate their business with the highest integrity for both their farmers and employees.
Alright, anyone else getting hungry just thinking about cheese? That’s normal, right?
How To Roast An Eggplant
If you’ve never roasted an eggplant before, it’s super simple. Eggplants are fairly soft and easy to cut, and you don’t have to spend time scooping out seeds or anything like that. The key steps to remember when roasting eggplants are:
Slice and score the eggplant — First, cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Then score the eggplants all over in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to cut through the skin (you should score the eggplants fairly deep, though).
Drizzle with olive oil — Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and work some of it into the cuts in the eggplant with your fingers.
Bake skin side down — Bake the eggplant with the cut flesh facing upwards. You’ll know when the eggplant is ready to come out of the oven when it’s golden brown in color and just beginning to char.
Tips For Making This Roasted Eggplant Recipe
Use canned lentils — To cut down on the prep work, use a can of pre-cooked lentils for this roasted eggplant recipe. (But if you have dry lentils on hand that you want to use up, feel free to cook the lentils yourself.)
Smash the lentils slightly — While you don’t need to puree the lentils, it does help them stick to the top of the roasted eggplant if you mash them up a bit with a fork. You want about half the lentils to be mashed.
Use fresh lemon juice — For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice and not the bottled kind. This is a hearty dinner recipe, and the fresh lemon juice adds some much needed brightness to the dish.
2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)
purple micro greens, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the eggplant flesh in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to cut through the skin. Drizzle all over with olive oil, using your fingers to rub it into the flesh of the eggplant.
Place eggplant halves flesh side up on baking tray. Pick off roughly 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves from the thyme bunch, and sprinkled evenly over the eggplant. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake eggplants for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and just beginning to char. Once out of the oven, allow eggplants to cool slightly before topping with remaining ingredients.
While eggplants are cooking, assemble the rest of your ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix together lentils, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Use the backside of a fork to crush the lentils, so that about half are mashed ever so slightly. The goal is to get the lentils to stick to each other so that they don’t fall off of the eggplants later on. Set aside.
Top your warm eggplants with a few spoonfuls of lentils. Crumble the goat cheese over the lentils, then finish with pine nuts and micro greens to garnish!
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