Can you believe it’s already Eid Al Adha?
It seems like just yesterday we were bidding Ramadan farewell and celebrating Eid Al Fitr!
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Eid Al Adha (which translates roughly to “festival of sacrifice”) is the second of two major Islamic holidays celebrated amongst Muslim communities worldwide. Needless to say, a holiday that involves mass animal slaughter isn’t exactly one of my favourites, but I won’t be delving into that in today’s post (if you are interested on my opinions on the topic, you can read more about it here). Instead I’d like to focus on the ways in which I do celebrate Eid Al Adha.
Every year I make a donation to those less fortunate that doesn’t involve animal sacrifice, for example to causes like the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund which provides medical and humanitarian relief to Arab children in distress across the region.
I wish all my loved ones a blessed Eid, and if I’m lucky enough to spend Eid with family, I soak up all the precious quality time I can get.
And finally, I throw together a delightful meatless Eid meal for myself. Enter this delightfully easy grilled eggplant and lentil bake, topped with a creamy tahini dressing, fresh parsley and toasted pine nuts.
I was inspired by the Sweet Potato and Lentil Shepherd’s pie I made for a Eid lunch a few years ago to create a casserole-type dish that could be easily shared, was mouthwateringly tasty, and heartily filling.
Spoiler alert – this totally fits the bill. Oh, an I promise you, no one will miss the meat on this one.
- 3 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 1 cup of chopped red onion
- ¾ cup of diced carrots
- 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp each of cumin powder and paprika
- ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- Start by prepping your eggplant slices ahead of grilling, take a small amount of sea salt and rub on both sides - this helps extract moisture and adds seasoning.
- Heat a grill pan on a medium-high flame an add some cooking oil to a small bowl. Using a small pastry brush coat one side of the eggplant slices, then place in the pan. Repeat with remainder of slices.
- Grill for 1-2 minutes, or until some grill marks start to appear, brush some oil on the other side of your slices (which are face up), and flip. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes before using a fork or spatula to gently press down on the slices to drain some moisture. Repeat until all slices are done and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C
- For the lentil filling, start by sautéing the onions with 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a large pan on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until fragrant. Add in the carrots and tomatoes, then season with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Add the tomato paste and water and cook for a further 5 minutes adding the lentils and stirring through. Add in the crushed garlic and turn off the heat.
- Assemble by layering the lentil mixture at the base of a pyrex baking dish and top with the eggplant slices.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes (keeping an eye on the liquid levels, you don't want it to be too dry)
- Top with tahini yoghurt dressing, toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley to serve.
For a chunkier filling, substitute the veg stock with a tin of crushed tomatoes
I use a high-oleic cooking oil blend, but use whatever you have on hand
My favourite thing about this bake is that it is a little bit of a lighter casserole, making it perfect for summer while still being incredibly satiating. I absolutely love serving this with a crisp side salad and an ample serving of fluffed cooked quinoa.
It’s also a perfect recipe to make in advance (for meal-prep, for instance), because the flavours only intensify and deepen as this keeps.
However you choose to celebrate (or eschew) Eid Al Adha, I wish you and your families health, happiness and peace on your plates. Until next time, dear readers.