Greek-style lentil and eggplant bake
A delicious and comforting layered casserole dish with herb-infused lentil and tomato sauce, slices of grilled eggplant, and cheesy béchamel sauce.

2 medium-size eggplants (aubergines)—cut lengthways into ½-inch slices

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for greasing the baking dish)
1 onion—finely chopped
3 cloves garlic—finely chopped
14 oz (420g) canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
14 oz (420g) canned brown lentils—rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups milk
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

PREHEAT the oven broiler (grill) to high. BRUSH the eggplant slices on both sides with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. PLACE on a large baking tray and cook directly under the broiler for 5 minutes on each side. WHILE the eggplant cooks make the lentil sauce. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. ADD the garlic and cook 2 minutes. ADD the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, oregano, cinnamon and pepper and bring to a boil. REDUCE the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. STIR in the lentils and parsley to combine. REMOVE the eggplant slices from the broiler once cooked and preheat the oven to 200C/400F. MAKE the cheese sauce by heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan. STIR in the flour to combine and cook 1 minute. ADD the milk gradually, stirring continuously, and cook until the sauce thickens. STIR in the grated parmesan and crumbled feta until well combined and melted. SPOON a few tablespoons of the lentil sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased baking dish. TOP with half the eggplant slices, then layer with half the lentil sauce, and half the cheese sauce. REPEAT the layers of eggplant slices, lentil sauce, and cheese sauce. BAKE for 35 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes to firm up a bit before cutting into pieces and serving.