A vegan twist on a Classic Greek dish which celebrates the aubergine. Although it is traditionally made with potato, lamb, aubergine and a creamy bechamel, this recipe uses plant-based Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and butternut squash- a deliciously sweet alternative that marries with the rich, tomato filling. This is a recipe that can be easily adapted to suit the season!
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp Cirio tomato purée
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 large aubergine, thinly sliced lengthways
- 1 courgette, thinly sliced lengthways
- 390g tin lentils, drained and rinses
- 1-2 bay leaves
For the bechamel & topping:
- 350g butternut squash, thinly sliced (using mandolin)
- 25g plant-based butter or spread
- 25g plain flour
- 300ml cashew milk
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 beef tomato, thinly sliced for decoration
- Lightly fry sliced aubergine and courgette in a wide, shallow pan using about 1 tsp Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Set these aside on a piece of kitchen towl once browned on each side.
- In a large pan, sauté the onion in 1 tbsp Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil until translucent. Add the crushed garlic, oregano and tomato purée and stir over a medium heat.
- Add lentils to onion mixture and fully incorporate before stirring through chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and throw in a bay leaf while it simmers.
- Allow the lentil mixture to lightly simmer and reduce over a low heat with the lid off for about 20 mins. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- In a smaller, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt your plant-based butter and stir in the flour gradually until it is a dough-like consistency. Gradually add the cashew and stir continuously over a low heat to create a silky bechamel. Season with salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
- Once the tomato and lentil mixture is rich, take it off the heat. Likewise, remove the bechamel from the heat to prevent burning.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and boil your butternut squashed for 5-7 minutes until softer.
- Begin assembly in an deep oven dish: start with a spoonful of lentil ragu and smear across the bottom. Next, place a layer of courgette and aubergine, followed by butternut squash slices. Repeat this process until you have run out of filling, courgette, aubergine and finish with a layer of squash on top.
- Smooth the bechamel over the top layer of squash, drizzle over some Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and neatly arrange the thin slices of beef tomato.
- Sprinkle with black pepper and oregano and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown on top.
Enjoy this with a lovely, fresh rocket salad!