This recipe was a huge success everyone loved it, they even fought over the bits stuck to side of the baking dish! It’s a really simple recipe, includes lots of good stuff like lentils and aubergines. It could also be made gluten free. No matter what your diet choices are, this is just a really tasty, hearty family meal that just happens to be Vegan. It’s actually pretty in expense to make to.
200g dried soya mince I like clear spring
1 stock cube
2 tbsp. light oil of choice I used groundnut
2 onions diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. oregano
2 tsp dried mint
3 tins of plum tomatoes
2 tbsp. tamari
1 stock pot or cube
3 tsp tomato ketchup or a little sugar of choice
Salt and pepper
1 tin or jar of cooked brown lentils, drained and rinsed
6 aubergine sliced 1cm thick length ways
1 tbsp. salt
3 tbsp. light oil
2 bay leaves
½ cup vegan butter
1 1/2 cup plain flour or GF plain flour
1L Oat milk or plant milk of choice
½ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
Place the soya mince in a large boil with the stock cube, cover with boiling water and stir to dissolve stock.
In a large pan , add the oil and onions, gentle fry until soft and translucent, avoid burning or letting them colour too much, lightly golden is perfect.
After about 10 minutes the soya mince should have rehydrated, drain through a sieve and push out the excess liquid. Set aside.
Add the garlic to the onions and stir for a minute or two, followed by the tomato puree, tamari, cinnamon, oregano and mint stir till combine, cook for a minute or two.
Add in the soya mince and stir to combine fully, followed by the tinned tomatoes, stir again to combine and using a knife hack into the tomatoes to break them up into smaller chunks. Add the stock pot and stir again.
Bring to the boil and them reduce to a simmer, cook on a low heat for about 1 hour, until it has reduced and thickened.
While that is cooking take a pan and add the milk, bay leaves and pepper corns, bring to a boil and immediately take off the heat, set it aside to infuse.
Heat the grill to high, place the slices of aubergine on a foil lined grill tray or shelf. Sprinkle each slice with a little salt and brush with a little light oil, place under the hot grill until they are nice and golden and starting to char. remove from the grill, turn over the aubergines and repeat on the other side. You may need to do this in batches. Once they are ready set aside.
Add some salt to taste and a good grind of black pepper to the ‘Mince’. Add in the lentils, stir to combine and continue to cook for about 10 minutes while you make the topping.
Strain the milk into a jug.
In another sauce pan add the butter and melt on a medium heat, once it has melted add the flour whilst stirring continuously. It will turn into a thick paste, continue stirring for a minute or two to cook the flour.
Add about a cup full of milk stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste, repeat this until you have used all the milk. It will go lumpy after each addition of milk but once you have given it a good firm stir it will smooth out. Should end up with a silky sauce that coats the back of a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low, add in the nutmeg, nutritional yeast and a good pinch of salt and a good grind of peppers. Cover with a lid and set aside while you layer up the dish.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
I made two dishes each serving 4 people, and froze one. You can also do this or make one large one for 8.
If making two divide the ‘Mince’ between two baking dishes, cover each with half the aubergine slices, slightly over lapping them. And finish with a layer of béchamel sauce. If you like you can grate on some vegan parmesan or use homemade cashew parmesan.
Place in a hot oven till bubble and golden on to, about 30minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before serving. Serve with a crisp green salad.