Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

A few weeks ago I was wondering what to do with the end-of-season eggplants, tomatoes, and chiles from our garden and stumbled across this recipe from Food and Wine, which also calls for pomegranate molasses. The recipe comes from the coastal town of Antakya, Turkey. The ingredients are layered and not stirred, so the flavors of the different ingredients stay distinct. The stew is best when made ahead and allowed to mellow for a few hours before serving. I thought it needed just a touch of honey, which I will probably add next time.

Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 6.


  • One 1 1/2-pound eggplant (or enough eggplants for 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • Water
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 long green chiles, such as Anaheims—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses


1 Partially peel the eggplant so it has lengthwise stripes, then cut it lengthwise into 4 slices. Score each slice on 1 side in a crosshatch pattern. Cut each slice crosswise into 3 pieces and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 1 hour.

2 In a small saucepan, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils.

3 Coat a small (3-quart) enameled cast-iron casserole with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. In a bowl, toss the onion with the garlic, tomatoes, green chiles, mint, tomato paste, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt.

4 Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture in the casserole and top with half of the eggplant. Cover with half of the lentils and half of the remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining eggplant, lentils and vegetables. Pour the remaining olive oil around the side and over the vegetables, then drizzle with the pomegranate molasses.

5 Heat the stew until the liquid in the stew is simmering. Cover and cook over low heat until the eggplant is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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Showing 4 of 29 Comments

  • Jaspenelle

    This sounds really good! I am having a really hard time visualizing how you cut up the eggplant though. Are you taking the whole unpeeled eggplant and slicing it up lengthwise?

    Hi Jaspenelle, first peel the eggplant lengthwise so it has stripes, like a zebra. Then cut the eggplant lengthwise. Score one side of each slice with a cross hatch pattern, then cut each slice widthwise into thirds. ~Elise

  • lydia

    In Boston, we lived down the block from a wonderful Middle East market, and I bought my first bottle of pomegranate molasses because the label was beautiful! Since then, I’ve been collecting recipes to use this delicious condiment. Though garden-grown produce is a distant memory here in the northeast, this will be lovely with store-bought eggplant and lentils from the pantry.

    PS — if you can’t find this in the stores, make your own by boiling down one quart of pomegranate juice (widely available in the markets these days) to half-cup of “molasses.”

  • Suzanne

    When you tried to explain the cutting up of the eggplant a second time, you just copied your explanation from the recipe. Could you be more specific? What does “Score one side of each slice with a cross hatch pattern” mean?

  • Elise

    Hi Suzanne,


    Score – To mark the surface of (meat, for example) with usually parallel cuts.

    Crosshatch –

    To mark or shade with two or more sets of intersecting parallel lines.

    A pattern made by such lines.
    The symbol (#).

    Hope that helps.

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