Eggplant, Cabbage, Lentils and Polenta with Cheddar Crumble

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Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

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This can be made in one large dish or individual dishes if you prefer. Use the recipe as a guide and add whatever other yummy things you want — smoked bacon, blue cheese, sundried tomatoes — to the cabbage mixture. You can also replace the cheddar with parmesan or goats’ cheese.


  • olive oil for basting
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into ½ cm(¼ in) slices
  • ½ small cabbage (I prefer savoy), shredded
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 250 ml(8 fl oz) water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 g(6 ½ oz) cooked lentils or canned lentils
  • 800 ml(1 ½ pints) vegetable stock or water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 200 g(6 ½ oz) instant polenta
  • 100 g(3 ½ oz) cheddar, grated
  • 150 g(5 oz) stale bread (I used 1-day-old focaccia)


Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 5. Generously oil (or butter) a 20 × 20 cm(8 × 8 in) lasagne dish. Lightly brush eggplant slices on both sides with a little oil and fry over a high heat until golden and just cooked. Put to one side.

Place cabbage, oregano, water and a little salt and pepper in a deep saucepan and boil 2 minutes. Add lentils (and any other tasty extras you like), mix well and remove from heat.

Bring vegetable stock and garlic to the boil in a saucepan, add 1 teaspoon of salt, then whisk in polenta and cook, stirring, over a low simmer for 1 minute.

Using a wet spoon, spread polenta over base and sides of the oiled dish. Add drained cabbage mixture and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of cheddar. Lay eggplant on top.

Place bread in a food processor and grind to coarse crumbs. Add remaining cheese and blitz for a few seconds more. Sprinkle on top of eggplant, drizzle with a little more oil and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.