Place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Add the water, bay leaves, thyme, smashed clove of garlic, and a liberal sprinkling of salt. Bring to a low boil and cook for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender to your liking. Drain and set aside, removing the bay leaves, thyme, and garlic clove.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until warm. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Add the eggplant and sauté for another 10 minutes, until cooked through and golden in spots.
Add the minced garlic cloves, tomatoes, cayenne, paprika, coriander, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minutes, until the spices are fragrant. Serve over the lentils and top with a sprinkling of cilantro and feta. Enjoy!