An integral ingredient in traditional moussaka is ground meat. But we can’t have that! So, instead, this vegetarian version uses lentils cooked in a mixture of tomato, onions, garlic, and spices. Delish.
This is one of my favs. The only drawback is that it’s fairly involved. Slice the veggies, cook the veggies, pre-cook the lentils, make the sauce, layer everything, partially bake, make a bechamel, pour on top, bake again…seems slightly overwhelming, and perhaps not worth the effort, but let me tell you: it is worth every, seemingly tedious, minute. It’s a tasty dish that is somewhat different from most of the things that I make, is a meal in itself, and makes tons. So find yourself a free Sunday afternoon, and whip up this vegetarian moussaka. It’ll last you the week. It packs well for lunches and is even quite delicious eaten cold. (…I have a thing against microwaves…)
So do all the cows/lambies a favour and let them keep on a-grazin’. The lentils’ll be more than happy to sacrifice themselves for your dining enjoyment. And I promise that you won’t miss the meat.
Adapted from allrecipes
- 1 eggplant, thinly sliced (lengthwise)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large zucchini, thinly sliced (lengthwise makes for less work!)
- 3 large red potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg and cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if desired
- Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes drizzled with olive oil until tender; 15-20 minutes. Remove and set aside. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.
- Saute onion and garlic until lightly browned. Pour in vinegar and reduce. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, 1/3 cup water (if necessary), oregano, cinnamon, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.
- In a 9×13 inch casserole dish layer 1/3 of the eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes. Spread 1/2 of the tomato/lentil mixture over the veggies and top with 1/2 of the crumbled feta cheese. Repeat the layering starting with another 1/3 of the veggies, followed by the tomato/lentils, and topped with the remaining feta. Finish your layering with the final 1/3 of the veggies.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated (375 degree) oven for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the butter and the flour, whisking until it is smooth (this is a roux). Slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time until the roux is dissolved into the milk. Bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Season with pepper and add nutmeg. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and stir in beaten egg.
- Pour sauce over vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (if using). Bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes.
Just look at that little guy. Irresistable.