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.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 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
 Directions
  1. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated (375 degree) oven for 25 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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