This Vegetarian Lentil and Eggplant Moussaka is delicious !!! It’s from a book called The Happy Pear and it is a must try.
When making the white sauce, the original recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of nutmeg but I would add some and then later some more as nutmeg has quite a strong flavour.
When I cooked the lentils, I tried to cook as much water out as possible and I therefore did not need to use a slotted spoon as the book suggested however I though it was a good suggestion if you do end up having excess liquid.
When cooking the aubergines, I made the mistake of overlapping the aubergines as I used an ordinary baking try. Make sure that your aubergines lay flat on the tray, otherwise you may have some parts that are not cooked enough.
As I do not get cheddar cheese easily here I used fontina cheese instead.
This recipe is really easy however it is a bit time consuming to make but it is really worth it. If you are planning to have guest over for dinner you could always make it the day before.
The recipe asks for 350g of yoghurt, I knew I had yoghurt in the fridge so I did not buy any more however when it came to make the white sauce I only had about 80g, so I just added cream for the rest and it was very tasty 🙂
I also did not have tamari, so I looked up a substitute, soy sauce can be use but it is not gluten free which is the difference between Tamari and Soy Sauce. In the end I decided to use Soy sauce and Murphy’s law… I ran out of that too 🙂 (only had about 3 tablespoons altogether) so I just ended up using 2 tablespoons in the lentil mixture and 1 tablespoon for the aubergines and then I just added some salt as needed.
I’m sure that adding other veggies to this Vegetarian Lentil and Eggplant Moussaka recipe will not do any harm and it will still taste fantastic 🙂
For the recipe below, I wrote it similar to the book (without my substitutions 🙂 but the real point is that we all run out of ingredients but this recipe still works 🙂
I hope you enjoy xx
(Recipe slightly adapted, by David and Stephen Flynn – The Happy Pear: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Food to Change Your Life)
For the lentil mix, Aubergines and Potatoes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium red pepper, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into small rounds
400g lentils, (Puy,brown or green lentils)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
bunch of fresh thyme
bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
4 springs rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons paprika
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
10 tablespoons tamari
salt and pepper
3 medium aubergines, cut into 1cm thick rounds
pinch of cayenne pepper
500g potatoes, cut into 1cm thick rounds
1 tablespoon oil
150g Cheddar cheese, grated
For the Béchamel Sauce
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoon salt
½ freshly ground black pepper
115g plain flour (white spelt or wheat flour was used in the original recipe)
100g Cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 200°C
In a large pan add the lentils, garlic, red pepper, carrots, onions and 1 litre of water, place on a high heat and leave uncovered. Add the herbs (you could make a bouquet garni if you wish), bring to the boil, then lower the heat, add the paprika, tinned tomatoes, 5 tablespoons of tamari, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and nearly all the water has evaporated. Taste and check seasoning.
While the lentils are cooking, place the aubergines in a large bowl and add the remaining 5 tablespoons tamari, 3 tablespoon of water, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix all together. Once all the aubergines are coated place on a large baking tray.
Place the potatoes in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt and place on another baking tray.
Place the aubergine and potatoes in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until they are tender.
To make the béchamel sauce. In a medium to small pot, on a medium heat place the milk, bay leaf, half the amount of nutmeg, salt and pepper, stir occasionally.
In another medium pot, on a low heat melt the butter, whisk the flour into the butter for about 5 minutes, until it is all absorbed. (It will become a thick paste – a roux).
Once the milk is bubbling, remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Slowly add the milk, pouring a bit at a time into the roux, whisking continuously. The mixture will start to thicken and resemble a white sauce. Once all the milk has been added, continue to mix for 5 minutes over a low heat, until the sauce thickens. Add the yoghurt, check the seasoning and add more nutmeg if needed. Remove from the heat and add the 100g of grated cheese and mix until it is all incorporated.
To assemble the moussaka, place all the potatoes at the bottom of a large ovenproof dish (Picture 1). Spread one-third of the white sauce on top of the potatoes (Picture 2). If used a bouquet garni remove from lentil mix or remove bay leaf and any stalks from thyme and rosemary. If you have excess liquid use a slotted spoon and spoon half of the mixture to the dish (Picture 3). Lay half the aubergines on top of the lentils followed by another one – third of white sauce (Picture 4). You should be about half way up the dish now.
Sprinkle about one-quarter of cheese over the white sauce (Picture 5). Spoon over the remaining lentil mix, followed by another layer of aubergine and then the remaining white sauce (Picture 6). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese (Picture 7) and bake for 30 – 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minute before serving. Serve with a simple salad.