Vegetarian Mediterranean Lentil Moussaka - (Vegetarian, Dairy Free)
Forget ordering takeaway and make your own Vegetarian Mediterranean Lentil Moussaka at home. Learn a simple recipe for a delicious Vegetarian Mediterranean Lentil Moussaka.
All you need to do is click below to add this amazing meal to your cart and we will do the rest. Receive all the ingredients to your door and follow the simple instructions below to cook it in your very own kitchen.
Items included in box
- Brinjal/ Eggplant x 2
- M/L Potatoes 2kg
- Baby Marrow 350g
- Brown lentils 400g
- Garlic clove
- Brown Onion 1kg
- Cinnamon powder 200g
- Rice Milk 500ml
- Eggs Half Dozen
- Extra virgin olive oil. Add here
- Flour for Reux – Can use Almond flour Add here
- Salt and pepper
- Milk ( as alternative)
We can all agree that moussaka is comfort food at its finest!
And, yes, the popular flavor-packed eggplant casserole, topped with creamy béchamel sauce, is a labor of love. There are typically several layers and a few steps involved. But if you've ever made it, you know that it's totally worth the effort for a special family dinner.
This vegetable moussaka casserole is made of layers of quick-roasted vegetables; a tasty rich tomato sauce with brown lentils in place of ground meat; and creamy béchamel to top it all.
Vegetable moussaka components
It helps to think of this vegetarian moussaka recipe as having three components: vegetables; a vegetarian sauce; and a top layer of creamy béchamel .
Brown lentils are petite and cook fairly quickly. They have a wonderful, creamy consistency; full-bodied and earthy flavour. Not to mention, they're a great source of protein, polyphenolas, iron, and fiber...(find brown lentils here.)
In this vegetarian moussaka, a scrumptious tomato-lentil sauce--with a fragrant pinch and cinnamon--is nestled between quick-roasted vegetables, including tender eggplant. And of course to top our eggplant casserole is none other than creamy béchamel sauce!
What vegetables go in vegetarian moussaka? And what else do you need to make it?
The components of this vegetarian moussaka recipe are not hard to make. There are three components as I mentioned earlier: vegetables, sauce, and a top layer of béchamel . Let's walk through them some more:
1. Roasted Vegetables
For this vegetarian eggplant moussaka recipe, eggplant remains the star. I also add 2 to 3 russet potatoes and 2 baby marrow . All the veggies are sliced the long way to create our different layers.
Eggplant needs a little extra TLC. So we start with giving our eggplant slices a sprinkle of salt and leave it alone for 20 to 30 minutes to "sweat out" any bitterness.
To prepare the vegetables for our vegetarian moussaka, we give them a quick roast in hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Tomato-Lentil Sauce
This lentil sauce is a vegetarian replacement for meat sauce.
It incorporates cooked brown lentils with crushed tomatoes and aromatics like minced garlic, onions, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional). After a brief simmer, this sauce is hearty and creamy, you won't miss the meat.
We're not taking shortcuts here with this roasted vegetable moussaka. The very top layer of creamy béchamel is essential, making this dish as scrumptious and comforting as they come!
Although béchamel sounds scary and intimidating, it is fairly easy to make. Essentially, you make a roux with flour and quality extra virgin olive oil (some use butter, but I prefer olive oil here.) Let it brown a tad, add in warm milk (bit-by-bit), whisk, season, and add in tempered eggs, while continuing to whisk a little bit more until nice and smooth.
Let's get to the step-by-step...
How to Make this Vegetarian Moussaka – Step-by-Step
1. Salt the eggplant.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C and Slice eggplant length-wise. Sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides and place on a large sheet lined with paper towel. Let eggplant "sweat" for 20 to 30 minutes, while you work on other things. This will help the taste and texture of the eggplant. When ready, pat excess moisture.
2. Make the béchamel .
Pour extra virgin olive oil in a pot and let heat till shimmering but not smoking. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir around until the mixture turns a light golden brown. Slowly add your warmed milk, while whisking continuously.
2.1 Whisk a small amount of the hot béchamel mixture with the 2 eggs. Return all to the pan with the remaining béchamel mixture. Continue to stir or whisk the mixture bringing to a gentle boil for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool/thicken a little more (you should have a creamy, thick and smooth béchamel sauce).
Tip: if your olive oil and flour mixture is too dry and looks chunky, drizzle in a little more olive oil until it looks like a smooth paste.
3. Prepare the tomato-lentil sauce.
First, sauté the onions and garlic briefly until they smell delicious. Add your already COOKED brown lentils, tomatoes, and broth. Season and add spices. Let it come to a boil and then over part way with a lid, turn the heat down, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
How to cook brown lentils for this sauce? To cook the brown lentils first before you add them to sauce, begin with ½ cup dry brown lentils. Add 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender (about 20 to 25 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep the lentils submerged.) - Drain & Rinse well.
4. Roast the Vegetables.
While the lentil sauce is simmering, take your dry eggplant and place it with the potatoes and baby marrow on lightly-oiled baking sheets (you'll need more than one baking sheet to spread the veggies in one layer.) Sprinkle the baby marrow and potatoes with.
Give the veggies a brush of extra virgin olive oil. Roast in heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Assemble to moussaka.
Ladle a little bit of the lentil sauce on the bottom of a lightly oiled casserole pan. Layer the roasted veggies on top...
Now add the rest of the tomato lentil sauce...
Add béchamel on top. Be sure to spread the béchamel and smooth it out with the back of a spoon.
The vegetarian moussaka casserole can take somewhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour in your heated oven.
What you want to see!
You're looking for the top béchamel layer to turn a nice golden brown (if needed, place it under the broiler for a tiny bit, watching very closely to make sure you get the colour you want.)
Facts and Questions.
Can you eat eggplant skin?
Many people think eating eggplant skin is a no-no, but the exact opposite is true. When eggplant is cooked, the skin becomes tender and soft and is great to eat. It packs lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
(If you need to, you can partially peel the eggplant leaving just some of the skin on.)
Why do you salt eggplant?
The first step I take whenever I work with eggplant, whether to fry or roast it, is salting it. This is important for two reasons:
First, it allows a lot of the moisture in the eggplant to release. If you cook eggplant without salting and patting dry with paper towels, your moussaka can get watery and make your dish soggy and less flavourful. Nobody wants that!
Second, eggplant tends to be a little bitter and the salt counteracts that bitterness. You are left with a much sweet and milder slice of eggplant after salting.
To save time in this recipe, as you saw in the step-by-step above, I start by salting the eggplant then move on to working on the béchamel etc. if you are going to make moussaka, do it right!
What do you serve with this eggplant casserole?
This type of eggplant casserole is a full meal in and of itself. But if you are looking for a little something extra, add a big Greek salad or simple salad to start.