Moussaka is a classic aubergine recipe, but it usually contains meat. But for this special veggie option there’s no meat in sight and instead a healthy helping on green lentils takes its place – try it and you’ll not want to go back to a meat version in a hurry!
HOW TO MAKE VEGETARIAN MOUSSAKA
- 2 medium aubergines approximately 450g(1lb), sliced into 1 cm thick slices
- 75ml (3fl oz) olive oil
- 200g (7oz) green lentils
- 2 onions, 1 quartered and 1 finely chopped
- 1 small bunch thyme
- 1 bay leaves
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder or a vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 75g sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1x 400g (14oz) chopped tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the Topping:
- 35g (1 ¼ oz) butter
- 35g (1 ¼ oz) flour
- 475ml (16fl oz) milk
- A little nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk
- 25g (1oz) Parmesan, finely grated
You will need
- an oven proof dish with a capacity of 1.4 litres (2 ½ pt
Heat a griddle pan until very hot, brush the aubergine slices on both sides with a little oil and grill on both sides until brown and cooked. Remove the slices to a plate and continue until all the aubergines are cooked.
Place the lentils in a large saucepan with the quartered onion, thyme, bay leaves and bouillon powder or stock cube. Cover with plenty of cold water and cook on a medium heat for 20-30 minutes until just soft. Remove from the heat and drain, discard the onion and herbs.
Heat the tbsp olive oil in a saucepan and cook the chopped onion, red pepper and garlic for 10 minutes until soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper, cook on a gentle heat until thick and well reduced. Remove from the heat and stir in the green lentils.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When cool, whisk in the egg yolk.
To assemble the moussaka, place halve the tomato and lentil mixture on the base of the dish. Cover with a layer of aubergines. Repeat. Pour over the white sauce and sprinkle with the parmesan.
The moussaka can be prepared up to two days in advance. When ready to cook, heat oven to 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4, place on a baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes or until brown and piping hot.
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