Lentil Moussaka

In keeping with the fresh produce theme, this week’s dish features eggplant.  Moussaka, a layered casserole that traditionally involves eggplant, lamb, and a custard top, is among the best that Greek food has to offer.  This version is both a bit lighter than traditional versions, which often call for frying the eggplant, and, of course, vegetarian.

Lentil Moussaka Recipe

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.

Total time: 2 hours 40 min.

Yield: 12 servings

Level: Difficult

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 4 ½ cups vegetarian beef-flavored broth or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large or 3 medium eggplants
  • cooking spray, olive oil if possible
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Directions

In a large frying pan, sauté onions in olive oil 3-4 min. until translucent over medium heat.  Add lentils through tomato paste to onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are relatively soft and mixture is mostly dry.

While lentils are cooking, preheat oven to 425.  Peel and slice eggplants into ½” rounds.  Layer slices in a colander and sprinkle salt over each layer.  Allow to rest for about 15 minutes.  Cover baking sheet(s) large enough to fit all of the slices with foil (or work in batches) and spray with cooking spray.  Pat slices dry and place in a single layer on the foil.  Spray the top side of the eggplant with cooking spray.  Cook in oven for 12 minutes.  Flip eggplant slices, spraying each side again with cooking spray.  Cook for another 12 minutes.   When eggplant is finished cooking, reduce oven heat to 350.

While the last batch of eggplant is cooking, heat butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan.  When it has melted, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.  Increase heat to medium and cook until thick (it should coat a spoon), whisking frequently.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs.  Whisk a small amount of the milk mixture into the eggs.  Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat and whisk in half of the cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grease a 13x9x2” glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Arrange a layer of half of the eggplant slices on the bottom.  Spread lentil mixture on top.  Arrange the remaining eggplant slices on top.  Pour the custard mixture over the top and spread evenly.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.  Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan loosely.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes before serving.