Need to get better with my photos… can promise it tastes better than it looks tho.

I first came across this recipe when my fiance and I were seeing how we would go being vegetarian for a couple of weeks (we were fine).

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.au. The description says: “This recipe always gets rave reviews from vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.” And it’s so true. I’ve just made it again today at his request, though we’re not pretending to be vegetarian at the moment.

Moussaka also holds a special meaning for us, as my fiance was actually going out to get take away moussaka the night we met. Okay, there was a little more too it than just that, but it was part of it. Just imagine if I were part Greek instead of part Italian! That would be funny – although some may say politically incorrect – but it’s my food blog, story and life, so I’m saying it.

This is another recipe I’ve obviously adapted. Fortunately I can tolerate sheep and goat’s milk cheese, so I can still enjoy it’s cheesy goodness. If you want to see the original recipe, it is here.

If you can’t tolerate sheep or goat’s milk… sorry!

This recipe also takes some time to make, so prepare yourself. I made pumpkin and chickpea flour muffins at the same time.

Vegetarian moussaka

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (I always double the garlic, at least)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tin (440g) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tin (440g) lentils, drained, juice reserved (the original recipe suggets half a tin, but I prefer more lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 125g crumbled feta cheese (sheep or goat’s)
And for the white sauce:
  • 30g dairy free spread, such as Nuttelex
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free cornflour
  • 1 1/4 cups (315ml) dairy free milk (I prefer rice milk for cooking, it provides the required consistency and effect without an overpowering flavour)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30g (¼ cup) grated hard sheet or goat’s cheese, such as pecorino

Method:

  1. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
    If you’ve ever wondered why it’s suggested to salt eggplant, it removes the eggplant juice, making it dryer and so it fries better. Or as the Italians say, it “draws out the bitter waters…” See the photos below.
  2. Preheat oven to 190˙C.
  3. Heat oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. I like to use my big electric fry pan.
  4. Lightly brown the eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides, then drain.
  5. Add more oil if necessary, and brown the potato slices, drain.
  6. Saute the onion and garlic until lightly browned.
  7. Pour in vinegar and reduce the mixture.
  8. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, ½ the juice from lentils, oregano and parsley.
  9. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. I do this at the same time as I’m waiting for the eggplant and browning the vegetables. It’s a bit of a juggling act…
  10. In a large casserole dish, layer the eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and feta.
  11. Pour the tomato and lentil mixture over the vegetable layer.
  12. Repeat the layering process, finishing with a layer of eggplant and zucchini.
  13. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  14. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the Nuttelex, cornflour and rice milk.
  15. Bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly until thick and smooth.
  16. Season with the pepper and add the nutmeg.
  17. Remove the saucepan from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and stir in the beaten egg.
  18. Pour sauce over vegetables and sprinkle with the pecorino.
  19. Bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes.
  20. Serve with green salad, like rocket. Love rocket.

Salting the eggplants, see how much moisture it extracts!?

Grilled potato and zucchini…

The lovely tomato and lentil sauce, this smells divine…

The final product! (was clearly late once it had finished and as such the lighting for photos wasn’t great…)

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