Contains: Nightshades, dairy, legumes. Is: Vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free.
Consider this one of the Greek dishes I didn’t get around to making, back in my Greek Month (February 2020). I am still in love with the best of the savory aspects of Greek cuisine.
For my vegetarian readers, I wanted to insure a recipe that just doesn’t leave out the meat, but adds in flavors, veggies to make up for the lack of meat, and a nutritional profile in its own right. A good vegetarian meal that can be enjoyed by just about anyone (assuming they like eggplant, which I know many don’t… but it is rather the one item that really DEFINES a Moussaka!) should NEVER simply stop with ditching the meat and going from there – but should replace with vegetables that while they may not ever mimic the food they are substituting for, can provide a tasty alternative for that dish’s own enjoyment – and may, frankly, taste even better than meat!
As of now I’ve not run into a vegan cheese that I like, and which does not contain dodgy ingredients. (And, cashews are also a dodgy ingredient for me – with the exception of almonds, tree nuts and I no longer get along. Not that I liked most to begin with, but I do miss pistachios and pine nuts.) I’ve been pointed to a couple of tree-nut-free recipes to make home-made vegan cheese that I plan to test drive this summer. But at the moment, I’m not claiming this recipe is vegan, or for the lactose-intolerant. (Adapt as you need, of course!)
Later this summer I plan to make a beef-based moussaka with béchamel, which is more seriously authentic, but this works well. As well as – finally! – my favorite dish of all, spanakopita. I fear you’ll never see me make a baklava dessert – too sweet, too many nuts (even before I developed that sensitivity).
But for now, I plan to follow the following recipe, where the author incorporates mushrooms, lentils and chickpeas into the dish, and uses Greek yogurt instead of a béchamel sauce: https://larderlove.com/easy-vegetarian-moussaka/
Misfits Market came through with an eggplant – not a huge one, but there was no need to make a large moussaka. (I just put that service on hold for the end of this month, so as to delve into the variety of local produce beginning to come available here in Massachusetts, and the fact that I’m beginning to find veggies in my own raised beds.)
The mushrooms I used were dried porcini and dried chanterelles. It is desirable that you find fresh mushrooms – regular button or cremini are perfectly acceptable! Sometimes you go with what you have, especially if the notion of getting into a car to drive 40 minutes one way for fresh just didn’t appeal. From The Spruce Eats: 1 1/2 ounces dried mushrooms = 8 ounces sliced fresh.
So we shall begin:
Prep Time: 45 minutes (some things can be done as other parts cook)
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes.
Rest Time: Just until this cools enough to eat.
Cuisine: Greek, Vegetarian.
Vegetarian Greek Moussaka (with Chickpeas, Lentils, and Mushrooms)
- 1 aubergine / eggplant
- 1/2 lemon (juice from)
- 300 ml / 0.5 pint / 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock (I used mushroom soaking water, then added to volume with the vegetable stock.)
- Optional bay leaf (I didn’t use, as I never can taste it, so I never buy)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow or white onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 65 g / 2oz green lentils (I used masoor dal / red lentils)
- 112 g / 4oz mushrooms sliced, or 0.75 ounces dried (soak or simmer for 20-30 minutes prior to use and reserve the soaking water, or whatever package instructions say) (I used 0.5 ounces dried chanterelles + approximately 0.3 ounces dried porcini.) NOTE: you can soak in veggie broth if desired.
- 200 g / 7oz canned chickpeas / garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 200 g/ 7 oz canned chopped tomatoes (with liquid).
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt and pepper.
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated; I went with the latter, eyeballing the amount.
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra parmesan and more dried oregano to sprinkle on top
A nice Greek salad is a great but optional accompaniment. This was a great and lovely dish, and look forward to my next two servings over the next few days.
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