Vegetarian Greek Moussaka (with Chickpeas, Lentils, and Mushrooms)

Contains:  Nightshades, dairy, legumes.  Is: Vegetarian, gluten-free, grain-free.  

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils

Vegetarian moussaka, served, with a topping of an eggplant/aubergine slice, cheese, yogurt, oregano, and nutmeg.

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.

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils

Garbanzo beans and chickpeas are the same thing. As for the tomatoes, I took what I needed, and coarsely chopped them, and then transferred the rest to a non-metallic container for refrigerator storage. In the background, eggplant slices are resting with salt and lemon juice.

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!

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils

The veggie mix to the left is waiting for the sautéing onions (and garlic).

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).

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils

Just placed into the oven…

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/

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils

Pulled from the oven. I had two segments for my brunch (ate 1/3rd of this at this meal). No sides this time, but wait ’till leftovers!

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.  

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils

Plated, with lemon.

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.
Serves:  3-4.
Cuisine:  Greek, Vegetarian.
Leftovers:  Yes!

Vegetarian  Greek Moussaka (with Chickpeas, Lentils, and Mushrooms)

THE BASE

  • 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.

THE TOPPING:

  • 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
Preheat oven to 180C/350F
FOR THE MOUSSAKA PROPER:  
Cut eggplant  into rounds approximately 0.5cm / 1/4″ wide, place in a colander with salt and lemon juice for 30 minutes – to draw out bitterness.  Afterwards rinse off excess salt under the faucet, and pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel.
In a pot containing the vegetable stock, the lentils and the optional bay leaf, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, then drain.  Remove the bay leaf.  (EDIT:  I found that there was only a little liquid remaining with the lentils, so I did not drain, and decided to omit the water in the step after next.  Play by ear.)
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of  olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic for another minute.
To the lentil cooking pot, add back the drained lentils, chopped mushrooms, chickpeas, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, oregano, thyme, water.  Bring this to a boil then lower to a simmer, cooking for ten minutes.
Season the veggie mix with salt and pepper and set aside.
Fry the eggplant slices as a single layer in the remaining tablespoon of oil for 5 minutes, flipping after 3 minutes.  You may have to do this in divided batches.  (I needed more oil – eggplant absorbs this.)
In an oven proof pan, layer the eggplant with the vegetable mixture.  I did a layer of eggplant, then the mixture, then topped with the remaining eggplant.  (If you have a large rather than a medium eggplant, you should fill two full layers.  I staggered the top layer in relation to the bottom layer.)
FOR THE TOPPING:  
Beat together the egg, cheese, yogurt and nutmeg, along with salt and pepper to taste.
Layer the topping over the moussaka.
Sprinkle the top with any extra cheese and some more oregano.
BAKING:
Bake the dish for 45 minutes, or until the top becomes golden.  Check at 35 or 40 minutes.

SERVE WITH:  

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.

recipe, moussaka, vegetarian, eggplant, aubergine, chickpeas, mushrooms, lentils


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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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8 Responses to Vegetarian Greek Moussaka (with Chickpeas, Lentils, and Mushrooms)

  1. Recipe reads delicious!!!

  2. petra08 says:

    I love a good moussaka and your vegetarian version sounds delicious. I did moussaka for my home delivery menu one week and it took me a whole day to make it! Hat off to you! 🙂
    Happy Fiesta Friday!

  3. helenfern says:

    OK. Now I’m hungry! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Have a wonderful rest of the week.

  4. Miz Helen says:

    Congratulations! Your awesome post is featured on Full Plate Thursday 492, this week. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us!
    Miz Helen

  5. Pingback: Baked Chicken Thigh with Scalloped Potato, and Canned Plum Tomato | Of Goats and Greens

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