Moussaka is one of those dishes that I never really think of when looking to make a ‘one pot’ meal for dinner. I think it’s because most versions contain minced meat of some sort, usually lamb. But recently, Rich asked if it was possible for us to make a vegetarian version of moussaka. His only request was the dish not be too heavy on the eggplant. Sure, he likes eggplant well enough, but even properly cooked eggplant has a bit of a weird texture to it. After searching a few places for a good recipe, I came across this one at allrecipes.com, and decided to give it a shot.
The recipe takes a fair bit of prep work, as you need to pan fry the eggplant, zucchini, and potato in small batches so everything will get nicely browned. However, the results are worth all the work. Served with a nice medium-bodied white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc) this is an awesome Sunday night dinner. It also tastes just as good (maybe even better) the next day as leftovers for lunch. Yum!
Yummy Vegetarian Moussaka
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1/2 (14.5 ounce) can lentils, drained, juice reserved
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
black pepper to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown eggplant sliced on both sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the zucchini slices and then the potato slices, adding more oil as needed to make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
4. Saute onion and garlic until lightly browned. Pour in vinegar and reduce. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, 1/2 the juice from lentils, oregano and parsley. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.
5. In a 9×13 inch casserole dish layer eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, onions and feta. Pour tomato mixture over vegetables; repeat layering, finishing with a layer of eggplant and zucchini.
6. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine butter, flour and milk. Bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Season with pepper and add nutmeg. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and stir in beaten egg.
8. Pour sauce over vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes.