If you’ve never been a fan of eggplant, this is the recipe that will change your mind! This plant-based spin on moussaka is a hearty layered casserole featuring grilled aubergine (eggplant) and lentils smothered in a mouthwatering almond milk bechamel sauce.
Recipe by One Arab Vegan
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 10minutes
- 1 large aubergine (eggplant), thickly sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped and divided into two piles
- 4 medium tomatoes (or a jar of passata or tomato sauce)
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
- 1 cup of cooked brown or green lentils
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk (avoid rice milk)
- 1 tablespoon wholewheat pastry flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- 1/2 cup liquid vegetable stock
- A pinch of arrowroot flour or cornstarch, if needed
How To Prepare
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Start with the tomato sauce if you’re making it from scratch. Quarter and blend the tomatoes with a splash of water until pureed. Lightly sautee half of the chopped onions in some cooking oil or vegetable stock. Once the onions are translucent, pour in half of the blended tomatoes. Leave to thicken and reduce for about 5 minutes until the colour changes to bright red/orange. Pour in the remainder of tomatoes along with a 1/4 cup of water, the tomato paste, and salt and pepper. Lower the heat and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so until the sauce is cooked through. Set aside.
- Take your thickly sliced aubergine, and rub a small amount of sea salt on both sides. Heat a heavy-bottom pan on medium-high. Pour two tablespoons of canola oil into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, or even paper towel, brush a small amount of oil on one side of your aubergine slice, then place in the pan. Repeat with the remainder of slices. After two minutes (or when the slices have nice dark grill marks on them), brush the oil on the other side of your slices (which are face up), and flip. Cook for an additional two minutes before using your fork or spatula to gently press down on the slices to drain some moisture. Flip and repeat if desired.
- Prepare the bechamel by whisking the flour with the almond/soy milk, adding salt and pepper to taste. Heat the mixture in a sauce pan over a high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir frequently until sufficiently thickened. If your bechamel is thin, try adding a little more flour or a pinch of arrowroot/cornstarch to help with the thickening.
- In a separate pan, heat a little vegetable stock and sautee the rest of the onions and one clove of crushed garlic for 2-3 minutes until the onions start to soften. Add the lentils, fresh parsley, oregano and stir before adding your tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- To assemble, spoon the lentil and tomato mixture into a medium casserole dish, and top with the second clove of crushed garlic. Add the grilled aubergine slices. (Feel free to do alternating layers.) Pour the bechamel sauce over the casserole and bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the mixture bubbles.
- Broil for a few minutes until the top is nicely browned, then remove and enjoy immediately.