Lentil and Eggplant Moussaka

Posted by Dawn on October 25th, 2013 . Filed under: Main Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian .

 Most nights, I make meals that are relatively quick and easy to get on the table. But for Sunday dinners, is usually don’t mind making something that is a little more labor intensive than meals I’ll make during the week.  There is just something extra special about Sunday dinners. This dish is more suited for an evening when you have a bit of time-which is why it made the perfect Sunday dinner for us.  Luckily, it makes quite a bit so we were able to have it again later in the week for a quick dinner (in addition to having it for lunch a few days).

I love Moussaka and this version is no exception.  The chickpeas, mushrooms and lentils replace the meat and if I say so, do a great job-I did not miss the meat here!  This lightened up version also has a lighter bechamel sauce that uses yogurt and whole eggs rather than butter, milk and flour but is every bit as good as a traditional bechamel sauce.

Lentil and Eggplant Moussaka

2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4 inch thick (to yield ~ 2lbs sliced eggplant)
1/2 cup (90gm) lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 10 ounce package sliced fresh portobello mushrooms
1 (14.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 whole cinnamon sticks
1 1/4 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt
3 eggs
3 ounces freshly grated pecorino romano cheese (or other hard grating cheese)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Generously sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt, and place them in a colander in the sink. Cover with papertowels and push down, absorbing and draining as much liquid as possible.

Rinse and drain lentils. Place the lentils, broth, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Add the onions cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until their moisture has been released, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Season vegetables with salt and pepper.

Drain and reserve any liquid from the lentils, and add to the pan with the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Add chickpeas, fresh and canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until thickened. If sauce gets too thick, add a few tablespoons of reserved lentil-vegetable broth. If sauce is too thin, uncover and increase heat and continue to cook until thickened.

Rinse eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. While sauce is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Using a little olive oil at a time and working in batches, cook all of the eggplant slices for about 5 minutes, turning once, so that they are lightly browned on each side. (Alternatively, arrange the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet, brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray, and cook under the broiler for 5-6 minutes per side.)

Remove cinnamon sticks from lentil mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one third of the eggplant slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with one third of the lentil mixture. Repeat the layers twice, pressing the top down with the back of a spatula.

Whisk together eggs and yogurt until mixed. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread yogurt mixture on top of moussaka and top with grated cheese. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

Source: Cara’s Cravings

2 Responses to Lentil and Eggplant Moussaka

  1. Eva

    I can almost smell this right now! We love Greek food, and your lightened-up moussaka looks like a wonderful weekend meal. This would be a great way for us to get our Greek fix before the next Greek Festival in town (summers).

  2. Marie Matter

    Dawn, this sounds delicious, and I love that you made a lighter bechamel!

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