Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vegetarian Heaven

Moussaka originated in the Mediterranean region and is one of those dishes that's made by lots of cultures in many different ways.  And almost always with meat.  I found this vegetarian version and made it once, years ago, when my eldest was still a hip hugger.  It takes a lot of work.  I mean a lot.  So I didn't make it again for years.  But the thing about all that work is it's totally worth it.  I could not believe how mind-blowingly good this was the first time I made it.  I was really excited to try it again when I didn't have a tot permanently attached to my extremities.  The day has finally arrived!  This recipe came from All Recipes, and was submitted by Anne Buchanan.  Depending on your skill in the kitchen (I'd say I'm probably slower than average) you're looking at around 1 1/2 to 2 hours prep-time here, so plan a good chunk of the day. 


1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T white vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1/2 (14.5 ounce) can lentils, drained, juice reserved
1 t dried oregano
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 C crumbled feta
1 1/2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/4 C milk
black pepper to taste
1 pinch nutmeg
1 egg
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
  1. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides; drain. Adding more oil if necessary, brown potato slices; drain.
  4. Sauté 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 9x13 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. 
My substitutions/additions:
I have never bought a can of lentils in my life and probably never will.  They are so simple and quick to make from dried I always have some in my pantry.  Because this recipe takes so long anyway, having some lentils made up a day ahead of time is probably the best way to go on this.  If you happen to have some left over, more's the better. 

I also omitted the nutmeg.  I don't like it if it's not in some sort of spice cake at Christmastime.  Otherwise, it just tastes funny to me.  I'm not doing all this work to have it ruined by weirdo nutmeg!  =)  If you like nutmeg, I'm not offended, go for it! 

    Holy Grecian Gramma!  I could eat this every day.  I mean it.  If I could find some sweet little septuagenarian to come live with me and make me moussaka, I would love her and pet her and call her Georgeina.  As it stands though, since I don't see many Gramma stores opening up any time soon, I reckon I'll keep this recipe.


    1. Can you believe I have never made moussaka! I think it's because it's so labor intensive! But after seeing this post I am totally tempted to make it!!

    2. moussaka is pretty much the best thing on earth! never had a veg version, but this looks awesome.


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