Wednesday, 29 September 2021

THE MOST AMAZING VEGETARIAN MOUSSAKA

After a week of pretty intense fashion show induced exhaustion I was more than excited for a Friday night at home - just me, myself and I PLUS a delicious, healthy and wholesome meal to send me in a much needed food coma and bed by 9pm!

Indeed there is nothing more therapeutic to me than a dinner that takes a little bit of labour, chopping and cooking away to make whilst I enjoy a good glass of wine. A good dinner can take a few hours and when you have the time there is nothing better! 

I love to cook with aubergine anyways (I still drool over the outstanding aubergine parmigiana I made at some point during lockdown) and had always been intrigued to find a veggie friendly alternative to the classic Greek Moussaka.

A disclaimer to start with: authentic moussaka is made with lamb mince and a heavy b├ęchamel sauce on top, so my version, made with a fragrant chickpea, lentil and mushroom tomato sauce, layers of pan fried aubergine and a lighter yogurt, nutmeg and parmesan topping, will not please a Greek cuisine purist but it is a bloody tasty twist on the dish and the sort of comfort food I was in such dire need of. 

A healthy yet satisfying dinner for 2, especially for those darker autumn days.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 300 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 80g green lentils
  • 200g mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
TOPPING 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra parmesan and a little dried oregano to sprinkle on top

METHOD 
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Slice the aubergine into rounds approximately 0.5cm wide and layer in a colander with salt for 30 mins, then rinse and pat dry.
  • Bring the lentils in the vegetable stock along with the bay leaf to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes and then drain them.
  • Saute the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of the olive oil for 5 minutes.
  • Add the drained lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, thyme and water – bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Season the veggie mix with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Fry the aubergine slilces in the remaining tablespoon of oil for 5 minutes, flipping after 3 minutes.
  • In an oven proof dish layer the aubergine slices with the vegetable mixture.
  • Make the creamy topping by beating together the egg, parmesan cheese, yogur and nutmeg. Season to taste.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and a lilttle oregano.
  • Spoon the creamy topping over the moussaka and pop the dish into the oven for 45 minutes or until golden on top.
  • AND ENJOY!

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