Vegan Lentil Moussaka

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I haven’t ever had a chance to eat real moussaka given that I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life. However, my family members, who have had real moussaka and are generally skeptical of my meat free substitutions, loved this dish! This dish uses very little oil but is still very flavorful, and is also great because it has every nutritional aspect you need out of a meal- lentils (for protein), potatoes (for carbs), and veggies (for all their nutritional benefits.

This recipe from Choosing Chia’s Vegan Lentil Moussaka, and my edits are in red. Check out her website for nutritional info.

INGREDIENTS

Lentil layer: 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • can of lentils (approx 14oz) – I cooked 0.8 cups dried lentils in 3.5 cups of water for 20-30 min to get 2 full cups of cooked lentils
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper to taste

Eggplant layer: 

  • 1 medium eggplant

Potato layer:

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (or 3–4 medium potatoes) 
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (I used regular butter)
  • splash of almond milk (I used regular milk)
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the eggplant into slices, about 1cm thick. Line the eggplant on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until tender. 
  2. Cook the lentils: Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and garlic and let cook for 2 minutes on medium heat. Net add the carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and cinnamon and let cook for 5 minutes until the veggies are tender. Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt and pepper then lower the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. 
  3. Potato layer: boil the potatoes until tender. Drain the water and add the vegan butter, almond milk, salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes until smooth. 
  4. Putting it all together: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the eggplant, lentils and mashed potatoes in a baking dish (8*8, if you use any larger of a baking dish you will not have enough mashed potatoes on the top) and bake for 30-45 minutes. Optionally place on broil for 1 minute to brown the top and serve (I skipped this step).

NOTES

If you want to broil the Moussaka make sure to keep a very close eye on it so it doesn’t burn! It will only need 30-60 seconds on broil. 

Don’t rush cooking the veggies in the pan for the lentil filling. This is where all the flavor is built!

If you want to make mini lentil moussakas, you can make this recipe in individual ramekins and bake them for 20-25 minutes. 

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