Moussaka is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from eggplant, potatoes and minced meat. Here is a vegan spin on this hearty dish that won’t have you missing the meat.
If you want to go lower carb swap out the potato layer with some mashed cauliflower. You won’t even be able to tell the difference! Serve this alongside a green salad for a balanced and colorful meal.
VEGAN LENTIL MOUSSAKA
- 3 medium-large eggplants – sliced in ½ inch thick rounds
- 4 tablespoons neutral coconut or olive oil – divided
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dried French lentils – soaked overnight in purified water with a splash of acv
- 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes – peeled and quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee, plus more for brushing the mashed potato layer
- 1 large yellow onion – chopped
- 2 medium carrots – sliced
- 1-2 celery ribs – sliced (optional)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon each fresh or dried thyme, oregano and/or marjoram (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves – sliced
- 1 lb baby bella or crimini mushrooms – sliced
- 1 28 oz can of box of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- handful of toasted pine nuts (optional)
- chopped parsley and dill – for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Prepare two parchment paper-covered baking sheets. Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheets in a single layer, oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil/olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes. Flip the slices and roast for another 15 minutes, until silky. Set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 375° F (190° C).
- While the eggplant is roasting, drain and rinse the lentils. Cover them with purified water in a medium pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until cooked, but not mushy. Add salt at the end. Drain over a colander and set aside.
- Place the potatoes in the same pot you used to cook the lentils, cover with purified water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until soft throughout. Add salt at the end, then drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Return the potatoes to the same pot. Mash them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or ghee, black pepper and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
- Continue to mash until smooth. Set aside.
- Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil/olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, if using, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano/thyme/marjoram, if using. Sauté for 7 minutes, until the vegetables soften up. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 8 minutes, until the water released by the mushrooms evaporates and they begin to brown. Add garlic and stir around for another minute.
- Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg, if using, to the pot with the mushrooms. Stir to combine, then cover and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate.
- Arrange half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of a 9″ x 9″ baking dish. Top with half of the lentil mixture, followed by the remaining eggplant slices and lentils. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, evening them out with a spoon into a smooth layer. Brush more olive oil/ghee over the potato layer and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the pine nuts and herbs, if using, and serve.