My Big Fat Vegetarian Moussaka

Moussaka!  What a word!  It’s like a cry of triumph.  How could you not love a food with a name like this?  It rolls like music off the tongue and teases the brain with the promise of pleasure.

The origin of the word is Arabic and means ‘chilled’, which strikes me as odd.  I can’t imagine eating it cold, unless the oven was to malfunction and we were starving and there was nothing left to eat.  May that day never come!

My version makes 6 to 8 generous servings.  When it’s ‘just us’ for dinner, there will be at least half of it remaining and so I cover it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer for another meal weeks later.  I sometimes add Swiss chard but I haven’t decided if I prefer it that way, so I guess it’s optional.

Recipe:  Vegetarian Moussaka

1 large eggplant
4 to 6 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. potatoes (4 or  5 medium to large), peeled or not, halved or quartered
1 bunch Swiss chard or spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Hot stuff
2 ½ c cooked lentils
2 c tomato sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 eggs
1 c yogurt
1 c milk
Freshly ground pepper

Slice eggplant crosswise into ½ inch rounds.  Brush both sides with olive oil and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, turning over halfway.
Steam potatoes over boiling water for about 20 minutes.  When cool, slice into ¼ inch thick pieces.
Remove stalks from chard and reserve for another use (lentil soup?).
Wash and drain the leaves but do not dry them.  Chop and place them in a heated large skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil, cover, and cook on medium heat for 7 or 8 minutes.  Add garlic, cover, and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.
Rinse out skillet and heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium.  Add celery, onion and green pepper, stir, and cover.  After 7 or 8 minutes, stirring now and then, sprinkle on and incorporate the cumin and allspice.  Stir in something hot, like Tabasco, or La Bomba, which is a fiery condiment, to taste: one man’s teaspoon is another’s tablespoon.
Add lentils, tomato sauce, and garlic to this mix.

Let the layering begin:
In a large casserole dish (10 cup?), place half the lentil mixture.
Next, the eggplant slices, slightly overlapped.

Then the optional greens, followed by the rest of the lentil mix.

Finally, layer the potatoes, overlapping to fit.
Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and milk.  Gently pour over the casserole.

Grind pepper over all and if you have some fresh thyme, strew leaves on top.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven.
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

A fair amount of work it is, to be sure; but every now and then, one Must have one’s Moussaka!

And now methinks it not too soon to summon Spring (after all, the clocks lose an hour next weekend!)………..

Wake Up Sleepyheads!

Magnolia Bud

Magnolia Bud

This entry was posted in Casseroles, eggplant, lentils, swiss chard, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My Big Fat Vegetarian Moussaka

  1. I wasn’t hungry until I read your recipe – can’t wait to try it.
    Like the way you have caught spring,

  2. This recipe looks good, and thanks for adding some La Bomba in there!!! We love to learn new ways of enjoying it!

    BTW, have you seen the contest around our Stuffed Eggplant recipe we are holding this month? Maybe you are interested, we are giving away $50 in Italian food that you could use to buy some more La Bomba 😉


  3. Pingback: My take on a vegetarian moussaka | Can We Have Some Rasam ?

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