Moussaka is a much loved Greek comfort food. The traditional version is a hearty eggplant & potato casserole with a flavourful juicy ground lamb or beef filling topped with an aromatic spiced Béchamel Sauce. I have given this nostalgic dish a vegetarian twist and substituted the ground meat with lentils. My Cypriot family recipe also has zucchini and a Béchamel sauce made with halloumi cheese and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.
When my friends over at La Dee Da Gourmet Sauces asked me to collaborate using their delicious sauces, I knew this dish was a perfect recipe to share with all of you. Their sauces are plant based, vegan, dairy and gluten-free with no preservatives but what won me over is that they support local farmers to source out the ingredients that go into every jar. Now that's my kind of farm to table philosophy. In this recipe, I have used their Twelve Veggie Tomato Sauce that gave this dish so much flavour. Head over to La Dee Da Gourmet Sauces to support this Ontario Local Company as they are not only delicious and good for you; but they are giving back to @Food4KidsOntario, a charity that is close and dear to their hearts as they are moms.
1/2 cup light olive oil + more for oiling pan
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/4 inch slices lengthwise
1 large eggplant, cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 medium onion, diced small
1 large garlic clove, minced
500 mL La Dee Da Twelve Veggie Tomato Sauce
1 3/4 cup dried green lentil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
7 tbsp unsalted butter
7 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 L whole milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
11/4 cup halloumi cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
1/4 cup +1 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature, beaten
Place lentils in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes and drain.
Preheat oven to 500 F, Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Brush a 9x13 rectangular pan with oil on the bottom and sides. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the bottom and on sides of pan and set aside. Brush eggplant, zucchini and potato slices with oil on both side. Place on baking sheets in a single layer and bake until golden on each side. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F.
To make lentil mixture, heat 2 tbsps of oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes until soft and translucent. Add in sauce and bring to a simmer and then stir in lentils, salt, pepper and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
To assemble the vegetables and lentils, Layer the Botton of the pan with half of the potatoes, top with half of the eggplant and then half of the zucchini. Pour the lentil mixture on top and spread it evenly. Repeat the vegetable layers on top of the lentils and set pan aside.
To make béchamel, melt butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until thick and smooth, about 1 minute. Add milk a cup at a time while continuing to whisk until thick an creamy. Whisk in nutmeg, cinnamon and add in 1 cup halloumi cheese and 1/4 cup parmigiano, continuing to whisk until cheeses have melted. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp breadcrumbs. Let cool for 5 minutes and whisk in egg yolks.
Pour béchamel sauce evenly on top of vegetables, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of each cheese and then sprinkle on top remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until bubbly and top is a nice golden colour. Turn off oven and leave in oven to set for 10 minutes, Remove from oven and set aside for an additional 10 minutes before serving.
SERVINGS 10 | PREP & COOK TIME 1.45 hours