Moussaka is Greece’s answer to lasagne, but without the pasta. This vegetarian version takes it one step further by replacing the meat with lentils. The flavours work a treat and it’s just as hearty, so serve it to one and all and see if anyone notices the difference.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp picked lemon thyme leaves
- 400 g tin tomatoes with herbs
- 400 g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup picked oregano leaves
- salt and black pepper
- 140 g chargrilled eggplant slices, cut into 3 cm pieces
- 80 g fresh ricotta
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) Greek yoghurt
- 1 egg
- mixed green leaves, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 200˚C. Brush 2 x 500 ml oven-proof dishes with olive oil.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon thyme and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3–4 minutes or until the onion softens. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and cook until heated through. Stir through the eggplant and oregano, and season to taste.
Whisk the ricotta and yoghurt together until smooth. Add the egg and whisk until combined. Season to taste. Spoon the ricotta over the lentils and sprinkle with extra lemon thyme.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 18–20 minutes until golden. Serve immediately with green leaves.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.
Robert Welch mulberry fork from Tomkin.