Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Described by some as a Greek variation of lasagna, traditional moussaka is made by layering a meaty lamb-based tomato sauce with fried or roasted eggplant slices and a rich Bechamel cream sauce in a casserole dish before topping it with cheese and baking. Sounds like the quintessential form of global comfort food, right? I agree! But the classic dish is also pretty labor-intensive, as well as loaded in calories, saturated fat, and sodium.
This vegetarian variation manages to deliver the same flavors and heartiness that the classic dish is known for but in a healthier way by swapping the lamb for lentils and the Bechamel for a lighted cheese sauce. The result is a delicious, satisfying meal that also packs plenty of calcium and iron.
- 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
- 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5-oz) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ cup cooked lentils
- ½ cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp nutmeg, divided
- ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups 1% milk
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Place eggplant slices on clean kitchen towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse salt off eggplant; pat dry.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss eggplant and zucchini slices with 1 Tbsp olive oil, garlic powder, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Spread across a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast vegetables 15 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool.
3. While vegetables roast, heat 1 ½ tsp oil in a large skillet with sides. Saute onion and garlic in hot oil 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, broth, oregano, ½ tsp nutmeg, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook 12 minutes.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of eggplant and zucchini, 1/3 cup feta cheese, and 1/2 of tomato mixture. Repeat layers, finishing the last 1/3 of eggplant and zucchini on top.
5. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
6. While casserole bakes, melt butter with 1 ½ tsp oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir flour into butter. Then slowly whisk in milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in pepper, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Pour over casserole, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
NUTRITION FACTS (per 1/8 of casserole): Calories 210; Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 3g); Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 470mg; Total Carbs 25g (Dietary Fiber 7g, Total Sugars 8g, Added Sugars 0g); Protein 11g.
This recipe is from Comfort Foods From Around the World.