This meat free moussaka may not be traditional but it sure is delicious. It is a dish that can take some time to prepare but the time is well worth the effort. It tastes even better the next day so why not double the recipe?
Ingredients 3 large zucchini, sliced
2 tsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 x 400 g tins green lentils, drained
1 x 420 g tin crushed tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
60 g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
4 1/2 cups milk
100 g cheese, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
In a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of oil to medium heat. Lay the zucchini in a single layer and fry them gently. Place the fried zucchini on paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. Repeat until all the zucchini are fried.
Place 1 tsp of oil in a frying pan and heat to medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes or until the onions have softened. Add the lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Then season with basil, salt and pepper.
While your sauce is simmering it's time to make the bechamel sauce.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and slowly bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in 75 g cheese.
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a baking dish.
To assemble the moussaka, sprinkle half the breadcrumbs across the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 1/2 of the zucchini slices on top of the breadcrumbs. Then top with half the tomato sauce and then half of the cheese sauce. Repeat with another layer of breadcrumbs, zucchini, tomato sauce and top with the remaining bechamel sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining 25 g of cheese over the top.
Bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Allow the moussaka to rest for an hour before slicing.
Note: If you have a family of meat lovers, you can replace the lentils with 500 g of mince beef or lamb. You may not need to use all of the cheese sauce.