Vegetable Moussaka


VEGETABLE MOUSSAKA

OK, so I tried another recipe from my new Vegetarian Bible. That one was a little more extensive than what I usually make, for I tend to cook things that are real quick and easy, but this one was very well worth it! Especially after having spent most of the day outside, freezing my butt off to install Christmas lights and decorations, it sure felt nice to spend a couple of hours next to a warm oven, preparing a nice hearty meal! There was something comforting about the whole experience.

 Here is the recipe, pretty much as it appears in the book. However, I haven’t made it quite exactly as described. I had to make a few changes here and there… it seems I am absolutely incapable of following a recipe to a tee.

For instance, I used a big can of Diced tomatoes, instead of the little one that the recipe calls for, I sautéed my mushrooms first in a skillet and then added the onions and the rest of the stuff, I used dried chick peas instead of canned (cooked them first, of course!) and I grilled the Aubergines in the oven under the broiler instead of in a pan, to save on the oil! Oh, and I also used almost twice the quantity of Aubergines. I didn’t have the Herbes the Provence, so I used Oregano and Basil instead and had to leave the Tomatoe Purée out, for I didn’t have any on hand.

That’s what’s great about cooking, you can always improvise and add your own personal touch. Anyway, I think you should really give that one a try. On a cold winter night, I would say it definitely falls into the Comfort Food category.

 Ingredients

450g Aubergines, sliced
115g Whole green lentils
2 ½ cups Vegetable stock
1 Bay Leaf
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, sliced
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
225g Mushrooms, sliced
400g canned Chick Peas, rinsed and drained
400g canned Diced Tomatoes
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
2 tbsp Dried Herbes de Provence
1 ¼ cup Plain Yogurt
3 Eggs
50g Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh Flat leaf Parsley to garnish

Directions

– Sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt and place in a colander. Cover and place a weight on top. Leave for at least 30 minutes to allow the bitter juices to be extracted.
– Meanwhile, place the lentils, stock and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are just tender but not mushy. Add a little extra water if necessary. Drain thoroughly and keep warm.
– Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Stir in the lentils, mushrooms, chick peas, tomatoes, tomato purée, herbs and 3 tbsp water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
– Preheat the over to 350oF. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the slices in batch for 3 – 4 minutes, turning once to brown both sides.
– Season the lentil mixture with salt and pepper. Arrange a layer of aubergine slices in the bottom of a large, shallow, ovenproof dish or roasting tin, then spoon over a layer of the lentil mixture. Continue to build up the layers in this way until all the aubergine slices end lentil mixture are used up.
– Beat the yogurt, eggs, salt and pepper together and pour the mixture over the dish. Sprinkle generously with the grated Cheddar Cheese and bake for about 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately, garnished with the flat leaf parsley.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information  (per portion)
Calories (cal):          328
Total Fat (g):        10.72
Sat. Fat (g):          4.136
Carbs (g):             42.43
Fiber (g):            13.446
Sugar (g):             6.594
Protein (g):           19.07
Sodium (mg):     478.67
Chol. (mg):        121.24
Trans. Fat (g):      0.000

I served this with some crispy oven toasted pita breads. Hmmm Hmmm Good! 

There it was, ready just in time for the Football game!


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