Vegetarian Moussaka

At last.  Success. 

Last year sometime my mum and I shared a vegetarian moussaka made by Marks and Spencers.  It was superb.  By far the best ready made meal I had/have ever ever tasted.  Not content with the knowledge that I could simply pop downtown and pick up another ready made meal, I decided that I was going to master the dish myself.

Easier said than done, I must say.  It’s taken several months, a ton of lentils, a lot of tantrums and more than one grimace from D, but I have, at last, created a vegetarian moussaka that is every bit as delicious (dare I say, perhaps even more) than the Markies version.

Phew.  Think I deserve a drink now.  :)

Vegetarian Moussaka

(serves 4 generously)

2 aubergines, sliced finely

75g brown lentils

75g puy lentils

2 onions, one halved and the other chopped

2 bay leaves

Olive oil

2 red peppers, chopped finely

1 stick of celery, chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 tspn dried thyme

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Glass of wine

Dash of Worchestershire Sauce

600 ml bechamel sauce

150g feta, grated

2 egg whites

Parmesan cheese, grated

Seasoning

  • Griddle or fry the aubergine slices in olive oil for a few minutes on each side until browned and almost cooked through.  Set aside until ready to assemble the moussaka.
  • Make the bechamel sauce (I always use this method) and stir though the feta cheese.  Set aside.
  • Add the brown lentils and puy lentils to seperate pans along with half an onion and a bay leaf each.  Cover with water and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until cooked – approximately 25 mins for brown and 40 for puy.  Drain, reserving the cooking liquid but discarding the bay leaves and onions.
  • Meanwhile, gently fry the onion in a glug of olive oil for 10 minutes until translucent.  Add the pepper and celery and fry for another 10 minutes.  The onion should be golden and the pepper and celery almost cooked through.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minutes more.
  • Add the cooked lentils to the vegetables and stir well.  Add the tomatoes and wine.  Stir well, increase heat and bring to the boil, adding some of the lentil cooking liquid if the mixture is too dry.
  • Add Worchestershire sauce and seasoning to taste and set aside.
  • Optional – whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Use a large metal spoon to stir through the bechamel sauce.  This creates a really light and puffy sauce.  Normal bechamel is great too, of course.
  • Assemble the moussaka – one layer of aubergine, a thick layer of the lentil mixture, another layer of aubergine, bechamel sauce and a generous topping of parmesan cheese.
  • Bake in a 180oC oven for 35 minutes until golden and bubbling.

26 thoughts on “Vegetarian Moussaka

  1. I’ve never tried a M&S meal, so I’ll take your word for how delicious it is. It’s sure to be nowhere as delicious as yours sounds!!!! One for me to try, I think.
    Thanks.

  2. Oooh, well done. I have one of the very same Marks and Spencer Moussaka in my freezer – they are lovely. So far I have resisted the temptation to try and make a lower fat version as I think this is one of those recipes where it is probably better just to eat it a little less often and enjoy in all of its cheesey goodness

  3. Wendy, what do you call that jar that traps the sunlight in your photo of Marco taken on November 30? I’m sure you mentioned it but I’ve forgotten!

  4. Jane – Knew I wasn’t the only one!

    Trekkie – Let me know how it goes if you do. :)

    Maninas – Thanks!

    Sophie – Yeah, I tried a lower fat version and it just didn’t hit the mark at all.

    Susan! Hello! Doing great, cheers. Hope you are too. :)

    Yvonne – It’s a Sun Jar. I bought my own from Hawkins Bizaar – http://www.hawkin.com/find/keyword-is-sun+jar/product-is-07806?SearchIsReferrer=true
    It’s a wonderful little thing but it does need complete darkness to work at night. Even a street light stops it from lighting up.

    Sophie – Thank you! :)

    Aforkfullofspaghetti – Do you mean the one in the lentils or the one in my hand? ;) Personally, I think they are both key to the success!

    Abby – Thank you! Let me know what you think. :)

  5. Wendy, if you intended to link to a way to make bechamel sauce with your parenthetical (I always use this method) — you didn’t actually link a recipe.
    If you didn’t, just ignore me. :)

  6. Looks absolutely superb! Am planning to master lentils this year so think that I should perhaps start here. I bet this is super tasy and miles better than the Marks version (…which I’ve also had and loved!).

  7. Pingback: Vegan Greek moussaka : Thrifty Living

  8. Hi,

    I live in Los Angeles and I’m having a devil of a time finding puy lentils.
    From what I’ve read online the puy lentils are absolutely delish. But! I wanted to know if it would be worth making if I could only use poorer quality lentils?
    I’m really looking forward to trying this Moussaka. Is there another kind of lentil I could successfully substitute for them?

      • Hi Stacey,

        I’m very grateful!

        Thanks to your advice, I called my local Bristol Farms. I’m happy to report that not only did they know what they were, but they also had them in stock. And at a reasonable price too.

        Now I have a lovely new lentil with which to expand my legume cooking repertoire. :)

  9. Kada – Hello. Bumber that you can’t find Puy lentils. They are also known as French green lentils… Perhaps they’re labelled as that? I’m sure this dish would be just as nice with another kind of lentil that holds its shape whilst cooking. Brown, perhaps. A little flavour might be lost but the other ingredients will make up for it. The only disappointing thing about the dish might be the colour. The puy lentils make the sauce a lovely dark, rich colour.

    • Wendy!

      I made the Moussaka this afternoon, for dinner tomorrow night.

      Like all new recipes it was a little fiddly, but I know I’ll get better at it with practice. And plenty of practice there shall be! I couldn’t help myself. It smelt so good, I had to take a little spoonful from one corner of the dish before putting it away in the fridge.

      Was pretty damn fab! (Said as someone who used to be a chef in a Greek buffet restaurant.) REALLY looking forward to it tomorrow, once it’s had time to do that wonderful thing lasagnes, stews, casseroles etcetera do as they age. :)

  10. Looks like a lovely recipe, however there is one minor problem with it – Worcester sauce is NOT vegetarian. It is made with anchovies.

  11. After spending an evening on the internet searching for ingredients to try and recreate M & S version of vegetarian mousaka I couldn’t believe my luck when i came across your site. I’m looking forward to trying out your version!

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