Vegetarian Moussaka

One of my coworkers was telling me about how he’d recently enjoyed this marvelous vegetarian lasagna at a restaurant that he’d just gone to, and he described it with such passion that he gave me this irresistible craving to have some, right then and there.

Since, as you probably know, I’m off grains for a little while, lasagna is off limits for me at the moment. I decided that I would have the next best thing, instead, a vegetarian moussaka.

I’m not even quite sure now that it still qualifies at the next best thing, anymore. Not sure which of the two I like best…

Since I’d been trying my hand at making my own soy milk at home (more on that to come soon!), I decided to soak and cook some extra black soy beans to use in my moussaka, along with my usual chickpeas.

When I told my co-worker about my plan, he made me swear to bring him a piece of the resulting dish for him to get a taste.

Now I was really, but really intimidated to do that. You know, I’m strange like that. I don’t mind having people from all over the world read and try my recipes, but I have a very hard time having people actually taste the food that I make myself.

Yeah, I know. I’m weird. You don’t have to remind me! ;)

When I brought him his piece, I was really nervous and sort of came up with thousands of excuses as to why it didn’t turn out all that great, you know, and not to expect too much. I’d been in the mood for cumin, and maybe I shouldn’t have used it. Also, I’d added fennel seeds, maybe it had been a mistake after all, I wasn’t too sure anymore…

That same afternoon, I had a piece for lunch and I retasted it as if for the first time, and very objectively.

The verdict was that I couldn’t have been more pleased with this dish. The flavors worked perfectly. The texture of the chickpeas and soy beans was excellent. The thin aubergine slices melted in my mouth, like they’re supposed to, and the “bechamel” sauce added a glorious touch of smooth and tangy creaminess.

From start to finish, this dish was a complete success.

I wouldn’t change a thing!

As for my co-worker? He really LOVED it, and had nothing but good GREAT things to say about it.

He, however, would change one tiny little thing: he’d peel the aubergine.

Sacrilege! I happen to love aubergine skin.

But if, like him, you don’t care for it, be my guest and peel them.

You won’t get me to do it, though! 

Vegetarian Moussaka

Yield: Serves 6

Nutritional Information based on 1 of 6 servings

Vegetarian Moussaka

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large aubergine, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 300g cooked black soy beans
  • 2 tbsp salted herbs
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 ¼ cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 100g Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the over to 350F.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the cooked chickpeas and black soy beans to your food processor and process on pulse until reduced to a coarse grain consistency. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Stir in the chickpeas and black soy beans, tomatoes, seasonings and water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in spinach leaves and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat.
  5. 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.
  6. In a food processor, process the yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, buttermilk 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.
http://thehealthyfoodie.com/vegetarian-moussaka/

 

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Comments

  1. Joann says

    This is so not what I was expecting when I got an email on my phone from The Healthy Foodie with the subject New Post! While I’m sure this is a lovely dish, it is also a cruel April Fool’s Day joke on me! Now where is that smoothie post??? :)

    • says

      OMG, Joann, you are nuts!!! I laughed so hard when I saw your comment… was just about ready to hit the sack when it landed in my inbox… I must’ve laughed for a good 5 minutes straight.

      Just for that, you’ll get your smoothie post tonight, promised! :D

      • Joann says

        HAHA – glad I could make you laugh!! I think laughing is as good for you as eating healthy.

  2. Bana says

    Hi.. this looks amazing. I’m not sure I have access to black soy beans.. do they come in a can like chickpeas or do you buy them dry and cook them? What would you use if you couldn’t get black soy beans? Also.. what are salted herbs? I’ve followed a link here from Pinterest so I’ve unfortunately not got a history with your blog… yet!! Its on my favs now :-)

    • says

      Thanks Bana! Glad you like! If you can’t get your hands on black soy bean, you could very well use regular soy beans, regular black beans (turtle) or any other bean that you like for that matter. It really is not an exact science and you can very well improvise here. Same goes for the salted herbs. They are a traditional seasoning here in Quebec and are readily available in any grocery store. You can make your own if you’re up to it, or just sub salt and a few tablespoons of dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano and parsley…

      Thank you so much for saying this place is one of your favs now! I am truly flattered! :D

    • says

      Thank you so much Nora, I am really, truly honoured! I tried leaving a comment on your site, but I seem to be having a very hard time. For some reason, WP wants me to log in and when I do, it then tells me that my comment is duplicate and won’t allow me to post! This has been going on for a couple of weeks now, which is why you don’t see comments by me on your site anymore. I tried contacting you via your contact form, but I’m not even certain that you got that either. Not sure what’s going on… this is very new! I have the same issue on Lauren’s blog. I’ll have to look into it!

  3. says

    Ooooh I haven’t had moussaka for donkeys years! I’m not a veggie, but I don’t eat ground meat so this is perfect for me. Have saved for another day, thanks.

    BTW You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  4. Kate says

    Just made this recipe and was really disappointed with the results. The flavor is nice but there is just so much liquid it’s a huge mess. I definately wouldn’t be able to cut nice slices like yours.

    • says

      So sorry to hear this didn’t turn out for you, Kate! I too, did have a little bit of liquid at the bottom, but not that much… sounds like you had a lot! Did you remove some of the liquid from the aubergine by salting them and weighing them down for a while?

    • says

      Kate, I am so extremely sorry. In light of Bonnie’s latest comment, it turns out I had made a mistake in the recipe and added a quantity of water that should not have been there. No wonder you ended up with a pool of liquid at the bottom!

      I sincerely apologize for that. You can’t even begin to imagine just how bad I feel. I hope that if you decide to give it another try, you will have better success this time!

      Again, so, so sorry!

  5. Bonnie says

    I just assembled this recipe for dinner, and I have two comments. The first addresses the comment above, where the writer complains of too much liquid. There is a mistake in the ingredients list — you have water listed twice, with two different amounts (1 cup, and then 2 1/2 cups). I had a good idea of what the texture of the filling should be, so went with about 1 1/2 cups, then reduced as necessary to produce a mostly solid filling. Also, since Moussaka is a Greek dish, why not add some feta cheese to the topping? Since cheddar melts better, it can be a mixture of cheeses, making for a lovely texture AND taste. My Moussaka is baking now, cannot WAIT to try it! Lovely!!

    • says

      OMG, Bonnie, you are so right! The firt 2½ cups of water should NOT be there, I have no idea how it got there, really. So it’s only 1 cup of water total. Oh my… now I feel extremely bad. Thank you so much for noting that AND mentioning it. I will go and correct the recipe right away.

      As for the addition of Feta cheese? I love it! I wish I’d thought about it myself! ;) Thanks for the inspiration.

      I really hope your moussaka turned out! Feel free to share your impressions, I sure would love to hear them.

      And thanks again for the correction. Seriously. You have no idea just how much I appreciate your letting me know! You rock! =D

  6. Bonnie says

    Well, the Moussaka was fantastic! It pretty much looked just like your “finished” pictures, and it tasted great! As a side note, I did NOT peel the eggplant (why dispose of all that fiber??), and I substituted black beans for the soy beans. The addition of feta cheese to the top gave a slightly tangy flavor to the dish. I was so happy with it, I actually posted a pic of the just-baked casserole, along with a link to the recipe, on my FB page. I am “retraining” my diabetic partner on how to eat right, and he loved this dish. He is definitely a convert to the idea that good eating doesn’t have to be boring! Thanks for helping me in the cause… I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

    • says

      OH YAY! Soooooo happy to hear. Wow. This is all music to my ear! I would LOOOVE to see that picture too! Is it viewable on your fb page?

      Thank you so much for your great feedback Bonnie, I really, sincerely appreciate your taking the time to do that! You’re simply awesome! =D

  7. Emma says

    I’m trying your recipe tonight, I’m in Australia and have never seen black soy beans, so I’m just trying it without! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  8. says

    My husband found an eggplant when he escaped to Yellowknife in the weekend so we are cooking this tonight – looking forward to it! Will try to avoid it going watery as people have mentioned, but no harm in serving it with fresh sourdough ciabatta to soak it up :)Any chance you have nutritional information for it handy?

    • says

      Totally agree with you Christina! Nothing like a good piece of bread to take care of extra yummy liquid…

      Hope the moussaka turns out! Let me know how you like it. Oh, now you got me wanting a piece so bad. I can almost taste it!

      Oh, and I added the nutritional information for you! :)

      • says

        It was perfect! We loved this one. Only a little extra liquid which was great with the rye sourdough. Ours served 8 – 10, 4 large pieces tonight with at least 4 left over (can’t wait to have it for lunch again tomorrow). So that would change nutrition info too of course. Thanks for that though! We used lots of fresh parsley throughout and added olives within and feta on top. Wonderful with all those beans (I used black beans, white beans and chickpeas). Thanks once again for a great recipe!

  9. Judith says

    I live in Sydney, Australia. My vegetarian son is arriving home this week after living overseas for a few years. I was looking for a great vegetarian dish to make for a family dinner. Your Moussaka looks wonderful! Instead of the chick peas and black beans, I shall use lots of grated vegetables (mushrooms, carrots and zuccini) plus red lentils (which will dissolve after a short while of simmering in the sauce). I love the look of your healthy low fat topping (I shall use low fat cottage cheese)and adding some low fat Fetta I’m sure will be delicious.
    Thank you!

  10. Neeta says

    Absolutely love Moussaka. In the midwest, even if one found it, not vegetarian! Awesome looking dish – I am tempted to make it ASAP. Pray tell me, 3720mgs of sodium in one serving is a typo?!!

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