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!
- 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
- Preheat the over to 350F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.