Lentil & Eggplant Moussaka

There are probably only a handful of things that can only properly be accomplished in one singular way. The first that comes to mind right now is the squat. All you fitness buffs know there’s only one way to do it correctly. Lucky for me, I got some reassurance from Tony yesterday that mine are pretty close (thanks!). But take something like loading the dishwasher – many people will tell you there’s only one way, but really, it’s just their way. Moussaka falls into the latter category. So on our last night in Mykonos when I saw a menu describing the moussaka simply as “done in the correct way” – I giggled, but couldn’t resist. It would be a total crime to come home from Greece without having the proper moussaka.

That moussaka was super delicious, I’ll admit. But that guy who decided his moussaka was “correct” would probably have all kinds of problems with mine. First, the glaring omission of the lamb – or any kind of meat, for that matter. Second, this moussaka is stuffed with lentils and chickpeas but there isn’t a potato in sight (actually, I hear potatoes are up for up for debate when it comes to making moussaka correctly; it really depends on who you ask.) And lastly, this moussaka is slathered in yogurt. Seriously, what’s that doing in there?

Just like everything else, it’s contributing harmoniously to this correctly-made moussaka. I know it’s correct because I’ve made it three times, with a few tweaks each time to make it so. I don’t tire of bringing it for lunch three days in a row for two weeks back to back – and why would I, when it’s so mouth-watering and hearty and nutritious? It got just about all gobbled up at a dinner party recently, so I know I’m not the only one who adores it.

I’m sure there are many way to make moussaka correctly (I’m trying to be open minded here.) But this one, with its thick layers of velvety eggplant, hearty vegetables in a warm cinnamon-spiced tomato sauce, and protein-rich cheesy baked topping? Well, I can’t think of anything wrong about it.

Eggplant & Lentil Moussaka
Adapted from Fat-Free Vegetarian, via Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
Makes 6 generous servings

2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4 inch thick (to yield ~ 2lbs sliced eggplant)
1/2 cup (90gm) lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 10oz package sliced fresh portobello mushrooms
1 (14.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 whole cinnamon sticks
1 1/4 cups (280gm) fat free plain Greek yogurt
3 eggs
3 oz freshly grated pecorino romano cheese (or other hard grating cheese)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sprinkle the eggplant slices generously with salt, and place them in a colander in the sink.

Pick over lentils and rinse. Place the lentils, stock, and bay leaf in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Keep warm.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Cook the onions, letting them sweat out, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until their moisture has been released, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Drain and reserve any unabsorbed liquid from the lentils, and add to pan along with chickpeas, fresh and canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until thickened. If sauce gets too thick, add a few tablespoons of reserved vegetable broth. If sauce is thin, uncover and increase heat.

Rinse eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. While sauce is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Using a little of the olive oil at a time and working in batches, cook all of the eggplant slices for about 5 minutes, turning once, so that they are lightly browned on each side. (Alternatively, arrange the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet, brush with olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray, and cook under the broiler for 5-6 minutes per side.)

Remove cinnamon sticks from lentil mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place one third of the eggplant slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with one third of the lentil mixture. Repeat the layers twice, and press the top down with the back of a spatula.

Whisk together eggs and yogurt until mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Pour yogurt mixture on top of moussaka and top with grated cheese. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 341.0
Total Fat: 12.1 g
Cholesterol: 121.2 mg
Sodium: 759.6 mg
Total Carbs: 40.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 14.2 g
Protein: 22.9 g

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58 Responses to “Lentil & Eggplant Moussaka”

  1. 1

    Amy Green — October 19, 2010 @ 2:17 pm Reply

    I saw your pic on Facebook and thought, hmm…that looks like something I've made before. So I clicked over and, yep, it sure is. Honestly, I don't think I'd know a correct moussaka if it hit me in the face. But, I do know a little about good food and this totally qualifies.Hugs!Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  2. 2

    Tasha — October 19, 2010 @ 2:34 pm Reply

    I pretty much never eat red meat, but I am always willing to make an exception for Moussaka. I just love it. But made with chickpeas and lentils- two of my favorite ingredients!- sounds way better. And the yogurt topping, so much healthier. I will definitely be giving this a try in the near future.

  3. 3

    delishliving.com — October 19, 2010 @ 2:45 pm Reply

    i would prefer this without the meat anyhow… it looks delicious, i love the combination of ingredients. i also, wouldn't know moussaka if it hit me in the face, so yours looks pretty darn perfect to me!

  4. 4

    Jennifurla — October 19, 2010 @ 3:14 pm Reply

    This looks hearty and wonderful

  5. 5

    flavourfulbounty — October 19, 2010 @ 4:57 pm Reply

    This looks right up my alley! If it tastes great, I think it was made properly. :)

  6. 6

    Barbara — October 19, 2010 @ 5:09 pm Reply

    I don't think I have ever had a moussaka without lamb, Cara, but lentils would take the place of lamb. This really looks excellent!

  7. 7

    Joanne — October 19, 2010 @ 5:15 pm Reply

    After very careful inspection, I totally agree with your declaration of this as the CORRECT moussaka! i'm always up for lentils instead of lamb anyway. Good stuff.

  8. 8

    Healthy Mamma — October 19, 2010 @ 6:57 pm Reply

    This sounds like my new fav meal! I too rarely if ever eat red meat but might make an exeption for this moussaka! thanks for sharing.oh, btw, I found your blog while searching for a curry butternut squash recipe. Yours is wonderful and i can't wait to try it!~gwen

  9. 9

    Dawn — October 19, 2010 @ 7:08 pm Reply

    Wow I've never made it but I'm sold!

  10. 10

    Notes from the Fatty File — October 19, 2010 @ 7:38 pm Reply

    This looks fantastic! I am always looking for veggie, prep-ahead entrees for when I host my (dork alert!) book club (we have some vegetarians in the group). I love eggplant and I love greek flavors. I will have to put this on the to-make list!

  11. 11

    Maria — October 20, 2010 @ 2:00 am Reply

    I will be making this one! Love it!

  12. 12

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — October 20, 2010 @ 2:11 am Reply

    Traditional/proper doesn't matter. Yes, squats should always be done a certain way. When it comes to cooking I love when people like you create "traditional" dishes with a twist. The lentils, chickpeas & yogurt in this Moussaka sound great!

  13. 13

    Liz — October 20, 2010 @ 2:17 pm Reply

    Lentils and chickpeas in a moussaka sounds quite creative. I've never seen it prepared this way. Sounds like a good twist.

  14. 14

    Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher — October 20, 2010 @ 8:39 pm Reply

    hey! i've never heard of a moussaka and mixing eggplant and lentil certainly sounds interesting. hhmmm. i'm really really picky about eggplant. moussaka looks like lasagna kind of. it sure looks hearty!

  15. 15

    Kira — October 20, 2010 @ 11:16 pm Reply

    I really like the addition of mushrooms. Sounds delicious!

  16. 16

    grace — October 21, 2010 @ 10:27 pm Reply

    i love moussaka! interestingly enough, i always think of 'my big fat greek wedding' where the little girl calls it moose kaka. i laughed, but i still love it. your variation is great!

  17. 17

    Penny — January 10, 2011 @ 1:57 am Reply

    I just made this tonight and it was fabulous! Thank you for posting!

  18. 18

    bevvbevv — January 18, 2011 @ 2:36 am Reply

    This is in my oven right now!!! I'm afraid I forgot to see if the lentils were cooked before adding them to the other pot, but we'll see. It looked divine. Plus, all the prep was very therapeutic.

  19. 19

    Cara — January 18, 2011 @ 2:42 am Reply

    @bevv, I'm slightly jealous, I haven't made this one in a while. You're gonna love it! (at least, I hope so.) I bet that the lentils will cook a bit more in the oven, so you'll be fine.

  20. 20

    K — January 22, 2011 @ 11:24 pm Reply

    In the oven right now!! Smells amaaaazzzzing. I've been wanting to make this ever since you posted it. So excited!!! :-)

  21. 21

    Maria — March 27, 2011 @ 3:07 am Reply

    I wish this was my lunch!

  22. 22

    K — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    In the oven right now!! Smells amaaaazzzzing. I've been wanting to make this ever since you posted it. So excited!!! :-)

  23. 23

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    @bevv, I'm slightly jealous, I haven't made this one in a while. You're gonna love it! (at least, I hope so.) I bet that the lentils will cook a bit more in the oven, so you'll be fine.

  24. 24

    Cara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    @bevv, I'm slightly jealous, I haven't made this one in a while. You're gonna love it! (at least, I hope so.) I bet that the lentils will cook a bit more in the oven, so you'll be fine.

  25. 25

    bevvbevv — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    This is in my oven right now!!! I'm afraid I forgot to see if the lentils were cooked before adding them to the other pot, but we'll see. It looked divine. Plus, all the prep was very therapeutic.

  26. 26

    Penny — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I just made this tonight and it was fabulous! Thank you for posting!

  27. 27

    grace — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    i love moussaka! interestingly enough, i always think of 'my big fat greek wedding' where the little girl calls it moose kaka. i laughed, but i still love it. your variation is great!

  28. 28

    Kira — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I really like the addition of mushrooms. Sounds delicious!

  29. 29

    Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    hey! i've never heard of a moussaka and mixing eggplant and lentil certainly sounds interesting. hhmmm. i'm really really picky about eggplant. moussaka looks like lasagna kind of. it sure looks hearty!

  30. 30

    Liz — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    Lentils and chickpeas in a moussaka sounds quite creative. I've never seen it prepared this way. Sounds like a good twist.

  31. 31

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    Traditional/proper doesn't matter. Yes, squats should always be done a certain way. When it comes to cooking I love when people like you create "traditional" dishes with a twist. The lentils, chickpeas & yogurt in this Moussaka sound great!

  32. 32

    Maria — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I will be making this one! Love it!

  33. 33

    Notes from the Fatty File — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    This looks fantastic! I am always looking for veggie, prep-ahead entrees for when I host my (dork alert!) book club (we have some vegetarians in the group). I love eggplant and I love greek flavors. I will have to put this on the to-make list!

  34. 34

    Dawn — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    Wow I've never made it but I'm sold!

  35. 35

    Healthy Mamma — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    This sounds like my new fav meal! I too rarely if ever eat red meat but might make an exeption for this moussaka! thanks for sharing.oh, btw, I found your blog while searching for a curry butternut squash recipe. Yours is wonderful and i can't wait to try it!~gwen

  36. 36

    Healthy Mamma — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    This sounds like my new fav meal! I too rarely if ever eat red meat but might make an exeption for this moussaka! thanks for sharing.oh, btw, I found your blog while searching for a curry butternut squash recipe. Yours is wonderful and i can't wait to try it!~gwen

  37. 37

    Barbara — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I don't think I have ever had a moussaka without lamb, Cara, but lentils would take the place of lamb. This really looks excellent!

  38. 38

    flavourfulbounty — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    This looks right up my alley! If it tastes great, I think it was made properly. :)

  39. 39

    Jennifurla — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    This looks hearty and wonderful

  40. 40

    delishliving.com — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    i would prefer this without the meat anyhow… it looks delicious, i love the combination of ingredients. i also, wouldn't know moussaka if it hit me in the face, so yours looks pretty darn perfect to me!

  41. 41

    Amy Green — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I saw your pic on Facebook and thought, hmm…that looks like something I've made before. So I clicked over and, yep, it sure is. Honestly, I don't think I'd know a correct moussaka if it hit me in the face. But, I do know a little about good food and this totally qualifies.Hugs!Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

  42. 42

    Tasha — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I pretty much never eat red meat, but I am always willing to make an exception for Moussaka. I just love it. But made with chickpeas and lentils- two of my favorite ingredients!- sounds way better. And the yogurt topping, so much healthier. I will definitely be giving this a try in the near future.

  43. 43

    Maria — March 28, 2011 @ 8:35 pm Reply

    I wish this was my lunch!

  44. 44

    Joanne — March 28, 2011 @ 8:36 pm Reply

    After very careful inspection, I totally agree with your declaration of this as the CORRECT moussaka! i'm always up for lentils instead of lamb anyway. Good stuff.

  45. 45

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    Traditional/proper doesn't matter. Yes, squats should always be done a certain way. When it comes to cooking I love when people like you create "traditional" dishes with a twist. The lentils, chickpeas & yogurt in this Moussaka sound great!

  46. 46

    Dawn — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    Wow I've never made it but I'm sold!

  47. 47

    flavourfulbounty — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    This looks right up my alley! If it tastes great, I think it was made properly. :)

  48. 48

    Tasha — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    I pretty much never eat red meat, but I am always willing to make an exception for Moussaka. I just love it. But made with chickpeas and lentils- two of my favorite ingredients!- sounds way better. And the yogurt topping, so much healthier. I will definitely be giving this a try in the near future.

  49. 49

    Dawn — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    Wow I've never made it but I'm sold!

  50. 50

    Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    hey! i've never heard of a moussaka and mixing eggplant and lentil certainly sounds interesting. hhmmm. i'm really really picky about eggplant. moussaka looks like lasagna kind of. it sure looks hearty!

  51. 51

    bevvbevv — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    This is in my oven right now!!! I'm afraid I forgot to see if the lentils were cooked before adding them to the other pot, but we'll see. It looked divine. Plus, all the prep was very therapeutic.

  52. 52

    K — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    In the oven right now!! Smells amaaaazzzzing. I've been wanting to make this ever since you posted it. So excited!!! :-)

  53. 53

    K — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    In the oven right now!! Smells amaaaazzzzing. I've been wanting to make this ever since you posted it. So excited!!! :-)

  54. 54

    Liz — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    Lentils and chickpeas in a moussaka sounds quite creative. I've never seen it prepared this way. Sounds like a good twist.

  55. 55

    Maria — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    I will be making this one! Love it!

  56. 56

    Healthy Mamma — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    This sounds like my new fav meal! I too rarely if ever eat red meat but might make an exeption for this moussaka! thanks for sharing.oh, btw, I found your blog while searching for a curry butternut squash recipe. Yours is wonderful and i can't wait to try it!~gwen

  57. 57

    Jennifurla — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    This looks hearty and wonderful

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