It’s MOUSSAKA MADNESS time guys. Moussaka is a dish that I don’t have very often, simply because it does require a little more effort to make, similar to lasagna. It is traditionally a meat-based dish, with layers of aubergine and/or potato, depending on the region. But while on holidays recently in Spain, I enjoyed a gorgeous aubergine lamb moussaka, and made a pact with myself to try it my hand at it when I got home! So here we are, me sharing my success with you! In my quest to eat a more vegetarian diet, I decided to make this a plant-powered moussaka. However, as is my custom, because it reflects my own diet, I have included a note below for those who want to make this WITH meat, to show you the very slight change in recipe instructions. So whether you’re vegetarian or a part-time veggie or a happy out meat-eater, this dish is one you can try your hand at! I made this for work lunches last week, and I have to say, I was excited to tuck into it every day! I am just LOVING how much more creative I am with recipes BECAUSE I’m intentionally making them vegetarian. That’s not to say I wasn’t creative before, but NOT structuring my meals around meat really does make me think outside of my recipe box. Plus I get to share those success with you! So, let’s cook people!
Recipe (Serves 4-5)
For the Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil, for cooking
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- A pinch of sea salt & black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp balsalmic or red wine vinegar (I used red wine but either is lovely!)
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 red onion
- 2 aubergines
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 courgette
- 1 400g tin of black beans
- 100g of yellow split peas or red/green lentils
- 2 400ml tins of chopped tomatoes
- NOTE: If you want this to be a more meaty dish, you could leave out the split peas/lentils or the beans (or both if you want), and use lamb, beef or turkey mince instead. In terms of cooking, just add the mince after you cook the onions, and add the veggies after the mince is browned over, then continue as per my instructions!
For the Topping
- 250g Natural Yoghurt (I used Glenisk Natural Flavour Protein Yoghurt)
- 50g Parmesan, finely grated (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top)
Step 1: Make the Sauce
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C (fan oven). Line a baking tray or roasting tin with tinfoil.
- Slice the aubergines into 1/2 inch thick circular rounds, and place onto the baking trays. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over them.
- Dice the garlic cloves, and chop up the rest of your veggies – red onion, peppers, carrot and courgette. This is a VEGGIE-PACKED dish guys, so once that prep bit is done, that’s most of the work! Set the veggies aside except for the red onion.
- Now you’re gonna multi-task like a BOSS. Once the oven is ready, place the aubergines in for about 20-25 minutes total, flipping them half-way.
- Get a large pot out, and heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and red onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
- Add the spices and herbs (cinnamon, oregano, basil, paprika, coriander) to the pot, and cook for another few minutes so the onions are coated.
- Add ALL of your veggies, followed by the beans and yellow split peas.
- Tomatoes time! Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes plus a little extra water from rinsing out the tomato cans.
- Stir all that goodness up, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and a twist of black pepper, and bring the mixture to the boil.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover it, and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes.
- At this stage, your aubergine slices are probably done, so remove them from the oven and set aside while your sauce simmers. Leave the oven on as you will need it to cook the assembled moussaka!
Step 2: Make the Topping
- Grate the parmesan into a small bowl.
- Scoop the yoghurt in with it, and mix the two together until well combined.
Step 3: Moussaka Construction
- Time to build your feast! You will need a baking dish as you would use for a lasagna, so about 2 inches deep or so. What you’re going to do is layer the moussaka as follows – sauce, followed by a layer of aubergines, then sauce again, followed by a second aubergine layer, then finally a third sauce layer, and finished with your yoghurt/parmesan topping!
- Turn off the heat on your sauce. Scoop out your first layer of sauce into the base of the dish, and ensure it is evenly spread out. You want the layer to be about 1/3-1/2 inch deep each time depending on your baking dish!
- Layer half of your aubergine slices on top (see the photo above for what I mean!)
- Scoop out your second sauce layer, and then place the other half of the aubergine slices onto that.
- Next, scoop out the third sauce layer. Now it’s topping time! Take your yoghurt/cheese mix and spread it over the sauce, again aiming to keep it distributed pretty evenly on top.
- Time to cook! Place the moussaka into the oven for about 20 minutes, until the top becomes slightly browned.
- FINISHED! Leave to cool for about 5 minutes, then get slicing and serving!
Enjoy guys! I really hope you like this one, I was VERY proud of how it turned out, especially since it was such a last minute decision to try it out! Tag me if you try it – @theirishbalance on Instagram or Twitter!
Ciara 🙂 x