LENTIL WALNUT MOUSSAKA

If you’re a fan of Mediterranean flavors and dishes, this one will NOT disappoint! This plant-based and way healthier take on Greek Moussaka is traditionally made with ground beef or lamb (heaven forbid). I say bah to tradition and hello to health!!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Makes one 9 x 13 casserole

Ingredients

Ingredients for the main filling

  • 2 cups cooked lentils, brown or green
  • 1.5 cups raw walnuts
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 TBS dried sage
  • 1 TBS smokey paprika

Vegetable Filling

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled or not, and roughly chopped
  • 1 can diced, no-salt-added tomatoes, drained (Muir Glen fire-roasted is wonderful)
  • 1 tsp Bragg’s Aminos or other low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TBS Spike salt-free seasoning
  • 1 TBS fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup red wine

Bechamel topping

  • 4 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1½ cups water (or unsweetened non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Optional Garnish

Instructions

Make the Main Filling

  1. Cook lentils according to package directions. For extra flavor, use a no-salt vegetable stock instead of water (or half & half ratio). Lentils should take 25-30 minutes. You want them almost mushy, but still maintain a little bite.
  2. While lentils cook, chop the walnuts to a semi-fine state.
  3. When lentils are done, let them cool slightly before transferring to a large round bowl. Add the chopped walnuts and the rest of the ‘beef’ ingredients. Mix all together well.
  4. Then, using a potato masher, grind the lentils into a semi-paste state. *Option: pulse ¾ of this lentil walnut mix in a food processer just 2-3 times, then mix back into the remaining lentils.

Make the Veggie Filling

  1. Water sauté the onion in large pan until tender.
  2. Add the zucchini, Spike seasoning, liquid aminos and thyme and combine.
  3. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes and add them to the pan.
  4. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated from the veggies.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer for another minute.
  6. Lightly spray oil your 9 x 13 or deep casserole dish.

Making the Potato Bechamel Topping

  1. Steam or boil your cut potatoes until tender.
  2. Using your food processor, add the cooked potatoes, the milk alternative, nutmeg, onion powder and S/P. Mix until creamy and smooth.

Build Casserole

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread a thin layer of the bechamel topping on the bottom of the casserole.
  3. The next layer should be 1/2 of the veggies.
  4. Next add all of the lentil mixture and pat down to smooth it out.
  5. Add the rest of the veggies.
  6. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce, making a thick 1-2″ topping.
  7. You can add some fresh tomato slices if you’d like.
  8. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes.
  9. Take the cover off, add a sprinkle of almond parmesan cheese, and continue baking for about 10-15 more minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it starts to brown slightly and begins to crack around the edges.
  10. Let set for 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving, finishing with your fresh thyme sprigs.