Vegan Lentil Moussaka
- 3 medium-large eggplant, sliced in ½ inch thick rounds
- 4 tbsp coconut, or olive oil; divided
- salt, sea
- pepper, black; freshly ground
- 1 cup lentils, French, dried; soaked overnight in purified water with a splash of apple cider vinegar
- 4 medium potatoes, Yukon gold; peeled and quartered
- 2 tbsp olive oil, or ghee; plus more for brushing the mashed potato layer
- 1 large onion, yellow; chopped
- 2 medium carrot, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp thyme, fresh or dried
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp marjoram, (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 lb mushrooms, baby bella or crimini; sliced
- 1 28 oz box or can tomatoes, crushed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tbsp paprika, smoked
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
- handful pine nuts, toasted
- fresh herbs, parsley and dill; chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Prepare two parchment paper-covered baking sheets. Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheets in a single layer, oil with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil/olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes. Flip the slices and roast for another 15 minutes, until silky. Set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 375° F (190° C).
- While the eggplant is roasting, drain and rinse the lentils. Cover them with purified water in a medium pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until cooked, but not mushy. Add salt at the end. Drain over a colander and set aside.
- Place the potatoes in the same pot you used to cook the lentils, cover with purified water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until soft throughout. Add salt at the end, then drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Return the potatoes to the same pot. Mash them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or ghee, black pepper and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water. Taste for salt and adjust if needed. Continue to mash until smooth. Set aside.
- Warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil/olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, if using, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano/thyme/marjoram, if using. Sauté for 7 minutes, until the vegetables soften up. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 8 minutes, until the water released by the mushrooms evaporates and they begin to brown. Add garlic and stir around for another minute.
- Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg, if using, to the pot with the mushrooms. Stir to combine, then cover and cook for 5 minutes for the flavors to incorporate.
- Arrange half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of a 9" x 9" baking dish. Top with half of the lentil mixture, followed by the remaining eggplant slices and lentils. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top, evening them out with a spoon into a smooth layer. Brush more olive oil/ghee over the potato layer and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the pine nuts and herbs, if using, and serve.