Green Lentil Moussaka Casserole

Green Lentil Moussaka Casserole

Remember back in high school when you said algebra was stupid and you were never going to use this stuff in the real world? Well, the order of operations is no joke, friends. Our Vegetable and Green Lentil Moussaka Casserole is a kitchen sink of veggie wonders that looks like a differential equation on paper, but the four parts come together easily when you follow what we’ll call the order of preparation.

Don’t worry, the only FOIL method we’ll be discussing is the lining of pans. We lightened it up by replacing traditional mashed potatoes with whipped cauliflower, and took it plant-based by swapping ground meat with green lentils. Fire roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, and chipotle chile pepper exponentially increase flavor with just a touch of heat. This casserole is even better the next day and can be assembled up to a day in advance, thereby dividing your effort and multiplying flavor…okay we’re done here.

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Green Lentil Moussaka Casserole

Green Lentil Moussaka Casserole

  • Author: Fresh. Out.
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 46 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove Top and Baking
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-Based

Description

Green Lentil Moussaka Casserole


Scale

Ingredients

For the Eggplant

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

For the Cauliflower

  • 1 small cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • Pinch of salt

For the Lentils

  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup dried large green lentils (check packaging to see if they require soaking and plan accordingly)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch to a scant 1/8 tsp ground chipotle chile pepper

For the Vegetables

  • 1 8-ounce package baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch thick half-moons
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Generous pinch ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with oven rack at top and center positions. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. 
  2. Prep all vegetables and mix spices in separate small bowls for the vegetable mixture and the lentil mixture, respectively.

For the Eggplant

  1. Reserve a teaspoon of the olive oil and use the rest to generously coat all sides of the eggplant slices.
  2. Season both sides with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. 
  3. Roast on top rack for 15 minutes, brush with remaining oil, and flip. Roast another 15 minutes, remove from oven, and set aside.

For the Cauliflower

  1. While the eggplant is roasting, cover cauliflower florets and garlic slices in cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until very tender.
  2. Drain, return to the warm pot, and let sit 10 minutes before adding salt, pepper, and half the oil, and whipping with a hand mixer until smooth. 
  3. Set the whipped cauliflower aside with the remaining half teaspoon of oil (to be brushed on top of the assembled casserole).

For the Lentils

  1. While the cauliflower is boiling, bring lentils and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cook until tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes for large green lentils. This will vary based on type of lentils, whether they were presoaked, and if they are regular or large. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, and spice mixture. When lentils are cooked to desired tenderness, drain and add to the tomato mixture. Stir well to combine.  

For the Vegetables

  1. While the cauliflower and lentils are boiling, heat a large sauté pan (one with a lid) over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and spice mixture, stir, cover and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring as needed. 
  2. Add garlic and stir, reduce to medium-low, cover and finish cooking mushrooms (carrots should be tender). Stir as needed and once cooked, remove from heat.
  3. Add the lentil mixture to the cooked vegetables and stir to combine. 

Putting it Together

  1. Layer the bottom of a 9×9 nonstick pan with the eggplant slices.
  2. Top eggplant with the vegetable and lentil mixture in an even layer.
  3. Top with the whipped cauliflower layer and brush with the remaining half teaspoon of oil. 
  4. Remove foil from the eggplant pan and place the 9×9 pan on top (in case it bubbles over). Bake on center rack for 30 minutes. 
  5. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into four even pieces. Garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley, if desired, and serve immediately This makes four very generous servings but can be divided into six when served with a side dish.

Notes

Assemble ahead of time and refrigerate up to overnight. In this case, bake at 375 degrees F for one hour, 30 minutes covered with foil and final 30 minutes uncovered. 

We use green lentils because they hold up well and provide a hearty texture.

Refrigerate up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Keywords: MOUSSAKA, VEGETABLE, VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, CASSEROLE, PLANTBASED, PLANT-BASED, FIRE ROASTED TOMATOES, EGGPLANT, DINNER, MAKE AHEAD, MEAL PREP, LEFTOVER LUNCHES, WEEKNIGHT MEALS, GRAIN-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, HEALTHY DINNERS, MEATLESS

GREEN LENTIL MOUSSAKA CASSEROLE
GREEN LENTIL MOUSSAKA CASSEROLE

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