Meliz Cooks’ veggie moussaka
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g plain flour
- 650ml semi-skimmed milk
- 150g grated Cheddar
- 2 courgettes, cut into ½cm thick slices
- 2 white potatoes, peeled and cut into ½cm thick slices
- 5tbsp olive oil
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 aubergines, cut into ½cm thick slices
- 690g jar tomato passata
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
- ½tsp ground cumin
- ¾tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾tsp paprika
- 1tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 390g tin cooked green lentils, drained
- 1tbsp chopped parsley
- 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 vegetable stock cube, made up to 500ml
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
- Few sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Grease a deep baking dish.
For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat then whisk in the flour. Add the milk, 150ml at a time, whisking constantly and adding more when it thickens and bubbles. When all the milk has been added and the sauce starts to simmer, take off the heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, put the sliced courgette and potato into a large bowl and drizzle with 2tbsp of the oil, the oregano, thyme and ½ the garlic. Season with black pepper and mix until well coated. Add the aubergine and stir together.
Pour ½ the passata into the baking dish with ½tbsp of the oil and 100ml cold water. Arrange the sliced vegetables in overlapping rows, until the dish is full. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 mins.
Meanwhile, heat 2tbsp of the oil in a large pan on a low to medium setting. Add the onion and cook for 8-10 mins until softened and translucent. Add the mushrooms and the rest of the garlic and cook for 2-3 mins.
Add the spices and lentils and stir well. Add the parsley, vinegar, bay leaf, stock and the rest of the passata, and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer on low for 30 mins or until the sauce has thickened.
Take the veg dish out of the oven, pour in 100ml water and drizzle with the rest of the oil. Bake, uncovered, for another 25-30 mins until softened.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs into the cheese sauce.
Remove the dish from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Top the veg with the lentil sauce, then carefully spread over the cheese sauce. Arrange the tomatoes on top and press down slightly, then sprinkle over the thyme sprigs. Bake, uncovered, for 40 mins.
Allow to cool for 15 mins before serving.