A complete and delicious meal in one bowl – this Vegan Moussaka-style dish is going to be a great addition to your virtual recipe box. Featuring earthy green lentils cooked in a warming tomato sauce, flavoursome grilled aubergines and crispy roast potatoes, it ticks all the boxes: healthy, easy to make and totally scrumptious.
I know, I know, I know – I can hear some of you saying “but where is the white sauce topping?” so, before I tell you how to make this Vegan Moussaka Bowl, let’s start with a little confession time.
1. While I’ve fully switched to plant milks for things like cereal, I am not very good at cooking with them. The few times I did try recipes for a vegan white sauce, they all ended up in disaster so I tend to stick to cow’s milk for things like that until I find something that truly works. By the way, if you do have a tried and tested recipe for a white sauce without dairy, please send it my way.
2. I might have mentioned this before but vegan cheese isn’t my thing. As in, I really cannot stand the stuff. Yep, I have tried various types and brands but it’s simply not my cup of tea.
So I found myself at a bit of a crossroad when I was brainstorming today’s recipe: I could go for a standard sauce using cow’s milk or I could simply skip the dairy altogether. And since my husband and I, despite not being fully plant-based, are trying to further reduce the amount of animal products we eat, this Vegan Moussaka Bowl was born. You know what? It just works and not for one second do you stop to think it’s missing the sauce. It might be a little distant from the real deal but if you’re after a healthy but tasty alternative, this dairy-free moussaka is the way to go.
There are 3 elements to this Vegan Moussaka Bowl: the crispy roast potatoes, the heavenly lentils in a rich tomato sauce and the charred aubergines. But the great news is that the method is not complicated or lengthy at all and you can go from raw ingredients to tasty dinner in only 45 minutes.
You start off by preparing the potatoes. Peel them and cut them into cubes. Place them on a roasting tray, drizzle with good quality extra virgin oil and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Pop them in the oven and step one is officially completed.
While the potatoes are roasting away, it’s time to prepare the lentil and tomato mixture.
For this Vegan Moussaka I like to use tinned green lentils because it dramatically reduces cooking times. In the past I also tried a recipe very similar to this using puy lentils so I’m sure they would work also. You want those lentils to retain a bit of bite, rather than go mushy.
All you do is fry off some finely chopped onion and crushed garlic and then add the lentils, chopped tomatoes and our key flavours: oregano, cinnamon and fresh parsley. Let it simmer and reduce for about 15 minutes and you’re done.
Two things worth keeping in mind. First of all, you can prepare the lentil mixture in advance (it will actually taste better as you let the flavours develop further) and simply bang the potatoes in the oven and grill your aubergines when your stomach is starting to rumble.
Second, the lentils cooked in this warming tomato sauce are a great meal in its own right – just serve with wilted greens and fresh crusty bread for a super speedy midweek dinner. The quantities below will make two portions instead of 4 when serving without the potatoes and aubergines.
Finally, let’s get to the aubergines. Get your griddle pan, heat it up until hot and cook the aubergine slices in batches until soft and lightly charred. Some people like to coat them in a little oil before grilling but for this recipe, since you will be enjoying them with the rich tomato sauce of the lentils, I find they’re best grilled dry.
Don’t have a griddle pan? No problem, you have two alternatives: you can roast them in the oven or you can pan-fry them. You can find out how to do this in the notes within the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
By now the potatoes should be golden brown and crispy so dish up your Vegan Moussaka as you can see in the pictures and dig in while it’s hot. If, like me, you love your carbs, serve it with fresh crusty bread or a green salad for a lighter dinner.Print
Featuring earthy green lentils cooked in a warming tomato sauce, flavoursome grilled aubergines and crispy roast potatoes, this Vegan Moussaka Bowl ticks all the boxes: healthy, easy to make and totally scrumptious.
- Pre-heat oven to 200C.
- Place the potatoes on a roasting tray, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
- In the meantime, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and gently cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring often.
- Tip in the lentils (including the water from the can), tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon and parsley. Stir to combine and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- While the lentil and tomato mixture is simmering, heat your griddle pan over until hot and cook the aubergine slices in batches until charred and tender.
- Assemble your bowls with the lentils, roast potatoes and aubergines and top it all off with freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy this Vegan Moussaka hot with fresh crusty bread and a green salad.
- Don’t have a griddle pan? Roast the aubergines by coating them in a little olive oil and cooking them on a roasting tray in the oven for about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can fry them in a pan for 2-3 minutes on each side till golden brown, then drain on a paper towel.
Don’t forget to save this recipe to your favourite Pinterest board for later!
What’s your favourite Greek dish?