Zucchini Moussaka is a meal that takes some time to prepare but it is well worth the effort. The meaty sauce, the fried vegetables and the cheesy layers combine to make an amazing meal that you’ll want to make over and over again. If you have never tried moussaka before, I urge you, take the plunge and try it now! It tastes even better the next day.
Moussaka is traditionally made with minced beef or lamb but in an effort to make it slightly healthier and cost effective I have used a combination of lentils and mince beef in this recipe. No one in my family complained, I don’t think they even noticed. Next time I might make it completely vegetarian and use the lentils only. You can substitute the lentils for mince if you’d prefer.
If you’re after a really decadent night, you could finish this meal off with a Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 80 minutes
Serves: 6 – 8
- 6 Zucchini, sliced thinly
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 115 g dried green lentils, soaked overnight (or 1 400 g tin, drained)
- 250 g minced beef
- 2 x 420 g tins of diced/crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 60 g butter
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 4 1/2 cups milk
- 100 g cheese, grated
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper
- Heat 1 tsp oil to a medium heat in a large frying pan, gently fry the zucchini in a single layer until nicely browned. Repeat until all zucchini are fried. Set aside on paper towel.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 tsp of oil to a medium heat and fry the onions until they are soft. Add the beef and fry until it has browned, then add the lentils, tomatoes, tomato paste and basil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the beef has full cooked and the sauce has reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Using another saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in 75 g cheese and season with salt and pepper.
- You are now ready to prepare the moussaka. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a large baking dish.
- To assemble the moussaka, sprinkle half the breadcrumbs across the bottom of the dish (this is to absorb any moisture during cooking).
- Layer half the zucchini on top of the breadcrumbs, then cover with half the tomato sauce and half the cheese sauce.
- Repeat with another layer of breadcrumbs, followed by the zucchini, tomato sauce and finishing with a layer of cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top and bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- You can serve this immediately, but it will hold its shape better if you let it cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.