Updated: Jan 3
When I was young, many moons ago, I used to waitress in a Greek restaurant. I started in the summer of 1982 and worked there a few years while I went to school after high school.
I was allowed to enjoy a serving of anything I wanted for dinner or lunch, depending on what shift I was working. I sampled everything (the food was absolutely delicious). I used to bring home Greek desserts, especially the Baklava.
Even though my kitchen is still a disaster, I just had to cook. Supposedly, my brother-in-law is coming by tomorrow to finish the cabinet. Praying nothing comes up and he can actually get it done. Wish me luck.
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Now for the Moussaka Recipe - I HAD to make it, even though my kitchen is a wreck. So here goes. Ignore the mess in the video please.
Prepping your Veggies:
Wash, peel and slice your eggplant, zucchini and potatoes. Fry in the air fryer until browned. Set aside.
If you don't have an air fryer (check out my potatoes made in the air fryer), fry in a little bit of olive oil, turning once, browning on both sides.
As your vegetables are air frying, wash and chop your celery, carrots and onions. Place olive oil in a pot. (see video) Add in your chopped carrots, celery and onions and a little salt. Cook on medium heat until soft.
If you have not already made your red sauce, do so now. Mine was made the day before.
If you are using canned lentils, drain and rinse them as your vegetables cook. (see video) For anyone using dry lentils, prepare them the previous day or before you start making the moussaka.
When the vegetables are soft, squeeze in some tomato paste (see the story of my almost disaster buying the tomato paste) and let fry a little bit then add in your sauce and then your lentils. Stir well, reduce heat and let simmer. (see video)
Making the béchamel sauce: It's a little time consuming, but so worth it. (see video)
Melt your butter in a pot. As it's melting, heat your milk in the microwave, just enough to warm it up.
When your butter is melted, add your flour to the butter. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk. Let the flour cook for about two to three minutes.
Add your warm milk slowly, whisking constantly. You don't want any lumps. Continue to add milk a little at a time, mixing constantly.
Once all the milk is added, add in your cream cheese (for homemade gluten free cream cheese recipe click green link) and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and thickens.
Add a small amount of nutmeg, parmesan cheese and salt and stir constantly.
Remove from heat and let settle.
Assembling your dish:
Use a casserole dish. (see video)
Brush some olive oil over the bottom and sides of your dish.
Place a small amount of breadcrumb into the dish and spread along the bottom evenly.
Layer your potatoes on top of the breadcrumb.
Next layer your eggplant
On top of that, add your lentil filling and then some parmesan cheese.
Add a layer of zucchini
Cover with plain red sauce.
Add another layer of eggplant and zucchini. You are layering like you would a lasagna.
Spread the béchamel sauce evenly on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Place the casserole dish, uncovered, in a preheated 400 degree oven. Let it bake until it turns a golden brown on top (approximately 30 minutes). Remove from oven and let sit about 30 minutes so it can settle. For another eggplant recipe, click green link.
Cut, serve and enjoy. It was creamy, tangy, full of flavor and absolutely delicious. Perfect for a holiday or to serve guests who are vegetarian (of course, everyone will love it, vegetarian or not. Easily converted to vegan).
Before starting, I had a morning smoothie for breakfast. Lunch was spinach and a sweet potato while I was awaiting the air fryer and my snack was cottage cheese and peaches with a banana before dinner. Yes, I ate it right out of the container. There was only a little cottage cheese left, why dirty a bowl.
I can't give amounts, I can only give ingredients. Most Italians don't cook with measurements, they cook with heart. My mom taught me to add ingredients until "it looks good." So, judge for yourself.
Gluten Free Flour 6 tablespoons
Butter 6 tablespoons (I had to give specific amounts for Béchamel sauce)
Milk 2 cups
Cream Cheese (1 tablespoon)
Parmesan (a pinch)
Nutmeg (a pinch) I used ground nutmeg, you can use fresh if you desire.