My mum makes the best moussaka. It’s a huge dish overflowing with cinnamony lentils and covered with the most luxurious cheese sauce. The recipes comes from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection, and is so well loved that the book falls open at the moussaka page, which is stiff from being touched one too many times with slightly sticky fingers. (By the way, I would highly recommend this book if you are vegetarian, have vegetarian friends or are even a fan of vegetables yourself. It is probably one of the oldest cookbooks on our kitchen shelf and one that we always refer to for new recipe inspiration and old favourites).
Since being gluten-free, the cheese sauce is off limits (I suppose you COULD make it with gf flour…) so together we have invented this all new and improved Rosie friendly version, which, I think is actually better (believe it or not!) My family might disagree, but I think that feta works much better as a topping.
I made this for a big supper I held a few weeks ago- served with a crunchy, rustic loaf (or not, if you too are gluten free!), a big salad and a large glass of wine, it makes for the perfect mid-week supper.
100g green-brown lentils
1 veggie, gluten free stock cube
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large red pepper, deseeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 block of feta
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Begin by cooking the lentils. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the lentils and stock cube and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are slightly soft but still have some bite. No one likes a mushy lentil.
Meanwhile, prepare the aubergines. Slice into fairly thin round disks and fry on a griddle pan with a splash of olive oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until they are soft and starting to brown. When they are cooked, put them on a plate and place to the side.
Then, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are just starting to go brown, then add the pepper and cook until that is soft and slightly brown. Then add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute before adding the chopped tomatoes. Leave them to bubble for a few minutes, then add the wine, cinnamon and cooked lentils. Finally, stir in the parsley and season well. Transfer the lentil mixture to a ceramic dish.
Then, arrange the cooked aubergine in a layer over the top. Crumble the feta over the aubergine in an even layer. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, so that the feta on top is slightly melted and brown and crispy. Serve hot and enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean.