Lebanese Vegan Moussaka
"The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook"
- 2 large eggplants (aubergines)
- 4 tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 2 teaspoons Lebanese 7-Spice Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Two 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
- Salt and Pepper
For the tomato sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- 7 sun-dried tomatoes, preserved in oil
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- One 14-ounce can diced or chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened pomegranate molasses
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Slice the eggplants (aubergines) into 1/2 inch disks. Mix the flour, spices, and a pinch of salt and pepper on a large plate. Dab each side of the eggplant disks in the flour and spice mix so they are lightly coated. Lay them on a lined baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil, and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Turn, then bake for another 10 minutes, or until crisp. Remove and cool.
In the meantime, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the cumin and bay leaf and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the fresh chopped tomatoes, stir, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste (purée), can of diced tomatoes, one-quarter of the can filled with water, pomegranate molasses, and lemon juice and cook for another 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally until you have a thick, rich, reduced sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the bay leaf.
Layer the eggplant disks, tomato sauce, and chickpeas in a deep baking pan and repeat until you have used all of your ingredients (3–4 layers, ideally finished with layer of tomato sauce). Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
This really is a dish best served at room temperature when all the flavors are at their best.
Excerpted from The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook by Salma Hage (Phaidon Press). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton.