Posts tagged ‘casserole’

Vegetarian Moussaka w/ quinoa, walnuts, lentils

kali orexi!

I still remember the moussaka I had in a restaurant once a few years ago. It was heavy, rich, but delicious! Simply potatoes and eggplant and tomato sauce with cream on top, but somehow it seemed so much more than that. I’ve been wanting to replicate it (though less oily version) ever since.

I decided to mix a few ideas from these three sites and came up with this. Probably a little more complicated than necessary

the lovely ingredients

, but thats always me!

This does take about 2 hours to make, so by no means a quick dinner, but worth it once in a while.

  1. First, I soaked 1/4c quinoa and 1/4c french lentils separately.
  2. Next grind 1/2 c of walnuts, roughly
  3. Then I brought 1c of milk to boil with 4 peppercorns and 1 bay leaf. As soon as it boils remove from the heat, and cover, and keep aside.
  4. Chop 1 lg onion (or 2 small – I used 1 sm onion and 2 shallots) and few garlic cloves. Saute in olive oil (sprinkle w/ salt) until translucent. Once onions are cooked add the drained lentils and 1.5c of water. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. (20-25 mins)**

    French lentils... see the pretty pattern?

  5. Slice 1 large eggplant in 1/4 -1/2 inch slices and place on a baking sheet. Liberally coat with olive oil on both sides with a brush or fingers. Eggplant loves olive oil!  Broil in the oven 5 minutes per side (flip over after first five minutes).
  6. Slice 2 large potatoes in 1/4 inch or less slices, and lay on a towel, because they may release some water. Pat dry and coat in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in single layer on baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes per side. Be careful not to burn them. You get to eat the ones with the burnt edges but try to keep yourself from eating too many of the good ones, if you are like me! {After broiling the vegs, set the oven to 375.}
  7. **After cooking the lentils for 20 minutes, check to see that they are nearly cooked but not completely. Now, add the drained quinoa to this along with dried Greek herbs. Cover and cook another 20 minutes.
  8. Grind tomatoes with fresh Greek herbs such as thyme, oregano. (I used 14 oz can of peeled

    perfectly roasted potatoes

    tomatoes in tomato puree I may use more next time because I loveee tomatoes)

  9. Once quinoa and lentils are cooked, and all liquid is absorbed, mix with walnuts, tomato puree, salt, chili powder, 1/4tsp allspice, black pepper.
  10. Coat baking dish with olive oil. You can use 9×13 for thinner version or 8×8 for thicker one.Layer the eggplant then potato, then quinoa mixture. Repeat.
  11. Pop in the oven while you make the bechamel sauce for about 10 minutes.
  12. To make bechamel sauce, melt 2 TBS butter in a pot. Add 2 TBS flour, and stir on medium heat for a minute or two so the flour gets cooked, but does not turn brown. Now strain the milk you boiled earlier, and add it slowly to the roux(butter and flour), stirring or whisking to avoid lumps. The boiling with bay leaf really does make a difference here, gives a really nice aroma and taste. Once the milk has thickened turn off the heat and add some freshly grated nutmeg.  (original recipe says to whisk in an egg yolk, but that is optional)
  13. Grate 1/4c parmesan or kefalotyri(Greek) cheese. You don’t need much at all, you can also skip this.

    quinoa, lentils, and walnuts

  14. Take the baking dish out of the oven and pour oven the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle lightly with the cheese. Put it back in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  15. Kali orexi! (Greek for “good appetite” or “eat up”) 🙂

This is my entry to CWF- Quinoa hosted by Priya at Rajasthan Recipes and Kiran.






And also to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays.

Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake

This is not macaroni and cheese. I refuse to call it that. I have never liked mac n cheese. I think I have something against those elbow shapes, for no apparent reason. So to my mind, this is pasta with a cheese sauce or if I want it to sound extra fancy, I will call it mornay (french cheese sauce). Now, I always add veggies to my pasta, and sometimes beans or chickpeas too, so its not that much of a stretch to add in some pumpkin. It gives the sauce a lovely color too, adds fiber and nutrients, and allows me to use less cheese and milk to get the creamy consistency. It even gives a hint of sweetness. Now onto the recipe for mac… I mean, well, you know.

This recipe makes four servings. Here is what I did:

  • 2TBS butter
  • 2Tbs flour
  • 1c milk
  • 1/2c pumpkin liquid (or use more milk)
  • 1TBS dijon or wholegrain prepared mustard
  • 1/2tsp turmeric (do you know about turmerics health benefits? Throw some in everything!)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder or cayenne
  • 1/2c pumpkin puree
  • salt to taste and lots of pepper
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 4 oz cheese, grated(I used this cheddar-gruyere blend that I found at Trader Joes)
  • 2 c (or half a bag) of pasta – I used fuscilli

Optional Topping:

  • 2oz cheese- grated
  • 2TBS butter
  • 3TBS panko breadcrumbs

Boil the pasta in water as directed.

In the meantime, start to make the sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan, once melted add in the flour. Stir it around and get out any lumps. Let the flour cook in the butter for a couple minutes. This is called a roux and thickens the sauce. Then whisk in the milk/liquid slowly. Add in the mustard and spices. Let the mixture boil until it is thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon). Then mix in the pumpkin and the cheese. Once melted, turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta and mix it into the sauce. At this point you could serve this as is. But if you want to go fancier, not to mention add the delectable crispy crust (which just might be the best part) continue on.

Preheat the oven to 375 while making your sauce. Melt the butter and mix with the breadcrumbs. Spoon the pasta into an oven proof baking dish. Top with some shredded cheese and then the breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 mins or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. We love to have this with hot sauce or pesto.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

I am submitting this to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays 🙂

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