No-meat moussaka is the perfect veggie option – golden, rich and deliciously moreish.
FOR THE BASE
2 sticks celery
300g chestnut mushrooms, trimmed
100g wild mushrooms, trimmed
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
150ml red wine
4 tbsp tomato passata rustica
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 x 250g packs cooked puy lentils
sea salt and black pepper
1kg small aubergines
500g Greek yogurt
2 medium eggs
200g halloumi, coarsely grated
2 heaped tbsp oregano or marjoram leaves
1. Peel and finely chop the onions and thinly slice the celery. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and celery for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Meanwhile, whiz all the mushrooms in batches in a processor until finely chopped (but not reduced to a purée). Fry them in 1 tbsp oil for 5 minutes until they darken. Add in the fried veg followed by remaining base ingredients except the lentils. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes to thicken. Stir in the lentils, discard the herbs and season. Transfer the filling to a large deep ovenproof dish (for example, 23cm x 34cm or approximate equivalent).
3. At the same time preheat the oven to 210C/190Cfan/gas 6.. Halve the small aubergines lengthways, brush all over with olive oil, arrange on a baking tray and season. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5-10 minutes until softened but keeping their shape. Arrange attractively and casually on top of the base, skin side up. Whisk the yogurt with the eggs in a medium bowl; stir in half the cheese. Dollop this over and around the aubergines, so the purple skins show through, and scatter over the remaining cheese. Toss the herbs with a tablespoon of oil and scatter over and around. Bake for 40-45 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve 10-20 minutes out of the oven.
Recipe by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.