This vegetarian moussaka by food activist and eco-chef Tom Hunt is full of flavour and sustenance. In his new book “The Natural Cook”, Tom shows us how to put fresh, flavoursome produce center stage in recipes that make use of every ounce of an ingredient. If you prefer meat, add 200g sautéed ground lamb to the recipe instead of the lentils.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 char-grilled eggplant

1 onion, thinly sliced

Glug of light olive oil

1⁄2 tsp cumin seeds

100g puy lentils

800g stewed tomatoes with garlic and oregano or 400g chopped tomatoes

200g spinach or chard, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped

150g ricotta

150ml live natural yogurt

Pinch grated nutmeg

Method

  1. In a large pan, fry the onion slowly in the light olive oil with the cumin. Meanwhile, simmer the lentils 15 to 25 minutes until tender, then drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C]. Add the tomatoes to the onion, bring to a boil and add the lentils, then the spinach or chard. As soon as the leaves wilt, remove from the heat. In a bowl, mix the ricotta and yogurt and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In an oven-proof dish, layer half the lentil mixture, half the eggplant, then half the yogurt mixture, adding a grating of nutmeg. Then repeat the layers, finishing with the yogurt mixture and another grating of nutmeg. Bake in the oven 25 minutes, until hot right through.
  4. Moussaka keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 days. In fact it’s better the day after cooking, as the flavours merge and it sets a little more firmly. Cover and reheat in an oven preheated to 180°C until hot right through. Char-grilled eggplants will keep 4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving.


Recipe courtesy of Tom Hunt, from The Natural Cook (Quadrille). Photography: Laura Edwards. 

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