Vegetarian Moussaka

We made this classic Greek dish vegetarian by substituting lentils for the ground meat and it couldn't be more delicious! Although time-consuming to make, this recipe is easy to put together -- you don't have to be a master chef to pull this one off. This recipe serves 7-8.

PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hours 30 minutes

1 eggplant, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 potatoes, thinly sliced (we like Yukon Golds for this recipe)
1 yellow or red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 15-ounce can lentils, drained with liquid reserved
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rinse and pat eggplant dry. Cook eggplant and zucchini in 1 tablespoon oil until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat this process, adding more oil if needed, until all eggplant and zucchini slices are cooked.

Add one more tablespoon oil to your skillet. Cook potato slices in hot oil until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel, reserving oil in the skillet.

Sauté onion and garlic in reserved oil until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in vinegar, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; cook until liquid is reduced in volume and thick. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, 1/2 the juice from lentils, oregano and parsley. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes.

Layer about 1/3 of the eggplant, 1/3 of the zucchini, 1/2 the potatoes, 1/2 the onions, and 1/2 the feta into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Pour tomato mixture over vegetables; repeat layering, finishing with a layer of eggplant and zucchini.

Cover and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

About ten minutes before you pull the moussaka out of the oven, make the Bechamel: Stir butter, flour, and milk together in a small saucepan; bring to a slow boil, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Season with pepper and nutmeg; stir. Remove from heat, cool for 5 minutes, and temper in beaten egg.

Pour sauce over vegetables and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for another 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.