| Prep Time: 10 mins
| Cook Time: 50 mins
| Total Time: 1 hour
You may need: Dried Garlic Powder
Many of our customers may recognize Moussaka as a Greek dish that vaguely resembles a "shepherd's pie". It turns out that Moussaka is actually an Arabic word referring to a common Middle Eastern vegetable stew, often served cold. The better-known Greek dish Moussaka is made with spiced ground lamb, eggplant, tomato and crust topped with a creamy Bechamel sauce. However, in the Arab Mediterranean, Moussaka is prepared as shown in this recipe. Since we're serving a Western audience, we'll differentiate the dishes by calling this version Lebanese Moussaka (aka Maghmour). Clear as mud?
We love that this dish epitomizes the famous Mediterranean diet: generous amounts of olive oil, fresh vegetables such as eggplant, tomato and onion, and legumes such as chickpeas. In fact this dish is vegan! What makes our Lebanese Moussaka recipe so special is the wonderful spicy-smokey-minty flavors that we capture in our Spicy Mint spice blend. Use it on roasted veggies, in stews, and probably on pizza or pita bread, too!
~2 lbs baby eggplants (also known as Indian eggplants), halved lengthwise and stems removed
1 large yellow or white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of low-salt chickpeas
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 can of low-salt diced tomatoes
1 tbsp of tomato paste
2 tbsp of Piquant Post Spicy Mint blend
Pita chips or crusty bread for dipping (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
handful of fresh mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)
vegan (coconut) yogurt, or greek yogurt for garnish (optional)
For our friends who can't tolerate a lot of spicy heat, reduce the amount of Spicy Mint blend to 1/2 tsp. After briefly simmering and stirring, test and add more spice until the heat reaches your liking.
We chose to leave the skin on the eggplant and eat it. It doesn't really matter either way but if you prefer to not eat the skin, you scoop out the eggplant flesh after roasting.
This recipe is vegan... but for our meatlovers, it would taste equally fantastic to throw in some ground beef, ground lamb, ground pork, or chicken tenders.
Unless it's the height of summer when perfectly ripe tomatoes abound, we prefer to use canned tomatoes instead of year-round, mealy supermarket tomatoes. Why? Because canned tomatoes are harvested at peak ripeness and canned within a day. They give you great taste year-round. We also recommend using plain, low-salt diced tomatoes (rather than ones with spices), since we're providing the spices 🙂
Drain the chickpeas into a colander or strainer then rinse with water to wash off the excess brine.
Please note that couscous cooks very quickly. In fact, once the water boils we usually add the couscous, dried fruit, then cover and remove from the heat. If you use the correct proportions of water per the instructions on the package, then it will turn out nicely.
Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.
First, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle ¼ cup of the oil onto a sheet pan and place the eggplant cut side onto the pan, moving the eggplant around gently until it’s thoroughly coated with the oil. Then, season both sides of the eggplant with salt and black pepper. Place the sheet pan into the oven and roast for 25 minutes cut side down, until browned.
While eggplant is cooking, heat a dutch oven or large pan on Med. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Place 1/4 cup of oil in pan and cook the onions until softened or ~10 mins. Add the garlic and Spicy Mint spice blend and stir. Cook for 2-3 mins until fragrant.
Drain the can of chickpeas. Add the chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water and add to pan (approx 1.75-2 cups of water). Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to Med-Low until eggplant is ready.
When the eggplant is roasted, remove from oven and arrange the eggplant halves in the serving dish with the stew. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of vegan yogurt.
We think the Spicy Mint blend will work for just about any savory, tomato based soup or stew whether you cook it in a slow cooker or on the stove top.
If you can't find baby eggplants in your market, you can sub in 2 pounds of full-sized (European eggplants). Slice in half lengthwise before roasting. You can then scoop the flesh in to the pan. Alternatively you can cube (with or without skin) before roasting. If using eggplant cubes, use the following as step 4: When eggplant is roasted, stir the cubes into the sauce in the pan. Simmer and occasionally stir on Med-Low for 20-25 mins or until flavors have melded.
Try making our easy Lebanese Baba Ganoush (ghanouj) recipe with the Spicy Mint blend. Baba Ganoush is a delicious dip made with roasted eggplant, sesame (tahini), garlic, lemon, and olive oil that originates from the Levant area of the Eastern Mediterranean. So flavor-packed, you won't believe how healthy it is!
Meatlovers: Try this recipe with ground beef, lamb, pork, or chicken cubes/tenders for a hearty twist.
If you're looking for "no cook" alternative uses for this spice blend, try sprinkling a small amount on pizza, flatbread, pita, hummus, baba ganoush (eggplant dip) or canned tomato soup.
Don’t forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.
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