Wednesday, June 14, 2006


The other night, I was looking for something, quick, easy, vegetable-filled, and healthy - this fit the bill. It is a vegan moussaka out of Nigella Lawson's How to Eat, which she adapted from Nada Saleh's Fragrance of the Earth. Unlike the layered Greek moussaka most commonly found in the U.S., this is adapted from a Lebanese recipe that is sans cheesy white sauce, and is more like a vegetable stew or capponata. I served it over bulgur wheat (to cook, pour 2 1/2 c. boiling water over 1 c. bulgur wheat and let sit until all of the water is absorbed) that I tossed with the juice of one lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper and chopped mint and Italian parsley. I think the moussaka would be fantastic over whole-wheat pasta, couscous, brown rice, or just served with "lots of bread" as Nigella suggests. It can also be served hot or cold, and I think it would be great with the addition of other vegetables if you have them on hand (traditional veggies include green peppers, zucchini, carrots, and potatoes). This is a great chop-and-add to the pan kind of meal, so aside from the time needed to simmer, you can put this together in 20 minutes with time in between sautes to clean up.

slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat
Preheat 3 T. olive oil over medium heat in a wide-rimmed saute pan. Cut a 1 lb. eggplant into 1-inch pieces and saute in the pan for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown. Remove the eggplant and reserve for later use. Add 2 T. olive oil to the pan, and then add 1 thinly sliced medium onion, and 1 head of garlic, with the cloves peeled and roughly chopped. Saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, until softened and pale in color. Add 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes. Then, as an optional step, add 1 1/2 T. pomegranate molasses to the pan (I had pomegranate juice, and so I added 3 T. and could not really taste it - I would suggest upping the measurement even further if you are using juice). Return the reserved eggplant to the pan along with 1 lb. peeled, seeded, and quartered tomatoes (I used canned), 1 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. allspice, 1/4 t. black pepper, and 1 c. of water. Bring the ingredients to a boil, and quickly reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Season to taste and top with chopped fresh parsley, coriander, and/or mint.

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