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Chestnut & Lentil ‘Moussaka’

Chestnut & Lentil ‘Moussaka’

“I’ve always thought moussaka would quite fancy reinventing itself as a vegetable dish and this recipe has proved me right. It is so tasty that even the staunchest meat eater won’t miss the mince. I’ve evolved the technique enormously too, so if you’ve ever made the traditional version you’ll be amazed by my easy aubergines, lovely lentils and almost instant cheese sauce.”

By Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay

This recipe is

  • Low sugar
  • Source of fibre
  • Source of folate
  • Counts towards one of your five a day
  • Serves 4

  • 45 minutes

  • 2 pans

  • Beginner

Suitable for gluten-free and vegetarians

Whole Chestnuts


  • 2 large, firm aubergines, green top cut off
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp red or white wine vinegar
  • Zest of 1 orange, 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 large, mild red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp sliced coriander
  • 2 x 250g pouches Merchant Gourmet Tomatoey French Puy and Green Lentils
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 180g Pouch Merchant Gourmet Simply Cooked Chestnuts, sliced thinly
  • 250g plant-based mascarpone
  • 140g grated plant-based cheddar cheese
  • Salt, black pepper and nutmeg


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  1. Pre-heat your oven to 230c/Gas 8 Upper Middle Shelf.
  2. Start with the aubergines. Cut them in half lengthways. Put the cut side down on your chopping board. Cut 3 long, even slices from each half. Get a large baking sheet or tray. Line it with a non-stick mat. Lay half the aubergine slices on top in a single layer. Brush the slices all over both sides with the extra virgin olive oil and the vinegar. Season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. The pepper is there for a bit of heat and the nutmeg for fragrance. Be careful with the nutmeg as it can easily overpower the other flavours. Use the remainder of the aubergine for a second layer. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes until the aubergine’s flesh is soft.
  3. While the aubergine bakes, get a small bowl. Add the orange zest, chilli and coriander. Mix together.
  4. Get a medium sized bowl. Add the lentils, the chestnuts, tinned tomatoes, half the orange zest mixture and the orange juice. Season to taste.
  5. Next make the “cheese sauce”. Get a medium sized bowl. Add the mascarpone and cheddar. Mix together. Season to taste.
  6. Put half the aubergine slices on an oven proof dish. Spoon the lentils evenly across the top. Put the second half of the aubergine slices on top. Spread the ‘cheese sauce’ over the top as evenly as you can, don’t worry if the sauce looks a bit messy as it’ll melt as it bakes.
  7. Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes until the top is golden.  Once the top is golden, sprinkle the second half of the orange zest, chilli, coriander mixture over the top. Put the ‘Moussaka’ back into the oven for 1 minute. Serve.

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