I made a trip to Linvilla Orchard in Media, Pennsylvania and went fruit and vegetable picking! The peaches were awesome but my prized find of the day was a large purple eggplant. After grabbing the stem to harvest it, I learned the hard way that eggplants in the wild have spikes on the stem and green leaves. Ouch.

I decided to make moussaka because I have never had it, and I knew it would use up the entirety of the giant eggplant I plucked. Moussaka is typically served in Greek restaurants in the US, but has a lot of variation depending on what country it comes from. There is a naturally vegan version in some cultures on fast-days (according to Wiki), but I could not find the referenced recipes. Also, I chose not to top my version with bechemel because, it was my first time attempting this cream sauce, and let's just say, it did not work out. The top layer of creamy mashed potatoes were allowed to shine, and shine it did. Enjoy!

1 medium eggplant (sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 C dry green lentils (rinsed)
1 1/2 C water
1 small onion (finely diced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 large tomato (finely diced)
1 lemon (juice of), or 1/4 C red wine
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch cinnamon
fresh ground black pepper

1 large potato (peeled and cubed)
1/2 to 3/4 C unsweetened nondairy milk
2 tsp Earth Balance butter
fresh ground black pepper
bechemel (optional)
fresh herbs (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and then cover and bring to a simmer. You can also prepare in a rice cooker.
2. Cook 20-30 minutes or until lentils are soft. Set aside.
3. In a skillet add 1-2 tsp oil. Heat to medium. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes or until beginning to turn translucent. 
4. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
5. Add tomato, lemon, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring.
6. Add lentils and 1 C water or broth to skillet. Cook 6-7 minutes or until some of the water is absorbed. Lentils should be tender and not dry.
7. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lay slices of eggplant on large baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and brush with oil on both sides. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake again for another 10 minutes. Eggplant should be soft, if not, keep it in the oven longer. Set aside.
8.  Boil potatoes for 12-15 minutes. Using a masher, mash. Add butter, nondairy milk, salt and pepper, and mash until very smooth. Set aside.
9. In a medium baking dish layer eggplant along bottom (there are 3 eggplant layers, so use 1/3 each time). Top with an even layer of lentil mixture (use about half of lentils). Lay another layer of eggplant and top with other half of lentil mixture. Put on last layer of eggplant. Cover with an even layer of mashed potatoes. If you are using bechemel, add this on top of the potatoes.
10. Bake in over at 375 F for 30-35 minutes. If top is getting too brown during baking, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Take out of oven and let sit 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately and top with fresh herbs.