Lebanese Moussaka with Green Peppers Questa ricetta è disponibile anche in italiano
Great to be enjoyed as a starter, a side or a main dish, maybe over some fluffy steamed rice, this fragrant Lebanese Moussaka with Green Peppers is the perfect addition to a summery, hearty spread of mezze.
I personally would serve it on completely vegan and gluten free buffet-style spread along with fragrant Falafels, these Mediterranean Veggies with Balsamic Glaze, these Grilled Aubergine Roll Ups, this Italian Style Potato Salad, some Cous Cous Stuffed Peppers (with quinoa for a gluten free version), a bowl of Light Coleslaw Salad and a few spreads, like the unmissable hummus and a fresh vegan version of the fantastic Tzatziki Sauce in both quick or cashew version. Or for a barbecue, with these Mushroom Souvlaki and these Tofu Ribs as kings of the grill!
I love Lebanese food and Moussaka is definitely at the top of my list. Melt-in-the mouth roasted aubergines, fragrant green peppers, mushy chickpeas all coated in a rich and flavourful tomato sauce: serious business here guys!
As a teen I really couldn’t stand chickpeas, and look at me now! Literally adding them to any kind of dish, from salads to even desserts! How incredible it is sometimes realising how much we actually have changed throughout the years!
But speaking about this fabulous recipe… You might know that traditionally Lebanese Moussaka doesn’t call for green peppers. However one of my favorite Lebanese places in Greenwich uses them, and I absolutely adore the addition! Since the first time I’ve tried Moussaka with peppers I must admit I have never made it without!
They just compliment the flavour so perfectly, adding the perfect bittersweet note to this wonderful dish.
To make this humble dish we only need a few Mediterranean ingredients:
– aubergines (eggplant) that we are going to roast in my version (normally they are deep fried, but I’d like to give you an healthier yet still very tasty option) to achieve the most beautiful melt in the mouth texture ever
– green peppers – You can use any peppers you like, I’d personally recommend long ones with a very thin flesh (as long as they are not hot!), or even padrón peppers. If you can’t find these, bell peppers can be used as well, however they will make the dish sweeter than what we want to achieve, so just keep that in mind.
– chickpeas – both canned for a quicker version or dry, previously soaked and boiled until soft.
– chopped tomatoes – or smooth passata if you prefer.
– scallion & garlic
– sumac (optional) or any other spices of your choice.
From a nutritional point of view this dish is a perfect way to incorporate plenty of dietary fibre, as well as a good amount of proteins and vitamins. It is also recommended for those that want to lose or maintain weight, as it is very low in calories and rich in all the basic nutrients our body needs.
However those that cannot consume nightshades should avoid it, as unfortunately it contains all the top three most famous vegetables of this family: eggplants, peppers and tomatoes.
How to make this Lebanese Moussaka with Green Peppers
First things first: let’s roast the aubergines!
Wash them and pierce the skin all around with a fork and roast the aubergines for about 3-4 minutes per side on a very hot pan.
In the meantime preheat the oven at 200°.
Once the aubergines are cooked, transfer them into a tin and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning them once.
After this step, place them into a plastic bag while they’re still hot (mind your fingers!) and allow to chill at room temperature (ideally) overnight or, if you’re in a rush, for 30 minutes in the freezer.
Next we have to wash and de-seed the peppers.
If you are using a long variety as I am, I’d suggest to also cut them at least in half.
Place the peppers on a tray, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt on top, and bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the oven) at 200°C on grill mode, turning them half way.
In the meantime, we can start preparing the tomato sauce.
To do so we have to finely chop both the onion and the garlic and allow them to sweat in a wok or big pan with some olive oil and a splash of water for about 5 minutes.
After they have become soft, chopped tomatoes & tomato paste go in, along with sumac, salt and pepper. Also add around 1/2 cup of water and cook on medium for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime peel off the skin of the aubergines and put the fillets in a bowl. With this method you will also be able to easily remove big seeds sacs from the aubergines if you don’t like finding yourself chewing at them.
I really do love the consistency of roasted aubergine fillets, they literally melt in your the mouth, as deep fried aubergine would do, but healthier!
Once the green peppers have turned slightly brown on both sides, it is time to add them into the wok and cook altogether for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Combine the aubergines fillets during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serve this fantastic Lebanese Moussaka with Green Peppers at room temperature or cold, with some fresh mint of parsley finely chopped.
This will last in the fridge into an air tight container for 4 to 5 days, which makes this dish also perfect for mid-week meal prep.
Lebanese Moussaka with Green Peppers Recipe
15-20 Long Green Peppers (around 600 grams)
1 can of Chickpeas
1 can of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Big Shallot
2 Gloves of Garlic
3 tbsp of Tomato Paste
2 tbsp of E.V. Olive Oil
1 tsp of Sumac (or Paprika – optional)
Fresh Parsley (or Mint – to garnish)
1. Preheat the oven at 200°C (390°F).
2. Roast the aubergine. Wash and pierce the aubergine skin all around with a fork and roast for about 3-4 minutes per side on a very hot pan. Next transfer them into a tin and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning them once. After this step, place them into a plastic bag while they’re still hot (mind your fingers!) and allow to chill at room temperature (ideally) overnight or if you’re in a rush for 30 minutes in the freezer.
3. Wash the peppers, then cut them in half and remove their seeds. Place on a tray, coat with some olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for 20-30 minutes on grill mode until they are slightly brown on both sides, turning them half way.
4. In the meantime, chop the onion and the garlic for the tomato sauce, and allow them to sweat in a wok with some olive oil and a splash of water for about 5 minutes.
5. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chickpeas, sumac and season with pepper and salt. Add some extra water (up to 1 cup) and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
6. In the meantime peel off the skin of the aubergines, shred the pulp into fillets and set aside.
7. As soon as the green peppers are ready, add them into the wok, stir well and cook altogether for another 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Combine the aubergines fillets during the last 5 mins of cooking.
9. Serve the Lebanese Moussaka at room temperature or cold with some fresh parsley or mint leaves finely chopped on top.