Okay, so this may not be a classic moussaka, but we think it’s pretty good. We layer eggplant, peppers, potatoes and herbs with a mixture of lentils, onion and tomatoes to create a hearty, vegetarian meal that makes the most of some classic mid-summer vegetables. This is not a meal to make at the last minute, it takes time and can’t be rushed. Serves up to 6.

1 eggplant, peeled, sliced ¼ inch or thinner
1 bell pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
2-3 potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, or equivalent combination of full tomatoes and halved cherry tomatoes, cut into chunks
½ c dry lentils lentils
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T lemon juice
1-2 t oregano leaves, finely chopped
1-2 T chopped parsley, finely chopped
1 t chopped lemon basil, finely chopped
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 C milk
1 beaten egg
Pinch black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
Several tablespoons of olive oil

Salt the eggplant slices and place them in a colander for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and drain. Heat 1 T oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add a layer of eggplant to the skillet and cook, turning after several minutes until lightly browned on both sides.  Remove the slices from the skillet and set them aside in a colander or on a paper towel-lined plate. Once all the eggplant slices have been browned, do the same for the peppers and potatoes.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Layer the eggplant, potatoes, and peppers in the dish. Sprinkle the chopped herbs on top and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt. Separately, add the lentils, tomatoes and 1 ½ cups of water to a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the lentils are soft and more of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice. Set the lentils aside.

Saute the onions and garlic in an oiled skillet over medium heat until soft. Stir the cooked onions into the tomato and lentil mixture. Spread the mixture on top of the vegetable in the baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.

While the vegetables bake, prepare the béchamel topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and continue to stir until there are no lumps. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to sit for 8-10 minutes. Mix in the beaten egg.

Pull the moussaka out of the oven and remove the cover. Pour the sauce/topping over the moussaka and return it to the oven to bake, uncovered, for 30 more minutes. Allow the moussaka to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can sprinkle crumbled feta or grated parmesan cheese over the top is you like—add these about 10-15 minutes before you pull it out of the oven.

Oil in skillet, cook eggplant until lightly brown on each side, remove to plate. Then potatoes. Then peppers. Cook onions and garlic until soft. Stir into tomato mixture