Recipe: moussaka and brinjal canneloni

Moussaka and brinjal canneloni
Moussaka and brinjal canneloni

This recipe for moussaka is presented like canneloni, turning a week-day meal into a glammed-up party dish.

This recipe is a twist on the original Greek dish of moussaka, a dish of baked eggplant and mince, where the vegetable is used as a replacement for canneloni pasta. This version includes brown lentils and button mushrooms in the meat mixture.

It serves four to six.

Moussaka and brinjal canneloni

Moussaka and brinjal canneloni
Moussaka and brinjal canneloni


Brinjal rolls

2 large brinjals olive oil, for brushing

Moussaka filling

  • 5ml oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g minced lamb
  • 200g button mushrooms, minced
  • 15ml harissa paste
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 3ml ground cinnamon
  • ½ jar passata tomato sauce
  • 1 (410g) can brown lentils, drained

To assemble

  • 150g fresh ricotta, crumbled
  • 50g thick Greek-style yoghurt
  • 35g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ jar passata tomato sauce


Cut the brinjals lengthwise into ½cm thick slices. Lightly brush both sides of the brinjal with some olive oil.

Heat a griddle pan or braai. Cook the brinjal slices, in batches, for two to three minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

For the moussaka filling, heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and garlic for four to five minutes. Fry the lamb and mushrooms for three to four minutes.

Stir in the harissa paste, cumin, cinnamon and tomato sauce. Simmer for five minutes. Stir in the lentils and set aside to cool.

To assemble: Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine the ricotta cheese, yoghurt and half of the Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Place a brinjal slice on a work surface and top with a little of the ricotta mixture and a spoonful of the mushroom and lamb mixture. Roll up to enclose filling.

Spread the remaining tomato sauce on the base of an ovenproof dish and place the brinjal roll on top. Repeat with remaining brinjal slices and place in a single layer in the baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the brinjals.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Top with fresh herbs, if desired, before serving.