Recipe: Summer courgette moussaka from Dubai's 21 Grams

Whip up this summery vegetarian dish from the award-winning café at home

Recipe: Summer courgette moussaka from Dubai’s 21 Grams

Dubai’s 21 Grams took home the Highly Commended award for Best Café at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2020 thanks to its big, bold Balkan meals that are totally delicious.

If you’d like to recreate one itswow-worthy dishes from your kitchen, the petite Dubai bistro has shared the recipe for its vegetarian-friendly summer courgette moussaka.

The fresh and summery dish serves six – perfect for families or those looking to bulk-cook a delicious meal.

If you’re like to try the expertly-made version, the quaint café is now offering home delivery directly from its ChatFood account – click here for more.

Now, let’s get cooking…

Ingredients for the layers:

• 600g courgettes
• 300g russet potatoes
• 200g kashkaval cheese

Ingredients for the ragout:

• 50g lentils
• 100g chickpeas
• 200g tomato paste
• 300g yellow onions
• 200g carrots
• 100g celery root
• 2 garlic cloves
• 50ml red grape or grape juice
• 2 bay leaves
• Half a bunch of thyme
• 20g sugar
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste
• Olive oil


• To prepare the ragout, put the chickpeas in a medium-sized pot, fill the pot with boiling water and let them cook.

• Dice the onions and garlic cloves and peel and grate the carrots and celery root.

• Place a large-sized pot on a medium-low heat with one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the diced onions and garlic for five minutes before adding the grated carrots and celery root. Sauté everything together for another five minutes.

• Add in the lentils and pour in the grape juice. Turn the heat to medium-high and leave everything to gently cook away.

• Add the half-cooked chickpeas with cooking water together with the tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and a tablespoon of sugar. Bring it to boiling point, then reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, or until thick and delicious. Taste and season with salt, black pepper and any leftover thyme.

• To prepare the layers, cook the potatoes and then cut them length-wise – about one centimetre thick. Thinly cut the summer zucchinis length-wise, and grate the kashkaval cheese.

• Take one medium-size baking tray, spread some olive oil and cover the bottom with courgette, making sure it covers the edges and falls behind so you can close it on top later.

• Take half of the sliced potatoes for the next layer, followed by a layer of half the grated cheese.

• Add all of the ragout (making sure it doesn’t fill up the try completely) and add the rest of the potatoes and cheese on top.

• For the final layer, take rest of the courgette and cover the top folding the ones from the edges to close up moussaka.

• Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180°C.

Top tips:

• Instead of kashkaval cheese you can use any kind of aged cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano.

• Instead of raw chickpeas, you can use chickpeas from a can and save yourself the trouble of cooking – just don’t strain the water – it’s a vital part for the texture of a delicious ragout.

For more recipes from Dubai’s best restaurants, click here.

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