Ok, as you can probably tell from a string of recipes that have appeared on the HBOT blog lately - eggplant is becoming one trusty unit in my arsenal. Quick to cook, hearty, versatile - it sure does tick a lot of boxes. As I was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding I was chuffed by the encouragement to make another scrumptious flavour sensation featuring it, this time - Moussaka! Or if you're the bully of a blond girl from the film, 'Mouse Ca-Ca'.
This dish is an epic wonderfully spiced (and super-quick to throw together!) lentil-tomato layer, sandwiched between layers of hearty potato and soft melt-in-your-mouth eggplant. Then on top your given a VIP seat straight to foodie-heaven with this seriously incredible bechamel that rounds this whole dish out with 10 stars from me. I know I'll be making this a bunch this winter honeybunches. Sooo SO good!!
- 2 large eggplants, thinly sliced lengthways (1cm approx)
- 6 medium potato (or equivalent)
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 heaped tsp minced garlic (2 cloves equivalent)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp each of cumin & dried mixed herbs
- 1/4 tsp each of ground cloves, nutmeg & cardamon
- 2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 400g brown lentils, drained & rinsed
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- salt & pepper
- small handful parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp vegan butter
- 3 tbsp plain flour (GF if required)
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- the hard cream from the top of 1 x 400g chilled can of coconut milk
- pinch nutmeg
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Line two baking trays and place the eggplant slices all over them. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until mostly tender (timing will depend on how thick you cut them). Flip the eggplant slices over if you see them getting a little brown. Once the eggplant is cooked, turn the oven down to 200C.
- In a large pot, boil your potatoes whole (skin on or off your call) until nearly fully cooked. Drain, then when cool enough to handle, slice thinly (about 1/2 cm) lengthways and set aside.
- In a large non-stick pot or fry-pan, saute in a little oil, the onions and garlic until lightly caramelised. Add all the spices (cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamon, nutmeg and mixed herbs) and stir until fragrant and combined (you might need another little bit of oil to do so).
- Add the tinned tomatoes and drained lentils to the pot and stir to combine. Add the coconut sugar, season and let simmer on a low heat until needed (or for about 20 minutes minimum). Before pouring it into the Moussaka, add the chopped parsley to the lentil mixture, and stir that through.
- Make the bechamel in a small non-stick pot by adding the vegan butter and waiting for it to melt and bubble slightly. Add the flour and vegetable stock powder (working without distractions so the flour doesn't burn), then mix into the butter until you form a roux paste. Add the soy milk gradually into the pot, stirring after each addition to bring it together into a smooth sauce. Once you've added all the soy milk, switch to a whisk and whisk gently until it thickens (approx. 5 minutes). Once thicked into a "white sauce" consistency, take off the heat and add the coconut cream, nutmeg and a generous pinch of salt & pepper. Stir to melt and combine the coconut cream, then set aside.
- Assemble the Moussaka in an oiled large lasagna-like dish, by starting with a layer of 1/2 the eggplant slices followed by all the potato slices. Top with all the lentil mixture, smoothing out to the edges, then top with the remaining eggplant slices. Finish with the white sauce, smoothing out into all the edges. Drizzle with a little olive oil and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden ontop.
- Wait at least 10 minutes before serving (it will stack nicely this way) - or leave it to serve the next day when the flavours have developed even more.