So we’re turning the clocks back an hour this weekend. What are you going to do with this extra time?? Make vegan moussaka!! This dish is made up of layers of roasted eggplant, potato and zucchini in a lightly cinnamon-scented tomato sauce and a creamy “béchamel” topping. It’s all comforting and delicious without being heavy.
This isn’t a difficult recipe, but there is a time commitment of about 90 minutes from start to finish. It’s worth it though!
You can make this dish the day before, right up to the baking stage.
This recipe is heavily based on Isa Chandra’s recipe. She must have a large food budget because she recommends some rather costly ingredients such as pine nuts instead of ground almonds in the béchamel. I’ll bet that’s lovely, but since I still have a mortgage, I went with more affordable ingredients throughout.
You will need a food processor or sturdy blender for to make the béchamel sauce.
For the vegetable layer
1 large eggplant
3 large white potatoes
1 very large or 2 average-sized zucchinis
Enough olive oil to oil 3 cookie sheets
For the sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup vegetable broth or red wine
23 oz jar or 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (I use Italian crushed tomatoes that come in a jar – the taste is far superior for the extra dollar it costs).
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
A 12 oz block of tofu
½ cup ground almonds
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ of a juicy lemon)
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder or tapioca powder
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Enough oil to oil a 9”x13” baking or casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly oil three baking sheets or shallow pans.
Roast the vegetables
Trim the stems from the eggplant and zucchini(s). Remove any eyes from the potatoes, but there’s no need to peel them. Slice the eggplant, zucchini and potato, lengthwise, into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices. Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to soften and sweat (yes, you will see the eggplant sweating!). The salt helps lift out any bitter taste in the eggplant. Lightly rinse off the eggplant after it’s had time to sweat.
Use a separate baking sheet for each type of vegetable. Spread the vegetable slices out in a single layer. Give the potatoes and zucchini a light sprinkle of salt.
Roast the zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes and the potatoes for 20. Remove from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool.
Leave the oven on!
While the vegetables are roasting make the sauce.
Add the ¼ cup olive oil to a large pot and heat on medium high. Sauté the onion and garlic until they are translucent. Add the other ingredients and bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and set the pot of sauce aside.
Make the béchamel sauce
Add all the ingredients to a food processor or strong blender. Blend until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. I add up to ½ cup of water as I’m blending to get a creamier sauce… it really depends on the tofu you use.
Assemble and bake
Oil a 9 x 13 pan. Spread a big spoonful of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Layer in the eggplant, then the potato, then a thin layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with half the bread crumbs. Add the layer of zucchini. Add the next layer of eggplant and potatoes and the remainder of the breadcrumbs. Layer the remainder of the tomato sauce over it all. Then spread the béchamel sauce as the top layer and smooth it out. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and it’s formed a few cracks. Allow the dish to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.