I looooove moussaka. Though, truthfully, I guess I’ve never tried ‘traditional’ moussaka (a Greek dish made with eggplant, lamb, potato and rich béchamel sauce)… My mom started make this vegan version, with layers of potato, eggplant, exotic spices and a creamy (but dairy-free) sauce. SO good.
This recipe does have a lot of steps, but it’s totally worth it for a few reasons:
- it makes a giant 9″ x 13″ pan – good for two family-of-four dinners OR a larger dinner party,
- it’s a great make-ahead meal that stores well in the freezer, and
- it makes a fantastic leftover meal. Mmmmmm…. left-overs!!!
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced thinly
- 2 medium zucchinis (or half a squash), sliced thinly
- 3 medium potatoes, sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or coconut oil, if you are okay with the mild coconut flavour)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large (28-oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 small (6-oz) can tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp each ground cinnamon, garam masala, black pepper
- 1 Tbsp teaspoon sea salt
- **See below for top layer creamy sauce recipe
- Cut the eggplant in ¼-inch slices and spread them out on a plate or clean tea towel. Salt the slices and let them "sweat" for about 10 minutes. Rinse or pat the salt off using a clean tea towel (this decreases bitterness). Set aside.
- Cut potatoes and zucchini (or squash) into ¼-inch slices. Set aside.
- Sauté the onion and garlic in oil, until the onion is transparent and lightly browned. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, cinnamon, masala, salt, and pepper. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
- Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of a 13” x 9” baking dish. Layer the potato slices evenly on the bottom of the dish, and spoon about ⅓ of the tomato sauce over them. Layer the eggplant, another ⅓ of tomato sauce, zucchini (or squash) slices, and the final ⅓ of the tomato sauce (reserve just a small amount for the top).
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 90 minutes at 375F.
- Remove from the oven and remove the cover. Pour creamy sauce over the top and place the dish back in the oven to bake for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool so it’s easier to slice.
Many steps, but look at all the delicious vegetable goodness and exotic spices in this dish!! Both my kids tell me eggplant is “not my favourite,” BUT when we make moussaka together, they always seem to gobble it up (maybe in part because they helped in its creation? who knows, but I’ll take it)!
For the top layer of creamy ‘bechamel’ sauce, you can use either of the options below.
Option 1 – nut-free:
1/2 cup coconut oil or grapeseed oil + 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk (I use rice, almond or coconut milk)
1/3 cup starch (arrowroot or tapioca) mixed with 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp turmeric + 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp sea salt
Directions: Heat oil in a small sauce pan. Add nutmeg and stir, allowing the nutmeg aroma to fill the kitchen. Add milk. Mix starch and water together separately in a cup, then add it to the heated pot. Stir continuously to ensure no lumps form. Add salt and optional spices, if desired. Whisk until smooth and thick. Remove from heat until ready to use.
Option 2 – grain/starch-free:
Cashew cream sauce with nutmeg (recipe to come)