Well—what better way to celebrate a fabulous summer day in Cape Town at the foot of Africa than a superb Greek lunch— which is exactly what we did the other day. We made dips, skordalia—recipe next week—and had real Ouzo from Lesbos which my friend Jill brought– but the piece de resistance was a vegan Moussaka. Frankly I had my doubts as I go along with that quote from “My big Fat Greek wedding “ where one person says about a vegetarian=== “ Oh we better give him some lamb,’ but the result was fabulous. Having eaten Moussaka all over Greece since 1974 I fell in love with it. The fact that they tell me it is a whole lot healthier is one thing but the flavours and texture are about as real as you can get anywhere. Can’t wait to try it on Greek friends without revealing THE SECRET.
HERE IS THE RECIPE–DON’T BE PUT OFF– IT IS GREAT AND FEEDS A FAMILY.
Vegan Greek Moussaka
- 2 large eggplants sliced (1cm thickness)
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and sliced (1cm thickness)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 200g Soya Mince (soak in 500ml water)
- 1 cup black lentils (cook in 2 cups of water & some salt for 20min & drain)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (400g)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 5 tbsp Vegan Butter (plant based butter)
- 5 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 cups Soya milk – room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Fresh grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush generously with olive oil or use cooking spray.
- Place the eggplant sliced on the baking sheet and brush some more olive oil on them.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes until they are cooked and golden brown. Take then out of the oven and lower the temperature to 180C.
- As the eggplants are roasting, bring a pot of water to boil.
- Cook the potato sliced in the boiling water for five to seven minutes until they are some how fork tender. Drain and discard the water. Set the potatoes aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and saute onion and garlic until golden brown.
- Add tomato paste and cook until it starts to stick and caramelizes.
- Add in crushed tomatoes and all the spices. Mix well. Add the lentils and soya mince with water and cook for about ten minutes over medium low heat. Make sure the sauce is juicy enough, add ½ cup water if needed.
- Melt the vegan butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour and mix well.
- Add milk in steps and whisk very well after each addition.
- Bring the sauce to simmer and cook for some minutes until it’s creamy and thick.
- Turn the heat off, add in salt and pepper and nutmeg.
- Whisk well until everything is completely incorporated.
- Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or grease with vegan butter.
- Spread a spoonful of the soya mince mixture over the bottom in the dish.
- Add a layer of potato slices – try not to overlap
- Spoon over some bechamel
- Add a layer of eggplant slices
- Spoon over more soya mixture until all is covered
- Repeat the process until the dish is full or the ingredients are all used up
- Finish by covering the top with a good layer of bechamel and grate some more nutmeg over
- Bake in a 180C oven for 40-45min.
- Cool slightly and enjoy with a fresh Greek salad