This warming Vegan Lentil Moussaka is great for a night in and serves a small crowd.
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon thyme
1 small sprig of mint, minced with stem removed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can tomato passata
175 grams meat crumble (I used soy based) – you can omit this, although it definitely helps with recreating that chewy meat texture
3/4 cup green lentils
2 cups stock
1/2+ teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
small bunch of basil, chopped
small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 small potatoes
2 small potatoes
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 4+ hours
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Add the onions to a pan with olive oil and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, thyme, mint, meat crumble and heat until fragrant – about one minute. Add the red wine vinegar and simmer until evaporated.
Add the agave, tomato paste, tomato passata, lentils, and stock and cook until the lentils are fully cooked and tender. This will depend on the type of lentils you use, it took mine about 30 minutes on medium heat. Once ready, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in basil and parsley.
Preheat oven to 230°C. Cut the eggplants and zucchini into equally thick slices of about .5 inch. Lay the eggplant on a baking tray and brush each slice, on both sides, with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and put into the oven for about 25 minutes until cooked through and slightly browned. The same can be done with the zucchini although I’ve found it to be easier to get the right browning by throwing them into a non-stick frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil.
Meanwhile, boil all four peeled potatoes until just tender – leaving two for an extra 5 minutes until very soft. Slice the firmer potatoes .5 inch thick and set aside.
Add the two soft boiled potatoes into a blender along with all the other Bechamel Layer ingredients. Adjust seasoning, nutrional yeast, and quantity of almond milk according to desired consistency and taste.
Layering the Moussaka:
Preheat oven to 200°C.
First, lay down slices of the firmer potatoes on the bottom of a baking pan or clay baking pot (I use a römertopf). Next spoon the ‘Meat’ Sauce on top. Now lay the slices of eggplant and zucchini on top, as uniformly as possible. Finally, spoon the Bechamel Layer over the whole thing and taa-daaahh, it’s ready to put into the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes, you’ll know it’s ready once it starts bubbling a little bit on the sides.
*If you’d like to add a little more texture to the cheesy Bechamel Layer then you can grind up a slice of stale bread with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and combine with a little olive oil to add on top before baking in the oven.