Moussaka is one of my favorite foods. I think about it, no joke, at least once a week. Layers of eggplant, spiced tomatoes, and a creamy topping? What’s not to love! I shared with you the quick recipe I use to meet the incessant craving on the average workday, but sometimes you need the real thing. I originally wasn’t going to share this so soon after my quick and mildly inauthentic version, but my friend Emily was desperate to make this again after I served it at my vege-versary party. So Emily, this recipe is just for you!
Even though I was going for a more authentic version, I’ve still taken some strong liberties here. While the Moussaka I had in Greece was vegetarian, not all versions are. I also made this version vegan and gluten free, which I can guarantee isn’t standard fare. If I’m going to cater to my dietary restrictions, I might as well cater to everyone else’s, right?
This recipe takes a fair amount of time. You have to cook the eggplant, simmer the filling, and make the sauce for on top. To make this more reasonable, I normally cook the eggplant a day or two in advance, while doing another task that requires me being in the kitchen for 20 minutes, like unloading the dishwasher or blending up the batter for black bean brownies and making the cheesecake topping. Feel free to play around with what you put in the filling — you could add more veggies, adjust the spices, or even swap out for real meat if you’re in to that sort of thing.
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or heaping ½ tsp dried oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ c meat substitute (I used GF “beef” grounds, but any meat sub or even cooked ground beef or turkey would work)
salt and pepper, to taste
3 c unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
¼ c cornstarch (see note)
4 tbsp. nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
Peel zucchini and slice into ½ inch slices (lengthwise or rounds, doesn’t matter).
Arrange on two baking sheets. Spritz exposed side with nonstick spray or brush with oil. Boil on top rack for 5 minutes, flip zucchini, and broil an additional 5 minutes, until eggplant is soft.
Set oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute onion and garlic in a large pan (spritz with nonstick spray, drizzle with olive oil, or line with a thin layer of water to prevent sticking) until soft. Add allspice, cinnamon, and cloves and stir to combine. Add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Cook until most of broth is absorbed, then add meat substitute. Taste, adding more seasonings to reach your desired spice level.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking the milk with the cornstarch in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the nutritional yeast (or Parm), salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisking frequently, heat until sauce thickens, approximately 10 minutes. Reduce heat if sauce begins to boil.
Spritz a 9×13″ casserole dish with nonstick spray. Arrange half of the eggplant slices on the bottom, layer with all of the tomato filling, top with the remaining eggplant, and cover the eggplant in the white sauce.
Bake for 40 minutes. To brown top, turn on broiler for a few minutes after baking.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
If using Parmesan instead of nutritional yeast, increase cornstarch by 1 tbsp. Nutritional estimate is for 4 LARGE slices (this is made in a 9 x 13″ pan!) using unsweetened almond milk, linked meat swap (similar to TVP), and no oil to grease pans. This can be made in advance through the baking stage. Cover and refrigerate, bringing to room temp before baking or baking an additional 10 – 15 minutes. Moussaka recipe adapted from Cooking Light.
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