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  • Writer's pictureYiannoulla Burness

Moussaka a Taste of the Mediterranean

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

This is my plant based version of a popular layered casserole dish, Moussaka.

Enjoy thinly sliced baked potato, eggplant and zucchini layered with a rich homemade tomato sauce topped with a thick layer of creamy custard like béchamel sauce.

This dish makes for a delicious comfort food.

For a gluten free version swap out the wheat flour for gluten free flour when making the béchamel sauce.

EQUIPMENT

1 sharp cutting knife

1 mandoline (optional)

1 medium size saucepan

1-2 large baking sheet trays or a large fry pan.

Baking dish 23cm x23.5cm or 9 inches x 9.5 inches


PREHEAT OVEN AT

200 degree Celsius

400 degree Farenhiet


THE SLICED VEGETABLES CAN BE BAKED IN THE OVEN OR PAN FRIED. I PREFER DOING THE OVEN METHOD AS IT CUTS DOWN ON THE USE OF OIL.

Do not be alarmed at the amount of vegetable. Vegetables shrink in size considerably when they are baked. We need enough baked vegetables to make at least 5-6 layers for the specified baking dish. Choose your own size dish to use and adjust amounts if needed.


RECIPE


VEGETABLE PREPARATION

490g eggplant, thinly sliced - (look for large eggplant)

520g all purpose or starchy potato, thinly sliced

268g zucchini, thinly sliced - (look for medium to large size)


METHOD

*Slice the eggplants without peeling them, into thin uniform size slices.

*Rinse the slices under water, pat dry and sprinkle with salt.

*Put aside in a colander for at least 30 minutes.

*Some eggplant can be bitter, doing the above steps removes traces of bitterness.

*Next peel and slice the potato and zucchini into uniform slices.

*Place the sliced vegetables on sheet trays covered with baking paper or baking sheets (this helps vegetables not to stick to the sheet pan)

*Lightly drizzle or brush vegetables with oil, give a light sprinkle with salt (optional) place in hot oven.

*After 20 minutes check if cooked by pricking with a skewer or fork.

* Depending on the size of your oven you may have to cook in two batches.

*When they are done remove from the oven and set aside ready to assemble.




TOMATO SAUCE

210g brown onion, finely diced

1 large head or bulb of garlic, crushed

800g fresh tomato, roughly chopped (or substitute with tin tomatoes)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3/4 teaspoon of salt or to taste (my preference is Himalayan pink salt)

light tasting oil


METHOD

*In a medium to large saucepan add 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium - low heat

*Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring until soft and translucent.

*Add crushed garlic and cook a further couple of minutes.

*Add in roughly chopped tomatoes (if using tinned use only half the juice), tomato paste and salt.

*Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered on low heat, until liquid has reduced and the sauce has thickened. We are looking for a thick sauce not watery.

*Taste for flavour and adjust as needed.





PREHEAT OVEN TO 180C or 350F WHILE MAKING THE BECHAMEL SAUCE


BECHAMEL SAUCE

4 tablespoons plant based butter or 1-2 tablespoons light tasting oil

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup plain flour

2 1/2 cups plant milk

Salt to taste (my preference is Himalayan pink salt)


METHOD

*Place a medium size saucepan on medium to high heat.

*Add butter, once melted add minced garlic and turn heat down to medium-low.

*Saute garlic for 1 minute then add in the flour and a good pinch of salt.

*Whisk the flour with the butter continuing to whisk to prevent it catching on the bottom of pan, now turn heat to low.

*Next slowly add the milk a little at a time. Once the milk has absorbed into the flour add more of the milk. Repeat this process until all the milk is used. Remember to keep whisking or you can stir with a wooden spoon to prevent a lumpy sauce.

*When the sauce is thick and creamy resembling custard the sauce is ready.


ASSEMBLE

*Lightly brush the baking dish on the bottom and side with butter or oil

*In you casserole dish start layering the vegetables

*Start with a layer of potato

*Next a thin covering of tomato sauce

*Next a layer of eggplant

*Another layer of tomato sauce

*A layer of zucchini

*Keep repeating the layers finishing with potato as the last layer on the top

*Top with the béchamel sauce and smooth out evenly

*Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until the béchamel sauce is a nice golden colour.

*Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving






Serve with pourgouri (bulgar wheat and noodles) a tossed salad, crusty bread and olives.








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