So you love moussaka but you are fasting for lent or you are a vegan? That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite dish anymore! This is my delicious vegan moussaka with lentils recipe that I’ve specifically crafted, so it keeps the essence of the traditional one, yet is fully plant based!
For the Vegan Moussaka Lentils sauce
- 5g dried mushrooms (1/2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion
- salt to taste
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 400g can chopped tomatoes (14 oz)
- 1 glass red wine (approx. 250ml / 1 cup)
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 200g dried green lentils (7 oz)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- black pepper to taste
- sugar to taste
For the Vegan Moussaka Béchamel sauce
- 1 brown onion
- 600ml soy milk (2 1/2 cups)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 black peppercorns
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
- 80g flour (2 3/4 oz)
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
For the Moussaka
- 3 large eggplant
- 3 medium potatoes
- olive oil
- Pour 500ml (2 cups) of boiling water over the dried mushrooms and set aside to soak.
- Infuse the milk for the béchamel. Roughly chop the white onion and add to a small saucepan or milk pan along with the soy milk, cinnamon stick, one of the bay leaves and the peppercorns. Set over a medium high heat and gently bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped red onion and cook for 5-6 minutes until translucent and just starting to colour. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute until aromatic.
- Stir in the ground cinnamon, followed by the tomato paste. Cook for a further minute or two until the tomato paste has caramelised slightly and turned brick red.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and the dried mushroom soaking liquid, using a little soaking liquid or wine to wash out the tomato tin so you don’t leave any juice behind. Stir in the lentils, oregano, the remaining dried bay leaf, and the soaked dried mushrooms, finely chopped.
- Bring to the boil and season well with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, uncovered, for 1 hour until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 220C/430F.
- Slice the potatoes into 0.5cm (half a finger width) slices. Line a large baking sheet (you might need two depending on the size of your sheets) with baking parchment and lay out the potato slices. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip the pieces over and repeat. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until well browned – with the baking parchment, there should be no need to flip them to colour both sides.
- To prepare the eggplant, slice lengthwise into 1cm (one finger width) wide strips. As with the potatoes, transfer to baking parchment lined baking sheets, season on both sides with salt, and spray with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes; there will also be no need to turn the eggplant pieces half way, but you’ll want to rotate the pans in the oven roughly half way to make sure everything browns evenly.
- Once the vegetables are done, drop the oven temperature to 180C/350F.
- When the lentils are about 10 minutes from being cooked, start the béchamel. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Once the oil has just started to shimmer, whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly to cook the raw flavour out of the flour.
- Strain the infused milk and gradually whisk it into the flour mixture, whisking quickly to avoid any lumps. Whisk in the nutritional yeast, nutmeg, and garlic powder, and and season to taste with salt – you’ll probably need more than you think to bring out the ‘cheesy’ flavour of the nutritional yeast. Remove from the heat only when the mixture is thick, but still spreadable.
- To assemble the moussaka, spread the potatoes in a single layer across the bottom of a deep 32cm x 20cm (12 inch x 8 inch) baking dish. Then, layer half the eggplant slices, followed by the lentil mixture. Add the rest of the eggplant, and smooth the béchamel over the top.
- Bake the moussaka for 30 minutes or until the top is golden. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Keywords: vegan moussaka, vegan moussaka with lentils, moussaka with lentils, vegan lentil moussaka