Serve this wonderful bake hot or cold and enjoy the authentic flavours of moussaka. Layers of eggplants and potatoes with a mushroom and lentil ragu, topped with a creamy vegan béchamel make this a rich and creamy dish.
- 2 large / 400g / 14.11 ounces potatoes, sliced to half an inch thick
- 2 medium-sized / 700g / 1.5 pounds eggplants, sliced into ½ inch thick
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
Mushroom and lentil ragu:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 250g / 8.82 ounces portabello or button mushrooms, diced
- 2 / 425g / 14.99 ounces cans brown lentils, drained and rinsed*
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 / 400g / 14.11 ounces can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tamari sauce, or soy sauce
- ⅓ cup / 80 ml red wine (optional, however, adds depth of flavour)
- 1–2 tablespoons maple syrup*
- You can find the recipe here.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (355 degrees Fahrenheit) and oil a large baking dish (approximately 22cm x 32cm / 8.66 inches x 12.59 inches) on the bottom and sides.
- Prepare the potato: In a large bowl, add the sliced potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 sprig of thyme, ½ teaspoon of salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Toss to cover the potatoes well.
- Line the bottom of the baking dish with the potatoes, slightly overlapping them. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the eggplant: While the potatoes bake, in that same large bowl toss the eggplant with the 4 remaining tablespoons of olive oil (alternatively you can brush olive oil onto each slice with a pastry brush to make sure they are all covered), 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly cracked pepper.
- Half of the eggplant will be to layer over the potatoes, and the other half needs to be baked on a flat sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Once the potatoes are done, bake the eggplant (both the layers, one over the potatoes and the other on a separate tray) for 40 minutes.
- Prepare the ragu: While the vegetables continue to bake, prepare the ragu. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions. Saute until they start to turn a little translucent.
- Add in the garlic and saute for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the cinnamon and nutmeg, giving it a good stir to release all the aromatics from the spices and then add in the tomato paste. Stir well.
- Put in the diced mushrooms and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and released their natural juices. If you’re finding that the saucepan is a bit dry, add a splash of water to deglaze the pan.
- Add in the lentils and give it a good stir and then continue to add in the thyme, tomatoes (fill half the can with water and add it in), tamari, red wine, and maple syrup.
- Let the ragu simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. (See image of ragu above for guidance.) Season with cracked pepper and salt if needed at the end.
- Prepare the béchamel: While the sauce simmers, you can make the béchamel using the recipe in the link above.
- Assembling the moussaka: Once you have all the components ready, it’s time to assemble. (See images above for guidance.) At this stage, you’ll already have the first two layers in the baking dish. The potatoes and the first layer of eggplant will already be in place. Now add in the ragu and spread out evenly. Top it with the second layer of eggplants and then finish it off with the béchamel (keeping the tapioca slurry aside).
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then add the béchamel and tapioca mix and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
- Once it’s done, let it sit out on the counter for around 45 minutes to 1 hour so that all the layers firm up and cool a little before you cut into it and serve.
Lentils: If you’re using home-cooked lentils, use 3½ cups worth.
Maple syrup: The maple syrup is added to help balance out the acidity in the canned tomatoes that have citric acid added to them. Start with 1 tablespoon and taste. Adjust accordingly.
- Diet: Vegan