Learn to make a delicious and healthy vegan or vegetarian Greek Moussaka. It’s already an all time favourite with the family and friends!
Instead of mince beef, we’ll make a mushroom and sweet potato stew. And instead of using milk and egg yolks in our bechamel sauce, we’ll use almond milk and chickpea water. Get ready to truly veganize this traditional Greek recipe!
Watch the Full Recipe on YouTube here below:
1 Red Onion
2 Large potatoes. The kind that works well for chips, baking or frying.
1 Onion (standard)
1 Aubergine (Eggplant) - large
2 Courgettes (Zucchini) - large
2 Celery stalks
1 bunch of Thyme (15-20 sprigs)
1 Sweet Potato (unpeeled)
400g Chestnut Mushrooms (clean only with kitchen towel)
1 Glass of White Wine
1 tsp Cinnamon (ground)
1/2 tsp Cloves (ground)
2 cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp Red Pesto
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree or Passata
1 Jar of Chopped Tomatoes or 4-5 Fresh Tomatoes
750ml Organic Almond Drink/Milk (unsweetened!)
2 fistfuls of Organic Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
Water from 1 can of chickpeas
Parmesan for grating (optional)
Nutmeg (whole piece, for grating)
Rapeseed Oil (for baking, frying)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to be used cold only)
To start prepping, Lightly brush your baking tray with rapeseed oil and set your oven to Fan and to 200 degrees Celsius or 390 Fahrenheit.
The first layer is potatoes and red onion. Peel those potatoes and slice into fairly thin discs. Roughly Chop the onion.
In a big bowl, season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over some thyme, drizzle over some rapeseed oil , and mix through.
Place in your baking tray and arrange your potato slices evenly on the bottom with the onions on top and to cover any gaps.
Get it into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Alright, let’s get cracking with the aubergines or eggplants. Slice a large one into fairly thin discs. Just like before, season with salt and pepper, drizzle on that rapeseed oil and sprinkle on half a handful of thyme. And mix through. Don’t be tempted to use too much oil, as the aubergines soak it up like a sponge.
After the first 20min are up, take the tray out and arrange the aubergines on top of the potato layer. Try not to leave any gaps - as they'll shrink when they dry in the oven. Again, place in the oven for 20min.
Now on to the courgettes, or zucchini. And yes, you guessed it. Season with salt, pepper, rapeseed oil and thyme. Just like before.
Arrange these nicely on top of the aubergines. And, these guys also go into the oven for a third 20min.
Now, we’ll start with the awesomely rustic mushroom and sweet potato stew. Dice one sweet potato, leaving most of the skin on. The skin is a great source of vitamin A, so definitely don’t peel the sweet potato please. Oil a large non-stick pan with some rapeseed oil and get a chopped onion and 2 stalks of celery in there. Sweat them on a low to medium heat for a good 5min.
Add in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and half a teaspoon of ground cloves. This will give the dish that light rustic flavour, that distinguishes it from an Italian lasagna. Add a couple of chopped cloves of garlic to your onions. After a few more minutes your onions will start to soften and turn golden brown. Add in the diced sweet potato 400g of lovely chopped chestnut mushrooms. See if you need to add some seasoning and a little more oil. Crank up the heat to the max and pour in about a glass of white wine. Cook through, letting the alcohol evaporate and turn down the heat to the minimum.
Once the oven timer for the courgettes is up, take the tray out of the oven and set a side.
Time to begin making the vegan bechamel sauce! If it’s your first time making bechamel, it may be a little challenging, but don’t be afraid to give it a go! Just be patient with it - and follow the instructions. Get a fairly big splash of rapeseed oil into a small or medium sized non-stick pan. Set the heat to very low. Pour in some organic flour or whole wheat flour. About a fistful to begin with. Slowly whisk that into the oil. Once incorporated, add a second fistful of flour. You’ll need 750ml of proper organic almond milk. You’ll be pouring this over the flour mixture in little batches. So just pour in about half a glass of almond milk at a time. Continue doing this about 8 to 10 times. Just keep whisking continuously, whisking out any lumps that may form. If the mixture heats up too quickly just lift the pan off the heat for a moment. Once you’ve poured in the last batch of your almond milk, you’ll see that the sauce is silky and smooth. Also, you’ll know the sauce is ready, once it starts bubbling.
Season it with only a little salt and pepper, and grate a little bit of nutmeg on it. Now you can pour in the water of one can of chickpeas. This will bind the sauce nicely, making it glossy! No need for those egg yolks! Combine all this with your whisk and you can turn off the heat. Give it a taste and see if it needs more season or maybe a little more nutmeg.
Now back to the stew. Once the mushrooms and sweet potato are nearly done, add in some red pesto for that sundried tomato flavour or some tomato puree. Here i’m using a passata as well as the red pesto. We just want to intensify the tomato flavour a little. Instead of the tomato passata you can use some chopped tomatoes out of a jar, or about 5 medium fresh ones of course. I’ve gone for a jar of spanish style chopped tomatoes just to speed things up. Cook all this through for about 5 to 10min, until you see a little oil rising to the top of the pan. Then your stew is done.
Now we’re ready to add the bechamel sauce. Only add about one third of the sauce you made to the stew. Mix this all together and continue cooking for another 5min on medium heat, until your stew mixture goes nice and sticky. You’re done once it’s really sticky. You basically want to avoid it being too wet and saucy, as that’ll make your moussaka lose its shape later when slicing it.
Time to get the last couple of layers on your tray! Spread the stew over the veggies followed by the remaining 2 thirds of your bechamel sauce. Even this out with an offset spatula, getting it into all those nooks and crannies.
Finally, I’m grating some parmesan cheese all over the bechamel layer. This is fine if you’re vegetarian. But if you’re not into cheese, the parmesan is of course optional. You can try it with non-dairy cheese if you like.
Phew this is the last baking time! Get your tray into the oven for about 25min to complete the bake. Your glorious Moussaka is ready when the top has a lovely golden colour.
Right. I know you wanna tuck in right away… but. I’m afraid you gotta let it rest for a while, so that it holds its shape. So, let it cool for ideally 1 hour. But, if you’re really hungry you can give it a go after 30min. I had guests over for a dinner, so we did that, and it was fine.
Carefully lift out a nice slice and it’s ready for plating. Garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.
I’m placing some cherry tomatoes to go with it, as they’re light and sweet, but you can serve your favourite sides with it.
Add a little sea salt on the room temperature tomatoes, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little thyme for that Mediterranean touch.
The thyme goes soooo well with the rustic vegetables we’ve used. The bechamel is nice and creamy without having used any milk, butter or eggs. The tomatoes with thyme give it a refreshing light lift.