making the sauce
- 1 pkg gardein beefless ground
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tspfreshly ground cloves
- 1bay leaf
- 1 (15-oz) can whole tomatoes, rough chopped or crushed
- 1 cupwater
- 1 tspsea salt
- 1/2 tspground pepper
roasting the eggplant
- 2 large eggplants
- olive oil, to coat
- sea salt, to sprinkle on eggplant
making the béchamel sauce
- 6 tbsp butter (or vegan option)
- 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk, or cashew cream*/ other vegan option
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tspsea salt
- 1 tbsp potato starch
- 1 tbsptapioca starch
assembling and baking
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cupfine bread crumbs
Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Measure the spices and tomato paste and have the beefless ground and tomatoes close by. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and onions and gently cook for 8 to 10 minutes until they are translucent and start to turn golden. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Increase heat to medium-high, add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or so before adding the spices. Add the cinnamon stick, oregano, allspice, nutmeg, ground cloves, sea salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.
Add the tomatoes, crush them up a bit, then and add the bay leaf. Stir well and continue to add a bit of water. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Stir well, reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Then add the beefless ground, stirring to coat it in the sauce. Add more water if the mixture seems a bit too dry. Lastly, taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and slice eggplant into 1/2″ rounds. Place onto a cooling rack and sprinkle both sides with the salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse the eggplant under cold water and dry well with paper towels before laying it onto two baking sheets. Coat each piece of eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for approximately 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. To finish, turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 4 to 5 minutes per side to brown. Remove from oven and set aside on cooling rack. Reduce the oven to 350°F.
In a medium-sized pot melt the non-dairy butter. Once melted, add the flour followed by the tapioca and the potato starch. Mix to combine and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until it turns a light golden color. Next, slowly add the non-dairy milk and sea salt. If you are using a cashew cream here, the mixture will thicken quite quickly. Depending on the type of non-dairy milk used, you may need to add more or less to get the right consistency. Continue to add the cream, whisking constantly, until you reach the desired consistency. Cook until the mixture begins to boil and thicken. At this point, add the freshly ground nutmeg. Lastly, taste for seasoning and then set aside.
To assemble the moussaka, coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil, sprinkle bread crumbs, and cover the bottom with slices of eggplant. Spoon some of the tomato mixture over the eggplant and use an offset spatula to gently spread the mixture to evenly cover the surface. Add the remaining slices of eggplant, followed by another layer of the tomato mixture, spreading to evenly cover the surface.
Finish by spooning the béchamel over the tomato mixture, making sure to completely cover the surface.
Bake in a 350°F oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown on top. Let rest on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve this delicious moussaka with a nice light salad for a complete meal.
*To make cashew cream as a non-dairy option in this recipe, when making the béchamel, simply blend in a blender 1 1/4 cups raw cashews (soaked) and 3 cups of water. This will produce about 4 cups of non-dairy cream.