Deluxe Moussaka Fusion
I created this recipe as a special request from my friend Lynne. It was a bit of a challenge as I really cannot tell when was the last time I had a proper Moussaka. Also, you have to remember that this dish originates from the countries of the late Ottoman Empire (Greece, Middle East, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, Slovenia and Serbia) and comes in all shapes & sizes, depending on the fresh produce available in each country. So, instead of trying to please absolutely everyone, I decided to do a concoction of familiar and satisfying flavours.
This Moussaka has three layers (in short): aubergines in ‘béchamel’ sauce, aromatic tomato-lentils and creamy puréed potatoes. It takes about 1.5 hours to put it together so be sure to bake a huge portion (the recipe below fills up a 24cm x 32cm baking dish). Especially given that it might be eaten rather quickly… 😉
Equipment: oven, baking paper, roasting tray(s), Thermomix or frying pan & blender, baking dish
Cooking time: 1.5 h
- 2 aubergines
- 1 marrow
- 1 tbsp. miso paste
- 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
- Rapeseed oil
- 3 large potatoes
- 2 carrots
- ¼ of a large celeriac (about 250g)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 150g brown lentils, rinsed & picked through
- 2 leeks
- Coconut oil
- 2 Portobello or chestnut mushrooms
- 1 tin tomatoes (400ml)
- ½ tube tomato puree
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tbsp. vegetarian bouillon
- 100g cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained
- 400ml almond milk (or any other plant-based milk)
- 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp. arrowroot or corn-starch
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt to taste
- VioLife Cheddar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Chop off the green parts of the aubergines. Slice them into 1 cm rings, lengthways. Lay a roasting tray with baking paper. Using a silicon brush, paint it with rapeseed oil. Spread the aubergines on top in a single layer. In a small bowl mix the miso paste, pomegranate molasses and a dollop of rapeseed oil. Use the brush to paint the aubergines with it. Place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Once done place them in your chosen baking dish as the first layer.
2. In the meantime, peel the marrow and chop into 1.5cm rings. Roast them as per the aubergines above (minus the miso-pomegranate paste). Once ready, this will be the second layer.
3. Peel the garlic and roast it with the marrow. Be mindful that it will need much less time than the marrow so you will need to take it out earlier (after about 15 minutes).
4. Chop the leeks, transfer to a frying pan, add coconut oil and then fry on a high heat constantly stirring for about 5 minutes, or until golden. Turn down the heat, add cumin, thyme and cook for about a minute, constantly stirring. Add chopped mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, vegetarian bouillon, lentils, salt and enough water to just cover it all. Simmer for another 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more water if the consistency becomes too thick. Put aside.
5. For the white sauce: put cashews, milk, nutritional yeast, corn starch, lemon juice, olive oil and the roasted garlic in a blender, blitz and then transfer it into a small cooking pan. Bring to boil and then simmer constantly stirring until it thickens, creating a custard-like consistency: about 5-8 minutes. If you have Thermomix then you can cook & blend everything in one bowl.
6. Peel the potatoes, carrots & celeriac, chop into quarters and boil with 3 bay leaves for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Drain, discard the bay leaves, add half of the white sauce and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
7. Pour half of the remaining white sauce onto the aubergine-marrow layer. Add the tomato-lentils layer, then the mashed potatoes layer. Sprinkle some thyme on top and bake for another 10-15 mins until slightly brown on top.
*You can grate just a touch of VioLife Cheddar on top for some extra crispiness but the whole dish is so aromatic that it will not be missed.