• Elly McLean

Vegan Moussaka

One of the misconceptions about plant-based food is that it isn't tasty or satisfying. I can appreciate where this notion comes from in somebody who's experience with plant-based is simply toast, cereal, garden salads, baked potatoes and bowls of pasta. Conversely, when the experience involves an abundance of non-starchy vegetables, quality protein and anti-inflammatory fats, lack of taste or dissatisfaction doesn't enter the picture.


Lots of the satisfying, plant-based recipes I create for you are ready in a flash. I wanted to change things up a little! This Vegan Moussaka does take longer and has a few more steps than other recipes of mine, but it isn't difficult to do and I assure you, it'll be 100% worth it when you tuck in!


This Vegan Moussaka is enough to satisfy meat eaters, vegans and everyone in between!


Ingredients (Serves 4)


Eggplant base

2 large eggplants

2 tbsp extra virgin cold pressed olive oil / cold pressed avocado oil

1 tsp sea salt


Red Sauce

½ red onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

200g mushrooms, sliced

1 zucchini, shredded

1 can whole tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 can lentils

2 tbsp extra virgin cold pressed olive oil / cold pressed avocado oil

1 cup vegetable stock

½ tsp cinnamon, ground

½ tsp allspice, ground

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp sea salt


Cauliflower Sauce

½ head cauliflower, cut into florets

½ cup cashews

¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoon tapioca flour

½ tsp sea salt


Simple Salad

4 cups dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach or rocket)

Lemon wedges, optional

2 tbsp extra virgin cold pressed olive oil


Method

To prepare the eggplant, remove stalks and slice lengthways (0.75cm thickness) and sprinkle with salt.

Place in a colander to allow excess liquid to drain for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Rinse eggplant under cold water and pat dry with paper towel to remove salt.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake for 15 minutes.

Whilst eggplant is cooking start working on the sauce by heating oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add onion and garlic and stir for 3-4 minutes or until onion is cooked through.

Add mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes, followed by lentils, zucchini, tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and spices. Season and bring to a boil.

Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, steam cauliflower for 5-10 minutes or until tender.

Place cauliflower and remaining sauce ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy.

Taste and season as required.

Grease a large ovenproof dish and start layering your moussaka. Spread a thin layer of the red sauce over the base of the dish, followed by 1/3 of the eggplant and 1/3 of the red sauce and a ¼ of the cauliflower sauce.

Repeat 3 times in total, finishing with ½ the cauliflower sauce and a sprinkle of extra nutritional yeast.

Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve with lemon wedges and a side of greens topped with olive oil



Also...

Tip: to support better digestion, begin by preparing the lentils ahead of time. Rinse and empty into a large bowl of water. Leave to soak for up to 8 hours. When ready to use, rinse and drain the lentils.

Tip: place the cashews to soak in water for at least 4 hours prior to preparing the sauce.

Training specific: if consuming after high intensity exercise you may serve with a source of carbohydrate, such as a slice of gluten free bread.

Serving option: serve with a tbsp of fermented beetroot or sauerkraut.



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