Thank you, Silk, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
This vegan eggplant moussaka is made with tender slices of roasted eggplant and zucchini, layered with smoky lentils, and topped with a mashed potato crust slathered in creamy vegan Béchamel sauce.
Oh moussaka. I love this dish and for a long, long time, it eluded me. Back before the internet, or at least back before I knew what to do with the internet, like in the late 90's, I'd end up at restaurants where I tired all kinds of random dishes that I LOVED but had no idea where to find more information on.
That's how I had my first taste of vegetarian eggplant moussaka. I think it was the only vegetarian thing on the menu at the particular place I was having dinner, but that was fine, because it was awesome.
In all honesty, I can't remember what was in that moussaka I tried all those years ago, just that it was a big plate of saucey eggplanty goodness. I'm pretty sure it wasn't vegan though.
So here I am, on my very own internet website, with my very own vegan eggplant moussaka, and the timing couldn't be more perfect. Right about this time of year is when all the produce is abound, and it's finally cool enough to turn on the oven and cook that produce, which I couldn't be happier about.
My moussaka uses lentils and walnuts in place of meat, layers of eggplant and zucchini, and a cozy mashed potato crust topped with vegan Béchamel. I was actually a little nervous about that last part, being not really sure if the potato Béchamel layer would taste good without the traditional feta cheese you find in traditional moussaka, or whether the sauce would do it's thing without dairy milk. It couldn't have turned out more perfectly though.
I used Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk and cooked it up just as I might if I were making a conventional Béchamel. It was deliciously thick and creamy and made a perfectly sturdy topping for this luscious veggie bake.
Vegan Eggplant Moussaka
For the Lentils
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with juices
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch cloves
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Zucchini and Eggplant
- 1 medium eggplant (1 ½ pounds)
- 2 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
For the Mashed Potato Crust
- 1 pound russet potatoes (1 large or 2 medium), peeled and chopped
- ½ cup Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Vegan Béchamel Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin preparing the lentils by placing them in a medium saucepan and covering with 3 cups of water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Allow to cook, uncovered, until lentils are almost done, but just a bit firm at their centers, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess water.
While the lentils simmer, begin preparing the veggies. Preheat oven to 400°. Slice eggplant and zucchini into long slabs, about ¼ inch thick. Brush with olive oil and arrange on baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned and just beginning to soften, about 15 minutes.
While the veggies bake and the lentils cook, place potatoes into a medium pot and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain into a colander and return to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, and add cashew milk and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a splash or two more of cashew milk, if needed.
Once the lentils have finished simmering, and are drained, coat the bottom of a medium pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add lentils, tomatoes and red wine. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until liquid is reduced by about half, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, paprika, cinnamon and cloves. Cook just until thickened up a bit and heated throughout, about 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts and season with salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the Béchamel sauce, place olive oil into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk in flour and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, whisking almost constantly, for about 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer over low heat until very thick, about 10 minutes, whisking frequently.
If you turned off the oven after baking the zucchini and eggplant, turn it back on, and preheat it to 400°. Arrange about a third of eggplant and zucchini slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top with about half of lentil mixture, then arrange another third of the zucchini and eggplant layers over lentils, followed by remaining lentils, and then a final layer of zucchini and eggplant. Spread potatoes over zucchini and eggplant, and then spread Béchamel sauce in an even layer over potatoes.
Place in the oven and bake until the top begins to brown and you see some bubbling around the sides of the dish, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.