Wednesday, January 26, 2011


There are just about a million ways one can go about making moussaka. Generally it involves eggplant and bechamel sauce and then it goes into thousands of different directions, adding meat, not adding meat, adding tomato sauce, deep fried potatoes, some have rice, some have beans...all I know is my version combines the best of moussaka's variations to create a hearty and filling, healthy dish.

Roasted eggplant and potatoes layered with artichoke hearts tossed with dried currants, pine nuts and sunflower seeds and a chunky chickpea tomato layer all cooked with creamy bechamel sauce until bubbly and browned.

serves 4
1 large eggplant, 1/2" slices
sea salt
4 tbl extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large russet potato, 1/2" slices
1 white onion, small dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup dried currants
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, divided ( I used Daiya)

Chickpea tomato layer-
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 oz diced tomatoes
1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbl tomato paste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp organic sugar
salt and pepper

2 tbl earth balance vegan butter
2 tbl ap flour
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper to taste

Heavily salt the eggplant on both sides and set aside to allow the eggplant to drain a little bit of its moisture. (About 30 minutes)
Preheat the oven to 400.
Lay the eggplant and potato slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with 3 tbl of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until lightly charred and the potato has almost cooked through. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, saute 1 tbl of oil with the onions until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and heat through. Add the seeds, nuts, currants, parsley and 1/4 cup cheese and mix. Season with more salt if necessary.

For the chickpea tomato layer-
Saute the onions in oil in a small sauce pan until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, saute 2 minutes more. Add the chickpeas and gently mash, just to break up the beans. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

For the bechamel-
Melt the butter in a small pot. Add the flour, whisk and cook out the raw flour flavor for 1 minute, whisking continuously. Pour in the milk in a steady stream while whisking. Bring to a simmer until the sauce has thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Moussaka assembly-
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease an 8x8" baking dish. Cover the bottom with all the potato slices. Top the potatoes with the chickpea layer. Next top with all the eggplant. Top the eggplant with the artichoke mixture then pour the bechamel over the top of everything. Top with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

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