Greek Aubergine Vegetarian Moussaka
A vegetarian version of the traditional Greek moussake dish: aubergines, bolognese, bechamel and cheese. A winning recipe that offers comfort, nourishment and happiness to the soul.
- 3 aubergines
- olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup texturised soy + 1/2 cup water
- dried herbs (thyme, oregano, basil)
- white wine
- 350 gr tomato sofrito (1 jar) or 4-5 ripe tomatoes, grated
- salt, pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp flour, regular wheat or rice flour for gluten free
- 500 ml oat or soy milk (unsweetened)
- salt, pepper and nutmeg powder
- Your favourite cheeses (Emmental, Parmesan, Gouda, Mozzarella…)
- Mixed greens, on the side
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Chop the aubergines into slices, approx 1 cm-thick. Add to a bowl, sprinkle some salt and mix with your hands – allow them to rest for 15 mins (salt helps remove its bitterness). While you "wait", move on with steps 2 and 3. Once the time has passed, rinse the aubergines under running water, using your hands and then let them dry on a clean kitchen towel. Place the dried slices on a baking tray, brush with olive oil and bake for 15-20 mins. Make sure there is space between each slice, and use 2 trays if necessary (switch them halfway so they bake evenly).
While the aubergine rests in the bowl… Let's make the bolognese. Set a large pan to medium heat, add oil and when hot, add the finely chopped onion. Cook until it starts to soften, then add the texturised soy, sauté and add the water (the soy will soften here). Add the dried herbs and wine, increase the heat.
When the wine has evaporated, add the tomato sofrito (or grated tomatoes). Cover, lower heat and let it simmer for 10-15 mins.
While the aubergines are baking and the bolognese simmering… Let's prepare the bechamel. Place a saucepan at medium heat, add the oil and flour and cook until the flour starts becoming a little golden. Add a little milk, stir and create a thick creamy paste. Keep adding milk and don't stop stirring vigorously, the whole time! We don't want any lumps. When you've added all the milk, and are happy with the creamy texture, sprinkle 1 pinch of salt, 1/2 pinch of pepper and 1 micro pinch of nutmeg. Mix well and set aside.
Building the moussake
Take a lasagna-style baking tray, with high enough walls to set out 3 layers of veggies. In total, we will have 3 layers of aubergine slices, 2 layers of bolognese mix and 1 final layer of bechamel.
Brush the tray with olive oil first. Place a layer of aubergine at the bottom fo the tray. Add a layer of bolognese and spread it out. Add another layer of aubergine, another layer of bolognese, and then the final aubergine layer. Pour the becamel over, letting it seep into the spaces in between the bolognese and aubergine.
Grate your favourite cheeses on top (we used Emmental and Parmesan).
Save for later or bake it right now!
Here is the point where you can decide to store the unbaked moussake int he fridge, and bake it the next day. Or you can bake it immediately. Whatever you decide…
When baking it, set the oven to conventional heating (no fan, heat above and below). Bake at 200ºC for 45-50 mins or until the top cheese layer is golden-brown, but not too dark.
Take out from the oven, let it rest for 5 mins and serve with a mixed greens salad. Leftovers are even tastier! Enjoy 🙂
This recipe can feel long and complex, but truthfully, there are 3 main steps:
- Prepping and baking the aubergine
- Making the bolognese
- Making the bechamel
If we make the most of our time, we can be really efficient and make an incredibly tasty dish like this one. I promise the effort is worth it and that you will have a big smile in your face after trying it!
A few weeks ago, my mom told me about this tasty dish she’d been eating at a vegetarian restaurant by her work, called Daso. When she told me it was moussaka, I realised I’d never made it before, and I suggested to her that we try making it at home.
I find great pleasure in replicating a dish I’ve tried out in a café or restaurant, here at home. This is how I started cooking: copying dishes I liked and making them my own.
I looked up several recipes, and ended up following (more or less) Feasting At Home’s rustic moussaka. She has a way of making seemingly long complicated recipes seem easy. I like the way shephotographs the process, which gives a much clear idea of what it’s like – making it more accessible for everyone.
This moussaka is a vegetarian version of the traditional one. It is made with a vegan bolognese, based on texturised soy. It worked out really well.
Tips, options and alternatives:
- Use store-bought bechamel if you feel a little lazy about that step and want to cut on time. I prefer the homemade version, as store-bought bechamels can be a little too thin and liquid for my taste, but totally up to you.
- Make regular bolognese i.e. meat if you prefer.
- Buy a nice tomato sofrito (or sauce) if you can, this is an important part of ensuring your bolognese is a winner! For people in Spain, the “Sofrito Artesanal” from Mercadona, or the “Sofrito de tomate y verduras” from Gallina Blanca are both good options.
- Don’t skip the aubergine prep step (adding salt and letting it rest)
- Use your time wisely and be efficient, the recipe steps are explained so that you can save time:
- While the aubergine rests in salt and bakes, prepare the bolognese
- While the bolognese simmers, prepare the bechamel
IN YOUR KITCHEN
If you try this recipe, please let me know how it went in the comments section.
If you share it on social media, tag me @silvia.cooks and use #SilviaCooks.