Easy Vegan Moussaka Recipe
Moussaka is a popular dish in Greece and beyond; it has layers of ground meat, eggplant, and a bechamel sauce.
There are variations of the dish depending on the region. This version is not traditional, and it is all plant-based: 1) roasted eggplants slices, 2) lentil tomato filling and 3) roasted garlic bechamel sauce.
Before roasting the eggplant, I sprinkle it generously with salt and allow it to sit in a colander or bowl. This process helps draw out the moisture so that once roasted; it’s perfectly fork-tender with sweet, caramelized edges.
The filling starts with sautéing onion and garlic. Next come the lentils and tomatoes, which I simmer with salt, pepper, oregano, and optional nutmeg.
But the star of the show is the roasted garlic bechamel. Roasting garlic turns it from sharp and spicy to mild and sweet. When blended with cashews, olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, and water, it becomes a creamy, knock-out sauce. Check the second image for the recipe!
With the three layers ready, it’s time to assemble. The lentil tomato filling goes between slices of roasted eggplant; then everything’s topped with the bechamel. Once baked, the top becomes golden and slightly caramelized. Delicious!
Vegan Bechamel Sauce
1 head garlic, average size
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup raw cashews, soaked
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup water
1 Heat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Slice off the very top of the head of garlic and set on a piece of foil. Drizzle the top with oil and wrap to conceal. Then roast directly on a center oven rack for ~50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cloves are tender, fragrant, and light golden brown.
Soak cashews in very hot water (uncovered) for at least 30 minutes.
2 Drain your soaked cashews and add to a small blender along with roasted garlic (cool slightly then squeeze up from the bottom toward the top to remove cloves), olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, and water. Blend on high until creamy and smooth.
3 Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste or nutritional yeast for cheesiness. The roasted garlic should add a nice caramelized, garlicky sweetness to the sauce, but if you prefer a more garlicky punch, you could throw in 1-2 raw garlic cloves and blend. Set aside.
4 Best when fresh. Ideal for adding to dishes like moussaka, as a mac ‘n’ cheese base, in vegetable bakes, and more. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. When reheating, add more water or plain dairy-free milk as needed to thin.0 Like