Moussaka with Béchamel

Moussaka with Béchamel

This easy to follow Greek moussaka recipe never fails to impress and is always a crowd pleaser. The essence of this traditional Greek moussaka recipe can be summarised in three key stages: preparing the meat filling, preparing the béchamel sauce and cooking the eggplants. Each stage will require dirtying some pans, but I think you will agree that the end result is well worth it! My favorite thing is that it is completely vegan but will still appeal to people who still eat meat and veggie based people alike because it seems really meaty without the use of traditional meats. I am sure that when you try this one, you won’t be sorry you did.

Base ingredients:

6 eggplants
vegetable oil (for frying the eggplants)

For the meat sauce

1 2/3 pounds vegan beef crumbles (26 ounces)
2 red onions (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (14 oz.)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 teaspoon sugar
1 glass of red wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
a pinch of cinnamon or one cinnamon stick
1/4 of a cup olive oil

For the béchamel sauce

875ml non-dairy unsweetened unflavored milk (3 and 1/2 cups)
7 1/2 tbsp earth balance butter (3.5 ounces)
7 1/2 tbs flour (3.5 ounces)
a pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp Corn Starch
1/2 cup non-dairy parmesan (3.5 ounces)

Directions:

To prepare this Greek moussaka recipe, begin by preparing the eggplants. Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them into slices, 1 cm thick. Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.

Rinse the eggplants with plenty of water and squeeze with your hands, to get rid of the excessive water. Pat them dry and fry in plenty of oil, until nicely colored. Place the fried eggplants on some paper, in order to absorb the oil. (For a lighter version of the traditional Greek moussaka try drizzling the aubergines with some olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes instead of frying them).

Prepare the meat sauce for the moussaka. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the chopped onions and sauté, until softened and slightly colored. Stir in the garlic, tomato puree and the beef crumbles breaking it up with a wooden spoon and sauté. Pour in the red wine and wait to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, the sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated.

Prepare the béchamel sauce for the moussaka. Use a large pan to melt some butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste. Add warmed milk in a steady stream; keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the Corn Starch, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk quickly, in order to prevent the Corn Starch from lumping!

Assemble the moussaka. For this moussaka recipe, you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20*30 cm). Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and layer the eggplants. Pour in the meat sauce and even out. Add a second layer of eggplants, top with the béchamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.

Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake the moussaka in the preheated oven at 180-200C for about 60 minutes, until crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the moussaka to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.

Serve the Moussaka with a nice refreshing non-dairy Greek feta salad and enjoy over a glass of wine!


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