If you love eggplant, zucchini and potatoes as much as I do you absolutely have to (I put that in italics, people, which I save only for special occasions) give this moussaka a try. The preparation is a bit laborious (bear with me) but please don't be instantly put off. I promise it's not as bad as it initially seems if you make some components of the dish while others are cooking largely unattended. Also, I know the idea of having the oven on for over an hour at this time of year makes some of you break out in hives, but just trust that this is worth cranking up the AC for or just wiping the sweat of your brow.
Adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terri Hope Romero's Veganomicon
Makes about 6 servings
- 1 lb / 455 g eggplant
- 1 lb / 455 g zucchini
- 1 3/4 lbs / 795 g russet potatoes (another variety will do too)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup vegetable broth or red wine
- 1 28 oz / 795 g can diced or crushed tomatoes and their juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, preferably soaked for at least 8 hours (the original recipe called for pine nuts, which are much more expensive, but you can use those, without soaking, if you'd like)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 lb / 455 g lite silken tofu (regular silken tofu is fine)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2. While the vegetables are roasting, make your sauce. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots, sautéing for about 4-5 minutes or until the shallots are tender and the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the vegetable broth or wine and cook until reduced by about half, which should take about another 5-7 minutes. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer partially covered for about 10 minutes. Take the cover off and simmer for another 5 minutes.
3. While your sauce is cooking, make the macadamia nut cream. Toss the macadamia nuts and the lemon juice into the food processor and pulse repeatedly, scrapping down the edges if necessary, until pulverized. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until completely smooth.
4. To assemble the casserole, first place about 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch / 23 by 33 cm pan. Arrange a layer of eggplant on top of the sauce, then a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer sauce and half of the breadcrumbs. Place all the zucchini on top of the breadcrumbs in a single layer and follow with single layers of eggplant, potatoes, sauce and bread crumbs. Pour the macadamia nut cream on top of the moussaka and smooth it out using a spatula. Bake the casserole in for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top starts to brown and crack. Let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.