Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dog Crisis Moussaka

MOUSSAKA is a Greek casserole usually made with something other than beans, but beans do very nicely as a substitute for that other substance. This dish is a good use for eggplants, and can be served hot or room temperature. It can be made ahead and reheated, and is good for leftovers.

The casserole is made in three parts, with a layering of thinly sliced eggplant and bean mix topped with a creamy sauce and perhaps some grated vegan cheese on the top.

Take one large eggplant and slice it very thinly, sprinkling it with salt and placing on a plate until you are ready to start layering. The salt will draw out the juices and possibly make the eggplant less bitter.

Meanwhile drain two fifteen ounce cans (approximately two cups) of chickpeas or lentils. The chickpeas should be chopped up somewhat, but the lentils can be used as is. Saute a large chopped onion and garlic clove in two Tablespoons olive oil in a large pot until just beginning to brown. Add two cups of chopped tomatoes (or two fifteen ounce cans), four Tablespoons of red wine, a sprinkle of salt unless the beans are already salted, a sprinkle of pepper, a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and the beans. Simmer this mixture for about twenty minutes in the uncovered pot until it is thickened.

Now you are ready to make the creamy sauce. Up until now, this recipe is from the Goldbeck's American Wholefoods Cuisine cookbook, but at this point I veganize it.

In a small saucepan heat two Tablespoons of olive oil and whisk in a quarter cup of whole wheat flour and an eighth cup of arrowroot powder until smooth. Gradually add two cups of plain flavor soy milk, stirring it until it thickens and comes to a boil, about five to ten minutes. Stir in a half a teaspoon salt, a quarter teaspoon allspice, and remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Have about a cup of grated vegan cheese ready, Parmesan or mozzarella style. Veganrella is one brand you could try. A lot of soy cheeses use casein, which is a milk product, so try to find one without that as an ingredient.

Stir two thirds of the grated cheese into the creamy sauce, reserving the other third as a final topping.

In a deep casserole assemble the dish.

Oil the casserole. Layer one third of the eggplant slices, overlapping them a bit.

Cover with half the bean mixture.

Layer another third of the eggplant slices and cover with the remainder of the bean mixture.

Layer the final third of the eggplant slices and pour the creamy sauce over the top of the casserole.

Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese over the top.

Bake for about an hour, perhaps a bit longer if the casserole seems very deep and like it might not have cooked in the center. The top should begin to brown, and the eggplant should be tender. That's why it is so important to slice it thinly, so it will have time to cook through.

Let sit at room temperature for at least ten minutes, and use a scoop to serve it.

A salad would complement this dish.

I made this dish in April and had just spooned the first bite into my mouth when our dog suffered a crisis in our driveway and had to be taken to the vet to have her hip joint put back in its socket, which explains the dish's name. Sparky has recovered nicely, I am happy to report. The casserole tasted just as good the next day, I am also happy to report.

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