14th February 2009

    Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

    posted in Main Dishes, Veganomicon |

    moussaka
    One thing we’re finding out about the recipes in Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook is that a lot of them aren’t exactly weeknight-friendly. Some of them are very involved and one would be wise to steer clear if a quick dinner is the goal. This recipe definitely falls into the “takes a while” category, but is totally worth it. This moussaka (which I like to think of as a greek lasagna with eggplant standing in for the noodles) features layers of eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes, a nicely spiced tomato sauce, and is topped with a pine nut cream rather than bechamel (This is vegan, after all).


    Chris says:

    Wow, that was kind of a pain, cutting those veggies 1/4″ thick. And it was a clear reminder that I need to sharpen our knives.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, seemed like it took a while… if it makes you feel any better, the house smells absolutely amazing.

    Chris says:

    I know, I’m really looking forward to this…

    Lisa says:

    Did you try the pine nut cream before you put it on?

    Chris says:

    Yeah, it’s really, really good.

    Lisa says:

    Cool — I wasn’t sure about the whole pine-nuts-and-silken-tofu thing.

    Chris says:

    You blend it to a really creamy consistency. I also tossed some pine nuts on top. Anyway, let’s dig in!

    Carrie says:

    This is delicious!

    Lisa says:

    Yeah, I love it.

    Chris says:

    I really like the potatoes in it — they were crispy and browned going in, and now they’ve soaked up the goodness from the sauce.

    Carrie says:

    I’ve never had a moussaka before, but you’re right, it is sorta like a lasagna.

    Chris says:

    Wahoo, I’m ready for more — want to split another piece with me?

    Lisa says:

    Split?

    Chris says:

    You can always have more!

    Lisa says:

    I guess we can save some for lunch…

    Chris says:

    I bet it’ll be even better tomorrow. ;)

    Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream
    Vegetable Layer:
    1 lb eggplant
    1 lb zucchini
    1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes
    1/8 cup olive oil

    Sauce:
    1/8 cup olive oil
    4 large shallots, sliced thinly
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 cup red wine
    2 15-oz cans crushed tomatoes
    2 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 bay leaf
    Salt

    Pine Nut Cream:
    1 lb soft silken tofu
    1/2 cup pine nuts, plus additional for garnish
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp arrowroot powder
    1 clove garlic
    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    Salt
    white pepper

    1/2 cup dry, fine white bread crumbs

    Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly oil two baking sheets, line a third with parchment paper, and spray with cooking oil.
    Wash the eggplant and zucchini, and trim the stems. Scrub and peel the potatoes. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes lengthwise, into approximately 1/4″ thick slices. This is a pain, but worth it. Rub the eggplant slices with a little salt and set aside in a colander in the sink or in a big bowl for about 15 minutes to drain. Briefly rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

    Place each vegetable on a separate baking sheet. Distribute the 1/8 cup of oil among the three sheets and sprinkle vegetables with salt (except the eggplant if salted already). Toss to coat the vegetables on each sheet. Making sure each piece is completely coated with oil. Spread out the vegetables on each sheet; some overlapping is okay. Roast the pans of zucchini and eggplant for 15 minutes, or until tender. Roast the potatoes for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the vegetables to cool.

    Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce:
    Combine the remaining 1/8 cup olive oil and minced garlic in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat and let the garlic sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until slightly reduced, another 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, ground cinnamon, and bay leaf. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 12 to 14 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and adjust the salt.

    Make the pine nut cream:
    In a food processor, blend the pine nuts and lemon juice, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until a creamy paste forms. Add the tofu, garlic, arrowroot, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth.

    Lightly oil a 9 x 13 inch pan and preheat the oven again to 400˚F, if necessary. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on the pan, then add successive layers in order of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and half of the bread crumbs. Spread all the zucchini on top of this. Top with a final layer each of eggplant, potatoes, sauce, and breadcrumbs. Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the pine nut cream over the entire top layer. Scatter a few pine nuts on top, if desired.

    Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a few cracks have formed in the topping. Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

    4-6 Servings

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    This entry was posted on Saturday, February 14th, 2009 at 6:49 pm and is filed under Main Dishes, Veganomicon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    There are currently 11 responses to “Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream”

    1. 1
      On February 15th, 2009,Lauren said:

      I had a fabulous moussaka at a restaurant on Friday and this whole weekend I’ve been searching for a worthy recipe to recreate it at home. This one looks very promising. The pine nut cream is especially intriguing…the one I ate had a traditional eggy/bechamel topping which I wasn’t too crazy about.

    2. 2
      On February 15th, 2009,Tracey C. said:

      I was all excited about a vegan cream sauce (I recently had to give up dairy), until I saw all the soy-based replacements (had to give up soy as well). Any pointers to cookbooks/sites that do soy-free vegan cookery?

      (This looks scrumptious, btw.)

    3. 3
      On February 15th, 2009,Jesse said:

      I adore moussaka, but it’s usually too heavy for me. This sounds fantastic! However, I don’t like pine nuts. Do you think I could substitute a cashew cream instead?

    4. 4
      On February 15th, 2009,Hélène said:

      You made such a beautiful meal. Great colors also.

    5. 5
      On February 15th, 2009,Chris said:

      Hi Tracey — That’s a tough combo! You might want to try this blog –> http://glutenfreesoyfreevegan.wordpress.com/ . It looks like it may have some recipes for you!

    6. 6
      On February 16th, 2009,Cathleen said:

      Mmmm, this looks fantastic! I wish (my) Chris would eat eggplant, but he won’t go near it. :-(

    7. 7
      On February 16th, 2009,Hayley said:

      I made a moussaka from Vegetarian Times a little while back, and it was so tasty. I’ll definitely be trying this as well. Thanks for sharing!

    8. 8
      On February 16th, 2009,JPool said:

      Tracey C,

      You could do a vegan bechamel sauce. Melt two tablespoons margerine (you can do this with oil, but it doesn’t work as well) over med heat in a sauce pan, then sift in two T flour. Cook, stirring regularly until the flour-oil mixture is golden brown. Slowly incorporate two cups almond milk (or some other non-soy milk), whisking in a little at a time (at first it will clump up, then smooth out). Simmer until thickish then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

    9. 9
      On February 16th, 2009,Mallika said:

      It looks divine. I keep working with blunt knives for fear of chopping my nails off…

    10. 10
      On February 18th, 2009,Sophie said:

      Pine nut cream? Very impressive :) . The layered eggplant makes it look so filling!

    11. 11
      On September 14th, 2011,Seth Coburn said:

      We just tried your recipe and blogged about it on http://www.ibeafoodie.wordpress.com. We chose the recipe because the ingredients are all friendly for someone cooking for Inflammatory Bowel Disease diet. Thanks for the recipe!!!

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