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Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream

Posted By Chris On February 14, 2009 @ 6:49 pm In Main Dishes,Veganomicon | 11 Comments

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).

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

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

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
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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