Aubergine and potato vegetarian moussaka recipe
This vegetarian moussaka recipe is an authentic Cretan recipe from The Carob Tree restaurant in Plaka. It makes a luxurious and filling main meal, packed with local flavours and a mix of spices that will transport you to the Greek island.
Feta cheese is synonymous with Greek cooking and so we couldn’t resist adding some to the topping of our vegetarian moussaka recipe here. Salty in taste, feta brings with it a number of benefits for our wellbeing. Along with calcium and protein, it also contains a good source of B vitamins, including B6 and B12.
Vitamin B6 has a role in a number of functions in our bodies. It supports the circulatory system and it also helps to keep our immune system strong. Not only that, research suggests that B6 plays an important role in regulating our mood. It may help to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s thought that this is due to the fact that we need B6 to help us make serotonin – the hormone that helps us to feel happy.
As if all that wasn’t enough, feta cheese can help to support our gut health, too. It contains Lactobacillus plantarum, which is often seen in a number of fermented foods, including kimchi and sauerkraut. L. plantarum has attracted a lot of attention from the scientific field in recent years. This is mainly because these bacteria have been shown to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
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As well as being an excellent source of dietary fibre, aubergines are also a good source of rich in vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium, while their purple skin in rich in antioxidants.
- 4 large onions, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 100ml red wine
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 tsp nutmeg
- 3 tsp allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tsp tomato paste
- 600g fresh tomatoes, grated (or finely chopped)
- 600g potatoes, finely sliced
- 600g aubergine, finely sliced
- 150g feta
- 50 Parmesan / any vegetarian alternative hard cheese
For the béchamel
- 100g butter
- 100g flour
- 1 litre full-fat milk
- 100g Parmesan, grated
- In a frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil over a low-medium heat until soft. Add in the wine and let it cook down for a minute, before adding in the cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaves, tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. Cook on a low-medium heat for around 40 minutes, until the sauce is thick and flavoursome. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Set to one side.
- Meanwhile, cook the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour and cook for just under a minute until you have a roux. Then stir in the milk, bit by bit, making sure there’s no lumps. Bring it up to the boil, consistently stirring until it’s silky. Let it boil for a few minutes. Take it off the heat and add the Parmesan.
- Sauté the potato slices in olive oil until browned on either side. Do the same for the aubergine slices. Set the slices to one side on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb the oil.
- Now assemble the moussaka in a baking dish by adding in layers of potato, red sauce and aubergine. Pour the béchamel over the top and bake in an 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 oven for 30 minutes. Remove and top with the grated cheese and pop in for a further 20 minutes until the top is crispy. Let it cool for a further 20 minutes or so before eating.