What do you need to make the BEST ever Vegan Moussaka? I would say layers of roasted eggplant slices, a hearty tomato-based mince ragú sauce, and a creamy white bechamel baked together.
Servings 4 people
Soak TVP in hot veggie broth for 30 minutes. If they softened, drain the water and squeeze any additional moisture out with your hands. Now, they are ready to be used as "raw minced meat".
Wash and slice eggplant into 1-inch (1-1,5 cm) thick. Salt them and let them sit at least for 20 minutes. (You can do overnight and don't worry if you turn brown. The slices will be brown after roasting and baking.)
Roasting eggplant slice
We recommend roasting them in a baking tray with grill rack*. Pre-heat the oven for 390 Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius) and roast them for 15 minutes. When ready, leave it to cool on the rack.
Making vegan mince
Peel and chop the onion and cook it lightly in olive oil until it turns glossy. Add peeled and chopped garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the pre-soaked and squeezed TVP and stir it a couple of times.
Finally, add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato sauce, the tomato paste, and the seasoning (parsley, salt, and pepper) and cook for 5 minutes.
Making vegan Bechamel
Heat frying pan on medium/low heat, and melt vegan butter.
Take the heat to low and add rice flour. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until the "batter" is boiling up.
In a small bowl combined ½ cup of milk and corn starch. Add it to the pan and stir until combined.
Add the next ½ cup of milk and stir until combined. You need to go in small batches to make sure you get a smooth sauce. Go until you run out of milk. (Troubleshooting tips in the Notes section below.)
When the sauce has thickened, add the salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Layering and baking moussaka
To ensure that the eggplant slices do not stick to the bottom, we grease the bottom of our 9 x 7 x 3 inch (23 x 18 x 8 cm) oven-safe glass dish with vegan butter.
The first layer is roasted eggplant slices (not overlapping). Then comes the whole red ragu sauce with vegan mince. Then again a layer of the remaining roasted eggplant slices.
Top it with vegan white sauce generously. Optionally, add grated vegan cheese.
Pre-heat oven for 390 F (200 degrees Celsius) and bake it for 15 minutes.
Other vegan mince alternatives
If you prefer to make lentil ragú, visit our Super Easy Vegan Lasagna recipe. Or if you choose to make walnut and cauliflower mince, visit our Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese recipe. In both cases, we recommend substituting parsley for basil and oregano as Moussaka is by no means an Italian recipe. :-)
Top tips to cook with TVP
- If you soak them in cold water, you may need 2-3 hours to get them ready for cooking.
- TVP doesn't need to be cooked long as they are already soft after soaking.
- We used canned chopped tomatoes as it is not always easy to get juicy fresh tomatoes.
- You can use red onion instead of purple onion.
Troubleshooting tips to make a vegan white sauce
- Not thick enough? -> Add more flour but make sure you first dissolve it in a bit of milk. Like 1 Tbsp flour or starch - 2 Tbsp milk. Alternatively, you can take it off the heat, wait for it to cool a bit and add flour or starch directly in the sauce and stir vigorously with a whisk to avoid any lumps. Note: The sauce will thicken a bit more when it is cooling down.
- Too thick? -> Add more milk, like ¼ cup at a time.
- Can you use any other flour or starch? -> Yes, you can make this vegan bechamel sauce with any type of flour or starch, but the thickening power of each and every one of them is different. The measurements I gave in the recipe card may not be the same if you use wheat flour, or almond flour or tapioca starch, etc.
- Why flour AND starch? -> If you only use starch, then the sauce will end up more like a pudding than a sauce. If you use only one type of flour, like rice or oat or almond, the sauce will not thicken properly. I also have this experience with rice flour, that you thicken a soup or something with it, but after reheating the dish the next day, all the thickening has gone. That is why I recommend combining flour and starch or use a store-bought gluten-free flour blend which contains usually both.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 432kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 766mg | Potassium: 1105mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1159IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 347mg | Iron: 7mg