Gluten Free, Vegan Moussaka


Happy 2019!

I know we're two weeks in but this is my first post I've written this year. I've been focussing on my dissertation and doing a lot of relaxing and self care to get me ready for my last few months at university!

One of my modules in the last semester was about Sustainability, and I am slightly obsessed with this topic so I loved this module. And in November, I decided to try going meat free for the month in support of Cancer Research's Veg Pledge. Originally I thought it would be really difficult as I am already gluten and dairy free. And looking at veggie and vegan options in the supermarkets, I found that a lot of them contained wheat or dairy annoyingly.

So I adapted a lot of the meals that I love to eat and made them from scratch to suit my diet. At first it took a lot of recipe testing and new product testing but I think I have finally found myself at a good balance.

I've been doing #meatfreemonday for months now but I always just swapped my mince for quorn or bought a veggie burger. But now I am enjoying things like beans, lentils and tofu and I actually feel so much healthier! (I will do a blogpost later on in the month about my plant based journey!)

One of my favourite meals that my mum used to cook me when I was younger was a moussaka. We always had it with beef mince, a rich tomatoey sauce, soft lentils and lots of cheese. So I swapped the mince for half a tin of green lentils, and they gave it a lovely flavour. If you aren't quite ready to switch to lentils, or can't tolerate them, then I would suggest swapping them for quorn mince or a soy based mince.


The vegetables I have added are just some of my favourites, but you can always swap them for anything you like, for example; spinach, different types of mushrooms, sweetcorn, peas... anything!


The sauce took me a while to perfect, and adding in the chives just helps to lift the flavour of the sauce. The nutritional yeast gives a slightly cheesy flavour and a hit of B12, which plant based diets can become deficient in. I added in a slice of my Tesco Free From Red Leicester as it was leftover, and it gave it a lovely colour and another depth of flavour. So play around with the taste of the sauce, I've just given you an overview and a base to make it your own

This recipe is enough for 2 meals, so I cook this up and save the other half for lunch the next day. 

Ingredients:

Medium Aubergine Sliced


White Sauce;

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Gluten Free Flour
2 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon of Chives
200ml of Unsweetened Plant Based Milk (I used Soy Milk, but Almond works nicely as well) 
Optional: Grated Vegan Cheese (If you prefer a cheesier sauce)

Filling;
5 Chopped Button Mushrooms
Half a chopped Courgette
Half a Tin of Green Lentils
Half a Chopped Leek
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (Fan oven), gas mark 6 or 400 Fahrenheit. In a large wok, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add in the mushrooms, leek and courgette. Cook for 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. 

2. Drain and rinse the lentils from the tin, and add those into the vegetable mix. Stir through then add in the spices (paprika, garlic). 
3. When covered, add in the tin of tomatoes and stir through. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. (If you prefer a stronger tomatoey taste, add in a tablespoon of tomato puree paste. 
4. To make the white sauce, heat your olive oil in a saucepan. When warmed, add in your flour and mix into a paste. 
5. Pour in the milk and whisk until the sauce becomes thicker and add in your nutritional yeast and chives. If the sauce is not thick enough for you, then adding half a teaspoon of cornflour will help to thicken it. 
6. In another frying pan, heat some more olive oil, and fry the aubergine pieces until they soften slightly. Beware, they will soak up the oil really quickly so you may need to keep adding some oil after every batch. 
7. Now time for the layering. In a baking dish add a layer of the lentil vegetable filling, then a layer of aubergine, then a layer of the white sauce. Then continue until you finish with the white sauce layer on top. 
8. Sprinkle some gluten free breadcrumbs and some vegan cheese, or nutritional yeast on the top and place in a pre heated oven for about 25-35 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve with a side salad.






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