My Big Fat Greek Moussaka!
I am always wanting to come up with something new. Something tasty. Something that keeps me in this raw vegan game. Something that says ‘come on girl you can make loads more than a salad with raw foods!’ and something that not only shows a great way to bring your food to life but a great way to play with food – create new dishes – something to burst off that simple white plate.
And quite simply I just fancied a moussaka.
I couldn’t find a raw vegan recipe for it. Explored a few things online but nothing resonated with me: a raw vegan salad with an essence of moussaka didn’t quite cut it. I want get my fork stuck in to it! I want to catch the creamy bechamel sauce on my tongue, I want a second layer of flavour, I wanted that ‘meaty texture’. I wanted to feel like I was eating a big fat tasty gorgeous plate of something deliciously filling, nutritious and satisfying. And I still want to eat living raw vegan foods. So that was my rainy day challenge!
I created this recipe a few months back and I really thought at points that I had set the bar way too high! It was a tricksy process getting the texture of the ‘meat’ just right – but it was so very worth it.
The sauce required something much more playful – my first batch made the moussaka look (and taste!) a bit like a meat pie with a carrot cake frosty topping. Yak! But with a little more jiggery pokery I think I have managed to pull this one off!
Yes – this is a recipe not for the faint hearted. If this is your first raw vegan recipe I will say that you probably need to start with something a little more gentle.
However, the time spend in the kitchen soaking, blending and dehydrating with this one will most definitely be worth it!
Let me know how you get on!
I advise that the sauces (tomato and béchamel) are made a day in advance (so the flavours really have a chance to rest and mature) The ‘mince’ also needs a little preparation and some drying time so it’s safe to say that you would make this for the next day. But oh it’s so worth it!
Bechamel sauce – prepare day before
- 1 cup macadamia nuts (soaked overnight and rinsed)
- 1 cup cashew nuts (soaked overnight and rinsed)
- 1 cup filtered water
- pinch quality salt – flor de sal or similar
Drain the nuts and discard the rinse water. Blend the nuts at high speed adding the water slowly with the salt. It’s compete when it resembles a ‘thick custard’ texture. Transfer the paste to a bowl and cover and sit in the fridge or a cool larder overnight. The paste will firm so you will have a more mature tasting and firmer paste to spread over your moussaka.
Tomato sauce – prepare day before
- 1 cup of sundried tomatoes (soaked overnight in water)
- ½ cup medjool dates (soaked overnight in water)
- 1 salad tomato
- 2-4 garlic cloves (add extra to your taste)
- ½ chopped large onion
- 2 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed or olive oil
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of freshly milled juniper berries
Drain water from tomatoes and dates (do not discard – use the date water in your smoothies and the tomato water in your soups!) blend all ingredients in a blender until all lumps are pureed. Transfer to a jar or bowl and place in fridge overnight for the flavours to rest and mature.
Aubergine ‘layers’ – prepare day before
- 3 large aubergines
- 1 tablespoon quality salt like flor de sal
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- 1 cup mushroom soak water (see ‘meat’ recipe)
- 1 crushed garlic clove
Remove the outer layer of the aubergine with a knife, peeling away the dark purple outer layer. Then slice the aubergines lengthways as finely as you can (the thicker the layers the tougher it will be to cut and eat your moussaka later). Place the slices on a chopping board and sprinkle with the salt. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes. This process allows the aubergines to ‘sweat’ out the bitter juice and leave a much sweeter taste. You will see the aubergines looking very wet on top. Then remove the liquid by dabbing the aubergine with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. Once removed the aubergine is ready to marinade. To marinade place aubergine slices in a large flat dish and cover with tamari, mushroom soak water (see meat recipe) and garlic mix. Leave overnight to absorb. In the morning your aubergine slices should be delicate, sweet and soft.
The ‘no-meat’ meaty filling – prepare day before
- ½ cup activated sunflower seeds (soaked for at least 2 hours and rinsed)
- 2 cups activated buckwheat (soaked overnight, rinsed and sprouted overnight)
- 1 cup soaked dark linseed (flaxseed)(soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated and soaked in water for 30 minutes)
- 1 cup walnuts (soaked in water for 30 minutes and rinsed)
- ½ cup soaked quinoa (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
- ½ cup activated almonds (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
- ½ white onion (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ cup fresh coriander (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon freshly milled juniper berries
- pinch quality salt like flor de sal
- ½ teaspoon tamari
There are lots of ‘activated’ ingredients in this recipe: don’t be afraid of that. As you build up your raw foods kitchen you will be come a whizz at activation and will have these ingredients prepared and handy. Transfer all ingredients into a food processor in order and process with the S blade. The mixture should turn into a very thick paste but still have movement and not be like ‘dough’. Transfer this paste to a dehydrator tray and spread out over the sheet like a big pizza base (it will be wet and pasty). Dry overnight on 40 flipping the paste once to remove the sheet. In the morning (or after 8 hours) remove the tray. You will have what looks like a large one-piece of dark ‘meat’. Chop this one-piece into smaller pieces (do not do this in the food processor or it could return to a dough like mixture again) You want crumbly ‘mincemeat’ texture. Transfer to a bowl and folding with your hands or a spoon – add the tomato sauce.
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Alfalfa sprouts
In a square flat dish assemble your moussaka by placing a base layer of aubergine. Cover with the meaty sauce, cover this with a layer of (1 tablespoon) nutritional yeast flakes. Then add another layer of aubergine, again (1 tablespoon) nutritional yeast flakes and finally cover with béchamel sauce. Sprinkle a fine layer of nutmeg over the top of your dish and serve with a generous heap of alfalfa (or other) sprouts.
Serve at room temperature or warmed in the dehydrator. Never straight from the fridge.
This dish is rich and delicious and well worth the preparation!
Keeping it juicy & raw!