Mixed vegetable Moussaka
We hate it when anything goes to waste in our refrigerator, and from time to time you have all these bits of ingredients left from other dishes prepared during the week. One of our winter inventions is a vegetable lasagne- type moussaka creation. We use whatever vegetables we have left in our fridge- aubergines, tomatoes, potato, pumpkin, zucchini, onions, salad peppers etc. The end result is a creamy tomato based bake, packed full of vegetables and protein. The ratio of meat to vegetables is often determined by what we have available, and the mix of veggies varies according to what we have that has to be used soon.
The principle is simple: For all intensive purposes, you will need 3 layers of vegetables, 3 layers of tomato based beef sauce, and 3 layers of béchamel. Top it off with a generous sprinkle of cheese and bake for 30-45 minutes until everything is cooked and heated through before serving. Cooking the veggies beforehand reduces the liquid released during baking, and adds additional flavour to each layer.
Cooking time 45 minutes
Active time 2 hours
Total time: 3 hours
- 1kg lean minced beef
- 2 aubergines
- 5 large zucchini
- 2 onions
- mixed sweet peppers
- 5 small tomatoes
- Olive oil
- 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes in tomato juice
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup chutney
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 750ml milk of your choice- I use almond or soy
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Score aubergines, and slice in 1 cm slices.
- Sprinkle each slice with salt and set aside to drain for 30 minutes (the salt draws the bitterness from the fruit, and a brown liquid will appear on the surface).
- Rinse salt from aubergine, pat dry, brush with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30-45 minutes until browned.
- Halve the tomatoes, and place on a double sheet of kitchen paper- cut side down- to drain some of the liquid.
- Dice onions and sauté 1 of the onions in a pan with olive oil. Once the onion is browned, set aside for later use.
- Slice zucchini in long, 4mm thick slices, and brown in a saucepan with olive oil. Once the slices have picked up some colour, you can remove from heat, and set aside.
- Dice peppers, and sauté in a pan with olive oil. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
- Add minced meat to the cooked onions and brown in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the meat has changed colour, and is mostly cooked, add Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
- Once all the liquid has cooked away, add tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, sweet chutney, mixed herbs, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and mixed spice.
- Simmer meat sauce on a low heat while preparing the béchamel sauce.
- Melt butter in a saucepan, and add flour, forming a paste. Cook the flour for 2 minutes before adding the hot milk, little by little, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil while the sauce thickens. remove from heat, and stir in salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
- Once the various elements are cooked and ready, you can begin layering your dish.
- Start with a small amount of béchamel in the bottom of the baking dish. Place the cooked, slices of aubergine in the bottom of the baking dish, using all of the aubergine. Add a layer of cooked meat, and then a thin layer of béchamel.
- Next, form a layer using all of the zucchini, a layer of meat sauce, and a thin layer of béchamel.
- Next up is the diced peppers, meat sauce and then the remainder of the Béchamel.
- Sprinkle the parmesan cheese, and uncooked red onion onto the top of the dish, finally placing the tomatoes, cut side down.
- Bake at 180°C for 45 minutes.
- Let it cool and set for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Serve hot.
We hope you enjoy using all your veggies as much as we do!