A spin, on a spin, on a spin…
I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend attending Veet’s Vegan Cooking School in Mullumbimby and I learned so much! If you have the time to attend one of the foundation courses she runs (link here), I suggest you do it – your family and friends will thank me in advance.
On the last day we had to put a spin on a dish we found in a cook book or invent our own using the skills we picked up. We went on to the recipes amongst ourselves, as she said “recipes belong to everyone” and that pretty much sums up Veet’s generous nature. Here I was thinking my spice rack was extensive, it wasn’t until I saw Veet’s I was put back in my place!
This is Mel and Max’s moussaka, originally made with eggplant and a few exotic spices so I’ve made it with zucchini as it was available from the market and what I could wrangle in my cupboard and fridge at home! The recipe my classmates used had molasses in the chickpea layer, so to get sweetness into the sauce I used dried figs and maple syrup.
One thing I learned is dry beans/legumes are best if you soak them overnight, I will do this moving forward in my posts, I did not want to waste what was in my cupboard! (I have posted the conversions where possible).
Soaking eliminates phytic acid to allow more minerals to be absorbed into the body while digesting, it will also make you less gassy: win, win!
For the sauce
2 dried figs, soak in boiling water while you prepare everything else, then chop finely
1 x 400g can of organic chickpeas or 125g (3/4 cup) dried chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked here is how to)
2 x 400g cans organic crushed tomatoes / 800g fresh tomatoes, brunoise (fancy French word for dicing that I learned :P)
5 spring onions, brunoise
1 small leek, brunoise
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp cumin
2 cloves of garlic, crushed finely chopped
1 cup of chiffonade/shredded kale
1 large BBQ zucchini or 6 medium zucchinis (I think mine weighed about 800g :|)
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
2-3 cups soy milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Additional almond meal for the top
- In a wok or large frying pan, add olive oil, leek and spring onions over a medium heat, stir until fragrant
- Add cumin, garlic and kale, stir for a few more minutes, then add tomatoes, chickpeas, figs and maple syrup, bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees and line two baking trays so they are ready for your zucchini
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together almond meal, arrowroot flour and spices
- Slice the zucchini(s) length ways about 8-10mm thick and dip in flour mixture on both sides and place on the trays, repeat until all the zuchinni is coated
- Bake for 10 minutes each side. While your sauce is simmering and your zucchini is in the oven, make your bechamel
- In a large sauce pan, add oil and flour, whisk over a medium heat until well combined and a paste is formed
- Start adding milk when you see the oil and flour thickening, it will happen quite quickly so have enough milk standing by. Add as much as you desire, the consistency should be like a runny yogurt. Turn heat off
- Add nutritional yeast and salt to taste (you might not need a lot of salt as the nutritional yeast is already quite salty) and stir until well combined
- Finish your tomato sauce off by adding the lemon juice and then you are ready to layer
- Starting with the zucchini on the bottom layer, add the tomato sauce, then another layer of zucchini, tomato and finish with the layer of bechamel
- Sprinkle almond meal on top and bake for 40-50 minutes
This can be served once cooled, but it’s best served the next day when the layers have fully set.
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