Vegan Moussaka

I am currently in the middle of a detox. I know there is this fear out there about the word “detox” but most of that unfounded fear is due to the many dud detox programs being sold as the quick fix, which leave you feeling starved and reaching for the nearest burger. For me, detoxing is really about allowing our body and mind to have a rest. Its about getting rid of anything nasty that may be clogging up our digestive systems but also about getting rid of any negativity in our mind space. Its about reconnecting with ourselves – in body and mind.

As I embarked on this particular detox, I realised I needed someone outside of myself to give me some reassurance and encouragement and even guide me in a slightly different direction to what I was used to. I was lucky to find a fabulous local naturopath who provided me the help I needed. Mel @earthbirthbeyond suggested that I follow her protocol for the detox which, along with the usual substance bans, also included (GASP!) following a vegan diet! Soon after I leapt into it, I realised that I really need to revisit my recipe collection. After all these years of cooking, and promoting healthy eating, I suddenly realised that most of my recipes include animal products of some kind. So this journey has also opened up an opportunity to taste some new recipes and even chance creating a fabulous one. Like I did tonight!

So here it is, my vegan Moussaka

Look at all those layers of nourishment!

Ingredients:

1 brown onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup of chickpeas

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 tbs tomato paste

1/4 cup water

2 handfuls chopped fresh basil

1 handful chopped fresh parsley

1-2 eggplant (aubergine), sliced in 5mm pieces

1-2 zucchini sliced

Method:

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Place the eggplant and zucchini slices into a colander and sprinkle with some pink himalayan salt. Allow to rest for approximately 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent

Add in the mushrooms, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil and parsley and bring to the boil.

Cook for a further 5 minutes then remove from the heat.

Drizzle the eggplant and zucchini with a little oil (approx 1 tbs). Heat a pan and gently fry the pieces, approximately 2 minutes each side.

Layer a baking dish with the eggplant, then the zucchini. Top the layer with the tomato chickpea mix, then repeat with another layer. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients.

If you are not vegan you can top the layers with a sprinkle of grated cheese, feta cheese or parmesan. Either would be perfect.

Place in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes.

I also at the last minute decided to slice up some pitted kalamata olives and place on top and cooked for a further 5 minutes. I think these made the dish that extra special but these are optional.

Serve with a green leaf salad and enjoy!

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