Moussakas, (which is a singular noun and not moussaka, plural moussakas) is one of the most known Greek dishes and the traditional way of making it is with layers of vegetables, with a meat sauce in the middle, again a layer of vegetables and topped with a béchamel sauce in which some myzithra is added to the sauce or grated on top. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Well if you want that version of moussakas you will find the recipe here.
When I made the vegan béchamel, I then knew that this was the beginning of a lot of other delicious dishes. My second recipe using the vegan béchamel after pastitsio, was of course to make moussakas. The dish is so delicious and healthy that even non vegetarians will admit that this is much better than the original and this will be regularly in our menu, not only during Lent.
The total amount of olive oil used was not more than 1/2 a cup for the whole dish. I used my sautéing pan instead of frying them and for each vegetable I sautéed I added a tablespoon of olive oil on the pan. The only vegetable which needed a little bit more oil, was the eggplant as it absorbs the olive oil quickly. Make sure to peel it and sauté it immediately, as eggplants change colour to brown quite quickly. You have probably seen in many recipes that you have to soak the eggplants in water with salt to remove the bitterness. This does not apply any more because modern methods of cultivating eggplants have managed to remove the bitterness from the eggplants and always prefer to use small eggplants, which do not have seeds in them. However, if you think that the eggplants you usually buy in your country are bitter, then you’ll have to soak the eggplants in salted water for at least 30 minutes and then pat dry before sautéing.
The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!