Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference


Jonathan Petrides, allplants
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 30
  • Cooking: 120
  • Ready: 150

A classic Cypriot recipe remixed to replace the lamb, milk and butter with nothing but delicious plants!


For the plantiful ragu sauce

  • 4 large aubergines, thinly sliced
  • 500 g white potatoes, thinly sliced (we use new potatoes)
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150 g dry green lentils, no pre-cook required
  • 1 x 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 20 g fresh rosemary, oregano and parsley, chopped
  • 10 g dried oregano
  • 40 g tomato paste
  • 20 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 40 g dried porcini mushrooms, pre-soaked in boiling water to rehydrate
  • 80 ml bio-dynamic red wine
  • 80 ml vegetable stock

For the coconut béchamel

  • 800 ml coconut milk
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g sunflower oil spread
  • 12 g nutmeg, finely grated
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 4 fresh/dry bay leaves


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4, and start chopping: onions and garlic finely diced, potatoes and aubergine sliced horizontally, around 1 cm thick.

Put the potatoes and aubergines in separate bowls ready to season and prepare for roasting. Toss each bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and half the dried oregano in each. Get your hands in there and ensure the potato and aubergine slices are well covered.

Evenly spread the aubergine and potato slices across individual baking trays and slide into the warm oven. Roast until golden and tender with a slight crisp. This should take 30-40 minutes.

While they’re roasting, it’s time to create the ragu. Throw the diced onions into a large pan with a little oil, on medium heat, for 5-10 minutes, just enough to soften them, but before they start to brown.

Drain the porcini mushrooms and add them to the pan with the herbs and garlic. Cook them with the onions for another 5-10 minutes.

Turn up the heat on your pan and pour in the red wine, leaving it to boil for 5 minutes to remove the alcohol and leave the rich scent and taste.

Bring the heat back down, before adding the stock water, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, chopped tomatoes and the green lentils. Pop in the cinnamon stick and a couple of bay leaves to simmer for 45 minutes.

Onto the creamy coconut béchamel. Warm the coconut milk with the peppercorns and remaining bay leaves in a medium pan over low heat – you don’t want it to boil, so keep a close eye. Once hot, strain the milk through a sieve into a measuring jug and leave to the side.

Put the pan back on the heat and melt the margarine until liquid, then add the plain flour shaking in a little at a time and whisking into a thick paste. Gradually pour in the warmed coconut milk and keep that whisk going till you have a smooth creamy consistency. Add a pinch of salt and simmer for 10 minutes. Then leave aside to cool.

Assembling your moussaka is a piece of art itself. First grab a deep roasting dish and arrange your roast potatoes to cover the full base. Now pour half the ragu to spread evenly across the potatoes. Next, layer in half of the aubergines on top and repeat with the remaining ragu and a final layer of golden aubergines.

Now pour your béchamel over the top, creating a thick doorstep of creamy coconut goodness, covering the whole dish. Sprinkle with the grated nutmeg and a drizzle of olive oil and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove your moussaka when golden and bubbling, and serve with a light green salad.


Additonal notes

“A classic from our grandma’s kitchen in Cyprus remixed to replace the lamb, milk and butter with nothing but delicious plants!”

Recipe courtesy of allplants

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