By veganinathens

Vegan μουσακάς λαχανικών με κιμά από φακές και μανιτάρια, ελαφρύς, εύκολος, χωρίς λιπαρά - Vegan, oil-free, easy Greek mousaka - Vegan in Athens

Vegan moussaka with lentils and mushrooms – oil-free, easy and delicious

One of the most famous Greek foods is undoubtedly the Greek moussaka, a baked dish with layers of eggplants and potatoes and a meaty sauce between them. This dish is actually of unknown origin as we can find several variations not only in Greece but also in Turkey as well as other countries. However traditional Greek moussaka has a top layer of bechamel sauce, probably an influence by the French cuisine and moreover it is always served hot. But the famous moussaka in fact is a really complicated, heavy dish, since its original recipe requires to fry all the vegetables, to fry and then cook the meat to make the sauce, to cover with a greasy bechamel and eventually to end up with a mountain of dirty utensils and oils all over the kitchen walls, Well I wouldn’t really call it what one would opt to make for dinner! But an oil-free, vegan moussaka is a completely different story! Rich in nutritional value and with a mouthwatering taste thanks to the variety of vegetables we use, light and much easier to prepare, it has become one of the foods we enjoy regularly during spring and summer when eggplants are on their best.

Overall, I need about one hour to prepare it, since I do not fry anything, but I bake the sliced vegetables for a while in the oven – just as long as they need to soften slightly and eliminate some of their moisture. For the sauce I use lentils, fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh mushrooms and finely chopped nuts for an even better texture and taste. Although some might have objections to the way I prepare my vegan “bechamel”, since I do not add any oily substance to my recipe, I am going to say just try it!

As we cherish all summer vegetables, I used a lot of them for my recipe! So my vegan moussaka is made by three layers of vegetables: slices of selected potatoes at the base of the pan, sweet aubergines in the middle and slices of green courgettes on top. Actually we love this vegan moussaka, as it is oil free, the baked vegetables retain all their taste, it’s delicious, it is made much easier and faster than the classic non vegan moussaka and it incorporates the Greek summer in every bite!

Vegan μουσακάς λαχανικών με κιμά από φακές και μανιτάρια, ελαφρύς, εύκολος, χωρίς λιπαρά - Vegan, oil-free, easy Greek mousaka - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients
(for 6-8 large portions)

for the layers of vegetables

  • 1 large or 2 medium potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (0,5 cm)
  • 3-4 large eggplants, sliced
  • 4-5 large zucchini, thinly sliced

for the mushroom and lentil sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, pureed
  • 250 g fresh mushrooms finely chopped (I use oyster mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or extra water)
  • 1 red sweet bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes grated (or blended in a food processor)
  • 1 large carrot coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw nuts or seeds, slightly chopped but not powdered (we can use almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 tsp salt (or according to our taste)
  • 1/2 tsp dried hot chili peppers
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • freshly ground pepper

for the oil free, vegan “bechamel” sauce

  • 4 cups (1 liter) plant based milk, store-bought or homemade without sugar (I like to use unsweetened rice or oat milk)
  • 12 level tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 or 2 vegan bouillon cubes (store-bought or homemade), depending on how salty we like our sauce (I use two!)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground nutmeg (optional)

additionally

  • 3-4 handfuls of grated vegan cheese or nutritional yeast (for a 100% oil free recipe)
  • bread crumbs for sprinkling

Method

1. For the vegetable layers: Cut the eggplants into slices of about 1 cm thick. Salt them and leave them aside for about 30 minutes. That way they will become sweeter! Cut the potatoes and zucchini into thin slices about 1/2 cm. To cut even slices, I use the vegetable mandolin slicer.
2. Lay a large baking pan with non stick paper and put the eggplants and the zucchini slices in the pan. It doesn’t matter if they overlap, since you will bake them just enough to soften, so they will not stick together. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 200 ° C. Potatoes do not need to be pre-baked – they will be perfectly cooked by absorbing moisture and flavors from the sauce while you bake your moussaka.
3. For the sauce: In a large and deep pan or in a saucepan, put the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Add the wine (or extra water), the lentils, pepper, carrot, parsley, tomatoes, season and simmer over low heat for 35-45 minutes until the lentils soften and the sauce thickens. Finally, pour the nuts, mix and turn off the fire.
4. Assembly: Grease a medium-sized deep baking dish (I used a 29x21x6cm) or use a non-stick cookware. At the bottom arrange the potatoes, slightly overlapping each slice with the next so as not to allow any gaps between them. Pour 1/3 of the sauce over the potato layer and spread it evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle with a handful of cheese or nutritional yeast and continue with the next layer. Arrange the baked eggplants, 1/3 of the sauce, vegan cheese and finally the baked zucchini slices, the rest of the sauce and the rest of the vegan cheese.
5. For the vegan bechamel: In a saucepan, add half of the vegan milk along with the vegan bouillon cubes, nutmeg and pepper and stir over medium heat until the cubes completely dissolve. Add the remaining milk in the blender along with the flour and blend for a few seconds until the flour is dissolved and no lumps are present. Once the milk in the pan comes to a boil, pour the flour mixture in the pan and stir continuously, over low to medium, heat with a wooden spoon for 5-10 minutes until a thick cream is formed.
6. Pour the bechamel over the moussaka, sprinkle immediately with a generous amount of bread crumbs and bake at 200 o C for about an hour or until the surface is golden.
7. Allow the moussaka to cool slightly for half an hour and serve hot.

Vegan μουσακάς λαχανικών με κιμά από φακές και μανιτάρια, ελαφρύς, εύκολος, χωρίς λιπαρά - Vegan, oil-free, easy Greek mousaka - Vegan in Athens

Note: Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and blend them without removing the spores and the peels. That way you will add some extra nutrients in your recipe but most importantly you will add to the taste as it has been found that the umami is hidden in these two parts of the fruit!

For the bechamel we can use any unsweetened plant-based milk but our favorite version is with rice or oat milk.

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Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens

Raw vegan white chocolate, vanilla cheesecake

…or maybe the most delicious and healthy vegan recipe for an unforgettable white chocolate experience without sugar, gluten or baking. The truth is that raw vegan desserts are our favorites, especially when we are talking about cheesecakes with a creamy stuffing and a base of crunchy nuts and dried fruits. What I like the most is the unlimited variety of ingredients one can use in the creamy stuffing – nuts, fruits, nut-butters, zests etc – making each time a totally different dessert. The only thing we need is a relatively good blender!

This time, the basic concept of my recipe was to make a dessert with a rich white chocolate taste and the amazing aroma of vanilla. These two ingredients may have a prominent position in our olfactory and tasty memory, but on the other hand, we don’t meer them that often in the plant-based kitchen. However their combination is something I always considered magical and that’s why I planned to use it this time in order to make a white chocolate vanilla raw vegan cheesecake. You may ask yourselves how can we make a raw vegan dessert with the taste of white chocolate and the scent of vanilla? Simply by using raw cocoa butter and the small black seeds of a natural vanilla bean in its preparation! Relatively small amounts of these two are enough!

Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens
Indeed, the result was even better than what I could imagine! The cream is just mouthwatering with a sweet taste thanks to the agave syrup, a beautiful vanilla aroma, a silky, creamy texture and an intense chocolaty flavor thanks to the cocoa butter whick makes this cake unbeatable! Raw nuts , ground together with sweet dates make the crispy, sweet, dense base that holds the cake and adds taste and texture to the recipe.

Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

for the base

  • 1 cup dates (medjool or other varieties, without sugar or glucose)
  • 1 cup walnuts or almonds, shelled

for the white chocolate cream

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 100 g (about 1/2 cup) cocoa butter melted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, the seeds or 1 tbsp homemade vanilla extract

for the decor

  • mixed nuts and seeds
  • mixed dried fruit

Method

1. For the crust: Wash the dates, drain and pit them and put them in the food processor along with the nuts. Process for a few minutes until a soft dough is formed. If you do not like the small pieces of nuts in the base, process the nuts until they become powdered and add the dates afterwards.
2. For the white chocolate cream: Put in the blender half of the cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, water, vanilla and the melted cocoa butter and blend for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Add the rest of the cashews and blend for few more minutes until they are incorporated in the mixture and the texture of the cream is smooth and homogeneous.
3. Assembly: Line a cheesecake pan of 20-22 cm diameter with greaseproof paper and spread the crust mixture over the bottom. Press with your hands to distribute equally and form the crust. Pour the white chocolate cream on top of the crust and refrigerate for 8-12 hours to set.
4. Before serving garnish with chopped nuts, seeds and dried berries. Keep in the fridge.

Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens

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Vegan avocado and chickpea salad - Σαλάτα με αβοκάντο και ρεβίθια (ρεβιθοσαλάτα) - Vegan in Athens

Chickpea salad with a creamy avocado sauce

Among the things that are almost always on our shopping list and of course in our kitchen are avocados. The reason? They are just amazing! Their dense, buttery flavor and their great nutritional value combined with their creamy texture makes them the most suitable and at the same time nutritious and healthy ingredients in countless vegan recipes.

Our favorite vegan, avocado dish is vegan tzatziki made with the flesh of ripe avocados, a recipe we enjoy quite often especially during summer, as well as the Greek salad with avocado. And since we love desserts, if we have plenty ripe avocados we use them in the most delicious way, making a delicate vegan chocolate avocado mousse that melts in the mouth and is 100% raw or a delectable chocolate vegan ice cream but also the raw vegan chocolate tart with avocado and coconut.

I am sure that each of you, at least those who love this particular fruit, will have at least one favorite vegan recipe based on avocados and I am sure that if we’ d put them together they would be hundreds! Such amazing fruit it is and I feel so grateful that it grows in our country as well!

Today, we combined a few ripe avocados with chickpeas and herbs to make a delicious, cool, rich, creamy salad, perfect for sandwiches or to accompany our meal. Here the avocados act as a “buttery” sauce that binds the materials together, extracts their aromas, highlights their flavors. The recipe is simple and fast. Just do not forget to mash the avocado with lemon and apple-cider vinegar to retain its fresh color.

Vegan avocado and chickpea salad - Σαλάτα με αβοκάντο και ρεβίθια (ρεβιθοσαλάτα) - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients
(for 2-4 persons)

for the salad

  • 1 + 1/4 cup boiled and drained chickpeas
  • 1 celery sprig cleaned and chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 fresh onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp pickled cucumber finely chopped

for the sauce

  • 1 ripe medium sized avocado, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 juicy lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • optionally you can add a garlic clove finely chopped and 2-3 drops of tabasco sauce

to serve

  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped

Method

1. Add the avocado flesh, lemon juice, apple-cider vinegar, salt and pepper in the blender and blend on medium speed until creamy.
2. With a fork mash the 1 cup of the chickpeas just a little bit, until all the chickpeas are crushed but not pureed. It’s nice to have some bigger pieces in the end. Keep the rest (1/4 cup) to garnish your salad.
3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients and taste in lemon and salt. Leave the salad in the refrigerator covered for at least one hour to cool, so that the aromas and tastes compine. Before you put it on the table garnish with the rest of the chickpeas and parsley.
4. Bake thin slices of bread and serve with the salad as an appetizer or make delicious sandwiches!

Vegan avocado and chickpea salad - Σαλάτα με αβοκάντο και ρεβίθια (ρεβιθοσαλάτα) - Vegan in Athens

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