Friday, June 14, 2013

quinoa moussaka with cashew bechamel

This recipe is actually a compilation of three great recipes, each which can be used separately on their own or in other dishes.  For example, I doubled this bechamel sause (which is just a fancy way to say white sause) and I'll be using the other half on my Butternut Squash Lasagna that I'll be making later this week.  Also, the Quinoa Tomato mixture is great on its own or in other casseroles; I also doubled that so we could have the extra to eat as a quick lunch to-go.  And, of course, this basic recipe for baked zucchini is a perfect start to any meal.  

the recipe(s):
baked eggplant:
1 small (1/2 lb) eggplant, thinly sliced into about 1/4-inch rounds
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat broiler.  Arrange sliced eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet; brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Broil for 3-8 minutes on each side, until the eggplant is tender and golden.

quinoa tomato dish:
1/4 c quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade…)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Pinch allspice
Salt and pepper
Soak quinoa in cold water for 15 minutes.  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve, then thoroughly rinse it under cold running water.  Heat 2 tsp oil in a small/medium saucepan with a lid over medium to medium-low heat; add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.  Transfer the rinsed quinoa, 1/2 c water, and a pinch of salt to the saucepan with the onion/garlic mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium heat with the lid off; once it boils, give it a stir, cover it, and turn heat down to a gentle simmer.  Cook 14 minutes, turn the heat off, and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.  Stir tomato sauce, oregano, and a pinch of allspice into quinoa.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. 

cashew bechamel sauce:
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 cups almond milk, divided 
4 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance soy free)
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In high speed blender or food processor, process cashews until crumbly. Add 1 cup milk while processing, until a smooth cashew cream forms – this will be much thinner than traditional cashew cream.
In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to darken in color – a light tan. Continue to stir while adding cashew milk. Mixture will thicken. Whisk in remaining two cups milk, and the salt and nutmeg, remove from heat.

This sause is a basic vegan white sause that can be adjusted according to the recipe and your preferences. Depending on the recipe, I might use only 2 cups of milk to make it a little thicker. I also have added Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, or even chili powder to make it fit with the dish.

to assemble:  
Preheat oven to 350F.  Arrange half of the eggplant in the bottom of a 16 oz gratin dish; spread the quinoa/tomato mixture evenly on top of the eggplant.  Arrange the remaining eggplant on top of the quinoa/tomato mixture; pour the béchamel on top.  Bake about 35 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.

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