Greek Stuffed Eggplant with Soya Mince

Make this succulent and tasty Greek dish and you will be very please with yourself! Called Melitzanes Papoutsakia (literally, small eggplant shoes) in Greek, this oven baked dish is topped with delicious soya mince and a rich béchamel sauce.

Ingredients

For the eggplants:

  • 4 eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Thyme

For the vegan minced meat:

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 180 g soya mince (TVP – textured vegetable protein)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 of a cup of dry vegan red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 250 ml tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp Vegeta (veg stock powder)
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp salt

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 50 g vegan butter
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 500 ml + 2 tbsp soy or cashew milk
  • 1/2 tbsp corn flour*
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 – 2 pinches nutmeg
  • White pepper
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Other ingredients:

  • 100 g vegan yellow cheese
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Method

For the eggplants:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F).
  2. Wash the eggplants well and cut them in half, lengthwise. With a knife, slice cubes into their flesh, taking care not to penetrate the skin from below.
  3. Place the eggplants in a pan lined with non-stick paper, and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Add salt and thyme on top.
  4. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the eggplants turn brown.

For the mince:

  1. Prepare the soy mince according to the instructions on the package (I soak it for 10 minutes in vegetable broth). After soaking, drain it very well to remove almost all the liquid.
  2. Finely chop the onion, carrot and garlic. In a large pan add a little sesame oil. Once the oil is hot, add the soy mince and sauté for about 5-10 minutes until it turns brown.
  3. Remove the mince from the pan and set it aside. Add the olive oil and then the onion and carrot. Sauté until they turn brown. Add the mince and mix well. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  4. Next, add the wine, stir and as soon as the alcohol evaporates, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and all the spices. Mix well.
  5. Then add the tomato sauce, plus a cup of water. Mix well and add the veggies, pepper and molasses. Stir and cover to boil (5-10 minutes).
  6. The mince will be ready once it soaks the liquid. Turn off heat and set it aside.

For the béchamel sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, gradually add the flour, stirring constantly. Sauté the flour for about 5 minutes. Once it changes slightly in colour (it will become a little darker) add the milk, stirring constantly. Dissolve the corn flour in 2 tbsp of milk then add to the béchamel.
  2. Add the salt, nutmeg and pepper. Continue stirring. Once thickened, it is ready. We want the béchamel to be quite thick. Add the nutritional yeast and mix.

To create the pouches:

  1. Take the eggplants out of the oven and with a fork lightly squeeze their flesh to make a small hollow.
  2. Fill each eggplant with 2-3 tbsp of the soy mince. On top, add 2-3 tbsp of the béchamel. Then sprinkle with vegan cheese.
  3. Transfer back to the oven and bake at 180 C (350 F) for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Note: *The corn flour with 2 tbsp of soy milk is optional. But it helps make the béchamel sauce thicker.

 

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Guest Blogger Konstantinos – Beets Me

Konstantinos is the owner and creator of the vegan food blog Beets Me. He started cooking at the very young age of 9. And though at first he followed a career at art and design his passion for cooking won him over. After going vegan back in 2008, he began experimenting with all the new ingredients he was learning about at the time and started working on new recipes or trying to veganize traditional Greek recipes. See all recipes by Konstantinos

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