Moussaka cakes Ottolenghi style


  • 3 slices of (stale) bread to your choice
  • 4 aubergines cut in small cubes
  • approx. 150 ml olive oil
  • 3 tbsp vegan ricotta (link to recipe)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegan parmesan (if using or replace with nutritional yeast)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp flat parsley leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp arrow root
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour (I used wholewheat)
  • 6 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 black garlic cloves (optional)
  • 1 tsp Isot pepper (Urfa flakes) optional
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • tin (400 gr) of peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sweet pepper paste (or tomato paste)
  • 1 tsp coconut blossom sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano leaves chopped (or use dried)
  • handful Kalamata olives halved
  • salt and fresh black pepper


Start by baking the slices of bread in the oven at 160℃ for 12 minutes. When cooled crumble them in a food processor into breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Cut the aubergines in small cubes, toss them in 75 ml. of olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them evenly on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown in a pre-heated oven at 220℃. Set aside to cool.

Transfer the aubergine chunks into a bowl, mash them with a fork or a something sharp into a rough mash. Add the vegan ricotta, the parmesan, nutritional yeast, breadcrumbs, half of the garlic cloves, the parsley, Isot pepper, salt and flour. Mix well, then stir in the arrowroot and mix in completely. Form with oily hands little cakes (like mini-burgers) of the mash, press them tightly together. Place them on a plate and when done place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the cakes are setting, prepare the sauce. Heat two tablespoons of oil on medium high heat and fry the rest of the garlic for 1 minute. Add the black garlic, the tinned tomatoes, sweet pepper paste, sugar, chilli flakes, smoked paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper (maybe some more Isot pepper) and cook for 7 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir occasionally. Pour in 400 ml of water, bring to simmer, lower the heat to medium and simmer 10 more minutes.

The sauce ready for the moussaka cakes.

Heat the oven to 180 ℃. Add two tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan at medium high heat. Take the moussaka cakes out of the fridge and fry them for 3-4 minutes on both sides until golden brown. (when you need two batches, add some oil between the two batches).

*you can easily prepare the cakes and the sauce in advance, even a day before. Store in the fridge. That leaves heating the dish with the sauce and the cakes in the oven as last step.

Transfer the sauce into a oven dish, place the cakes in the sauce and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling hot. Remove from the oven, scatter the olives (not included in the picture), basil leaves and maybe some more parmesan.

Serve with pasta, rice or baked potato wedges.


  • serves: 4
  • preparation time: in total approx. 2 hours

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