I had all of the ingredients except seitan, a wheat gluten "meat", on hand. So making the seitan would be my Step 1 of 7. I used the Smoked Seitan Roast recipe out of the Vegan Diner cookbook previously recommended under the Vegan Sweets tab. An excellent recipe and an excellent vegan cookbook chocked full of comfort food. And the leftover seitan will be used later this week to make Q Sandwiches. Yum. But more on that later. Back to Step 1. The seitan was easy to make but does take an hour to steam and cool so it's ready for Step 3. A time-saving options would be to either purchase pre-made seitan or make it a day or two in advance. It keeps well.
Step 2 was preparing the Vegetable Layer--roasting the eggplant and zucchini. A tip from the cookbook was to salt the eggplant first to leach excess water and bitterness. After thirty minutes, pat each slice dry with a paper towel and bake, along with the zucchini for 20 minutes.
Step 3 was the Seitan Layer. This is where the Smoked Seitan Roast recipe from Step 1 came in, blending chunks of the roast with a couple of portobellos and spices a few minutes in the food processor. Adding sauteed onions and tomatoes brings it all together into an amazingly "meat" similar to the cooked lamb from the traditional recipe.
Step 4 was whipping up a batch of mashed potatoes for the Mashed Potato Layer and Step 5 was the bread crumbs.
Step 6 was making the bechamel--a rich white sauce infused with herbs. This was poured over the layers from Steps 2-4, similar to lasagna and then topped with the seasoned bread crumbs.
The final step was baking for 30 minutes until the bread crumbs are toasted and the bechamel is set. Mine took 35 minutes and was AMAZING.
- The seitan could be completed a day or two ahead (or purchased pre-made); and
- The mashed potatoes could be completed the day before.