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Vegan Makloubeh Recipe

Vegan Makloubeh

A vegan take on a popular Levantine dish that literally means "upside down". The perfect centerpiece meal for special occasions!

Author: Nada E. -  one arab vegan
Recipe type: Main | Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time:  30 mins | Cook time:  30 mins | Total time:  1 hour
Serves: 4


1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 0.5 cm slices and tossed in ½-1 tsp salt
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 carrots, cut lengthwise into medium slices
2 medium potatoes, sliced into medium slices
2 large tomatoes, sliced into thick slices
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed (but not peeled)
1 small red onion, sliced
1 cup of brown rice, soaked overnight or for at least 4 hours
4 tbsp olive oil (or vegetable oil of choice)
2 cups of vegetable stock
1.5 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp each of turmeric powder, cumin powder, and cinnamon
Sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. Start by preparing your vegetables for layering and pre-heat your oven to 170 C/ 340 F.

2. Toss the carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes and onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper then transfer to an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake for no more15 minutes so that the veggies are part-cooked and still crunchy.

3. Next you want to grill your eggplant slices. Pour the remaining olive oil into a small dish and using a pastry brush, grease the eggplant slices before placing on a hot grill or frying pan. Grill each side for 2-3 minutes before greasing the upper facing side and flipping.

4. Cut a circle of greaseproof or baking paper that is large enough to cover the base of your pot, then line the pot with it. Begin to layer your vegetables starting with the eggplant, then carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower and finally garlic cloves before finishing with the pre-soaked brown rice.

5. Add the spices to the vegetable stock and mix until well-combined, then gently pour over the rice until the mixture is fully covered - add more water if needed.

6. Transfer to the stove and gently bring to a boil - you do NOT want a vigorous boil because that will disturb the layers. Once the mixture starts to simmer, reduce to very low heat then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

7. Once done, remove from the heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes. When ready to serve, use a plate that is larger than the base of the pan to cover and carefully turn over so that the plate is on the bottom. Lift the pan off of the mixture and pray that it keeps its shape!

Even though it sounds like a lot of work, I promise that it comes together pretty easily once all the moving parts have been assembled.

Some cooking notes!

- You will need a heavy based, 5-litre capacity pot to make this recipe, anything smaller and you run the risk of the mixture overflowing.

- The original recipe consists of meat, fried vegetables and white rice so you could definitely sub in some faux meat (chick’n strips or crumbled up vegan mince), or chickpeas for an extra protein boost.

- If you wish to use white rice, make sure it’s round Egyptian or Italian rice and don’t bother with the pre-soaking.

- Don’t worry if your Makloubeh falls apart once turned over – you can always re-assemble in smaller bowls when serving, as pictured.
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