Vegetarian Moussaka

This vegetarian moussaka uses portobello mushrooms instead of ground beef, giving you the traditional hearty moussaka experience. Instead of a plain Bechamel sauce to top the moussaka, you'll make a cheese sauce, adding some flavor and some protein to the dish.

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Vegetarian Moussaka

  • Prep Time: 20 m
  • Cook Time: 2 h
  • Resting Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 2 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 carrots finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 ounces Crimini or Portobello mushrooms chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano OR 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup white wine, optional
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Prepare the eggplant slices by sprinkling salt on both sides, and placing the slices onto a paper towel. Cover the eggplant with another piece of paper towel and set aside for 30 minutes. (This is to help extract some of the bitter enzymes in the eggplant.) While the eggplant is soaking, pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Brush any extra salt off the eggplant and brush both sides with olive oil. Bake on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, flip the slices over and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggplant is tender and cooked through.
  2. Make the sauce while the eggplant is baking. Pre-heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrots and celery until tender – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and dried spices and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the white wine (if using) and crushed tomatoes. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly – about 15 minutes.
  3. Make the cheese sauce topping. Pre-heat a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the flour, whisking for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a boil so that it thickens. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and let it cool just a little, then whisk in the egg.
  4. Assemble the Moussaka. Place half of the eggplant slices in the bottom of a 2-quart ceramic baker. Pour half of the sauce on top. Sprinkle the Parmesan and feta cheeses over the casserole. Place the remaining eggplant slices on top. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Finally, pour the cheese sauce topping over everything.
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let the Moussaka cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
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