Many years ago my family visited an aunt on her European farm, and she made a vegetarian moussaka with vegetables from her own garden. This was the first and last time that I ever tasted moussaka, but the memory and the desire to try making my own has remained with me ever since. I have looked at a several moussaka recipes since then, but none of them appealed to me, so I decided to use Melissa D’Arabian’s moussaka recipe as a base together with this vegetarian moussaka, while trying to make it my own.
Vegetarian Moussaka Ingredients:
- 3 medium potatoes sliced
- 1 eggplant sliced
- 5 mushrooms sliced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 2 gloves of finely chopped garlic
- 2 tomatoes sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing + olive oil for drizzling the eggplant.
- 4 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups of low fat milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 egg yolks
Vegetarian Moussaka Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook the potato slices for 5 minutes (do not cook longer) in heavily salted, boiling water, shock in chilled water.
- Meanwhile, slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices, brush with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
- Set aside the potato and eggplant slices for assembly.
- Brown the chopped onion and garlic for 2 minutes over low heat
- Add sliced mushrooms and squash and saute on pan for 4 minutes, remove from pan and set aside for assembly.
- Spray or butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish
- Assemble the vegetables. Layer the potatoes at the bottom of the pan, then layer the eggplant overlapping each other. Layer the zucchini, and then the add the onion, mushroom mix on top.
- Then layer the tomato slices in the next layer, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
- Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot sauce.
- Finally pour the bechamel sauce over the layers, making sure that the sauce is spread evenly.
- Bake the moussaka in a preheated 350 degrees oven for about 45 minutes, or until the top is browning.
Let the vegetarian moussaka cool for five minute before serving, and serve with a fresh salad and a baguette or roll. I was a bit nervous about the taste of the moussaka, but I ended up being thrilled with the end result. I’ll admit it, but I needed ketchup with my vegetarian moussaka, but I do have a ketchup habit that I have been scolded for when eating in Italy.
The parmesan gives the moussaka a distinctive taste, and the eggplant blends perfectly with the potato, zucchini and potato. The tomato is a welcome addition in between the layers, and I will definitely be making this vegetarian moussaka recipe again. It is a fulfilling dish made of lots of veggies, and making the bechamel sauce with low fat milk and a minimum of butter adds to the healthy benefits of the dish.
Moussaka can be an expensive dish to make, but by planning ahead, you can purchase ingredients on sale. I bought 10 lbs of potatoes on sale at ALDI a few weeks ago for $1.99, the zucchini and tomatoes were on sale this week, the eggplant I price matched to a great price at Walmart last week, and even the Parmesan cheese was bought for pennies at Publix after combining a sale with coupons. With a little determination, my vegetarian moussaka turned out to be quite a frugal dish.