Vegetarian Moussaka

I saw a very appetizing recipe in Weight Watcher’s Magazine for what looked like a vegetarian moussaka (Creamy Greek Veggie Bake). I changed around the recipe, changing the filling into more of a veggie chili (I added beans, lots of tomato paste and seasoned with oregano and cumin instead of cinnamon and allspice). I also added some olive oil into the bechamel sauce that goes on top of the dish.

I love the contrast of the chunky filling with the creamy eggplant, but the filling can be made and served on its own as a vegetarian chili (perhaps in little filo shells with a dollop of sour cream as an appetizer, like the Susie Fishbein Chili Bites KBD Short on Time).

I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet the moussaka could be made dairy-free (speaking of Susie Fishbein, see this dairy-free moussaka topping).
UPDATE: I made this dairy-free just by leaving out the bechamel, and it is excellent that way. What makes the dish is the contrast of the creamy smooth eggplant with the chunky veggie chili.

Vegetarian Moussaka
Inspired by a Weight Watcher’s recipe, Creamy Greek Veggie Bake.
UPDATE: I made this dairy-free and without the veggie crumbles by substituting a can of lentils, drained well, for the veggie crumbles and spreading a little of the filling on top instead of the bechamel. You don’t need to reserve much filling for spreading on top, just enough to coat the eggplant and keep if from drying out.

Eggplant, peeled and sliced
Vegetarian Chili (see below recipe)
bechamel sauce (see below recipe)

Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, spray with oil and bake at 450 degrees until tender, about 15 minutes (turn slices over halfway through the bake time). Place half the eggplant slices in a layer on the bottom of a 9″x13″ casserole pan (or an 8″x10″). Pour over the vegetarian chili and smooth into an even layer. Top the chili with the other half of the eggplant slices. Pour the bechamel sauce evenly over the eggplant and bake the dish at 375 degrees for a half hour, or until the mixture is hot all the way through. Let rest fifteen minutes before serving.

Vegetarian Chili

2-4 Tbl. olive oil (enough to coat pan and saute vegetables)
2 Vidalia onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced (can double, if desired, especially if not using the veggie beef crumbles)
12 ounces vegetarian “beef crumbles” (can substitute a 14.5 ounce can of beans or lentils)
6 ounces tomato paste
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
10 ounce can pink beans (or whatever beans you like), rinsed well
1/2 cup water, or more as needed

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Saute vegetables in olive oil until tender.

Add the vegetarian “beef crumbles” and stir around to brown them a bit.

Add tomato paste and mix in well. Stir around a bit to cook the tomato paste just a little, maybe 30 seconds. You might need to add a little extra oil to keep things from sticking.

Add the cumin, oregano, salsa, beans and stir well. The mixture will be very thick, so add about a half cup water to thin it out a bit.

Simmer the chili for about a half hour on low heat, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

Bechamel Sauce
3 Tbl. flour
2 Tbl. oil
2 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

combine 3 Tbl. flour and 2 Tbl. oil in a medium saucepan. Heat while stirring until a paste forms. Whisk 2 cups of milk into the flour/oil paste and stir the milk mixture over medium heat until it thickens. Beat an egg in small bowl and whisk some hot sauce into the egg (to “temper” it, or dilute/warm it before adding it to the sauce so that it won’t turn into scrambled eggs). Whisk the tempered egg mixture into the pot of sauce. Whisk in 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.

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2 Responses to “Vegetarian Moussaka”

  1. Leora Says:

    Yum. I can’t tolerate milk at all, so I would have to skip the bechamel.

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