My husband and I went on our first date to a Greek restaurant. We went back to that same restaurant several times, including for one of our last meals in Chicago. They had these sampler plates that had several traditional Greek items that I usually got. But for our last visit, I just got a big plate of moussaka. I loved every cheesy, eggplanty bite.
I like this vegetarian version of moussaka since it gives you all the goodness of the traditional dish, without the expense or saturated fat of the beef (or lamb if you are being very traditional). My husband is not a big fan of mushrooms, so I usually have to avoid meatless casseroles like this. But I followed a tip online that you can sub cauliflower for mushrooms. I did that for about half with great results.
Vegetable Moussaka (serves 6)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 large eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds)
12 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 (5 ounce) containers plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1. Heat saucepan with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until tender (about 6 minutes). Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more, or until garlic begins to be fragrant. Add 1 cup water, quinoa, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat.
2. Preheat broiler to high.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place eggplant slices on sheet and lightly coat both sides with cooking spray. (You may need to work in batches.) Broil 5 inches from heat source for 5 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Set aside.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 350.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and cauliflower. Cook 8 minutes, or until cauliflower is slightly tender. Add water and soy sauce; simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. Combine yogurt, feta, eggs, egg white, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl, stirring until smooth.
7. Coat a 13×9 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange half of the eggplant over the sauce. Spread all of mushroom mixture over eggplant and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers of tomato sauce and eggplant. Spread yogurt/cheese mixture over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 77 mg
Carbohydrate: 39 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sodium: 465 mg
Recipe Notes: I’m guessing you could probably sub rice or another grain for the quinoa, but you would need to adjust the cooking time and water added accordingly. If you like mushrooms, you could skip the cauliflower and do 24 ounces of mushrooms instead. But I kind of liked the mix of cauliflower and mushrooms. You do need to cut the cauliflower down to fairly small pieces. The original recipe added wine to the mushrooms. I don’t have wine in my house, so I just used water. You could use wine or some low sodium broth if you’d like. I had to skimp on the eggplant in mine, since part of one was going bad – so yours will look more “eggplanty” than mine. If you have a lasagna pan (or a pan just slightly larger than 13×9), I would use that. I used mine, and it fit fine. It might be kind of tight squeezing it into a regular 13×9 pan.
Source: adapted from Cooking Light