One of our favorite vegetarian dishes from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival was the Meatless Moussaka. Available at the the Greece Marketplace booth, the moussaka was so good you wouldn’t even notice that it was meatless. It had a lot of flavor! With this recipe, you can now make this Epcot Food and Wine Festival favorite at home.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 (11-ounce) packages meatless crumbles
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
2 cups vegetable stock
coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten
2 large eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil, divided
cinnamon, for dusting
coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup coarsely grated Graviera or Gruyère cheese, for baking
For Meatless Sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
- Add meatless crumbles and cook about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; cook 2 minutes or until lightly caramelized.
- Add vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, ad vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours or until almost all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
For Béchamel Sauce:
- Stir salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk together in large bowl.
- Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly until smooth.
- Whisking constantly, add milk mixture in a steady stream. Cook 8-10 minutes, whisking often, until thickened. Remove from heat; pour into blender and add eggs. Blend on low until smooth and set aside.
- Place eggplant slices in a colander and put colander in large bowl to allow eggplant to drain. Liberally sprinkle slices with coarse salt and let them rest until the salt begins to draw moisture to the surface, about 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant thoroughly, let drain, and blot dry.
- Heat 3/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust eggplant with cinnamon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Working in batches, fry eggplant slices for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender. Add additional olive oil as needed between batches. Transfer eggplant slices to paper towels to drain.
- Bring 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook 8 to 10 minutes until just tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 10″ x 14″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Spread 1 cup béchamel on bottom of baking dish; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Spread potatoes over cheese; top with eggplant. Pour meat sauce over eggplant; spread remaining béchamel over meat sauce allowing sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan.
- Smooth béchamel with spatula and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 1 hour, or until golden brown. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
Cook’s Notes: Salting eggplant before you cook it draws out any bitterness in the eggplant, as well as moisture. Drawing out some of the moisture means it won’t absorb as much oil when frying. Slightly sweet and nutty Graviera is a cheese from Greece, the country’s second most popular cheese after Feta.