Vegetarian Moussaka

This recipe is inspired from the March 2011 issue for Vegetarian Moussaka. The original recipe called for uncooked bulgar but when I started making this recipe, I realized I had run out. So I substituted a brown rice with daikon seeds and chicken stock instead of vegetable broth. The creamy bechamel sauce was the star of this dish and I wish I had doubled the recipe. The result of this simple dish was a hearty, delicious meal that will even satisfy the ravenous carnivore within.

Vegetarian Moussaka

by Cooking Light

3 peeled eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 2 1/2 pounds) (I used 2 large eggplants)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup uncooked bulgur (I precooked 1 cup of brown rice with daikon seeds)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups organic vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat broiler to high.

Brush eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Place half of eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chopped onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add bulgur; cook 3 minutes or until bulgur is lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vegetable broth, oregano, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and salt. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Add egg, stirring well with a whisk.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Arrange half of eggplant in an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the bulgur mixture evenly over eggplant; arrange remaining eggplant over bulgur mixture. Top with milk mixture. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, and remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 475°. Return dish to oven for 4 minutes or until the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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