Vegetarian Mushroom Moussaka Recipe

Greek Jews are no strangers to moussaka—the rich casserole traditionally made from eggplant and lamb and thickly layered with béchamel. But because kosher laws prohibit the consumption of milk and meat together, Jewish versions of the dish tend to either skip the béchamel entirely, which is a shame, flavorwise, or make a dairy-free topping from fat, flour, and stock.

In this take, the moussaka’s eggplant base is paired with cremini mushrooms instead of lamb, making it completely meat-free and perfectly suited for its creamy topping. Moussaka is warming, hearty, and easily transportable, making it the perfect dish for alfresco meals on Sukkot.

Reprinted from Little Book of Jewish Feasts by Leah Koenig with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018.

Ingredients

  • 1/4  cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus about 3/4 cup (180 ml) for greasing and brushing
  • 4small eggplants (about 1 lb each), peeled
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lb (455 g) cremini mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/2 inch (12 mm) pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 28 oz (800 g) can crushed tomatoes

For the bechamel sauce:

  • 6 Tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (720 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (30 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks

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