Recipe: Vegetarian Moussaka

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From the Vitality Food Feature ‘A MEAT-FREE HOLIDAY MENU‘.

Vegetarian Moussaka RecipeeThis can be a signature main course. People often mistake the baked pieces of eggplant for meat. They spear one on their fork, tell you how delicious it is, and keep on eating. You could turn this into a vegan dish by using olive oil instead of butter and Daiya cheese instead of Parmesan. Leftovers are great served on top of a slice of toasted rye bread. (Serves 6.)


  • 3 eggplants, sliced ½” thick
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 12 cups sliced mushrooms (about 2 lbs)
  • One 5 oz-can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce or salt
  • ¼ cup dry red wine or mirin
  • ½ cup Red Star Nutritional Yeast Flakes (very tasty)
  • ¼ cup organic butter
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (for a gluten-free alternative try Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • 1¼ cups 2% milk or plain rice or almond milk
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) Place eggplant on lightly greased or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once, until browned.

3) Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Cook garlic and onion for 5 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in mushrooms in batches of 2 cups at a time, making sure they are softened before adding next batch.

4) Reduce heat to medium, stir in tomato paste, basil, tamari sauce, wine, and yeast. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

5) Melt butter in small pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Very gradually, whisk in milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

6) Place one layer of eggplant in lightly greased 13”x 9” baking dish. Cover with mushroom sauce and spread cheese sauce smoothly on top.

7) Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Continue baking, uncovered, for another 15 minutes until golden.

Nettie Cronish is a vegetarian and organic foods chef, culinary instructor and cookbook author. She is the author of 3 cookbooks and co-author of another 3 cookbooks: Nourish: Whole Food Recipes featuring Seeds, Nuts and Beans, Flex Appeal featuring a healthy dinner on the table in 30 minutes, Everyday Flexitarian: Recipes for Vegetarians & Meat Lovers Alike, New Vegetarian Basics, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Vegetarian in Canada and Nettie’s Vegetarian Kitchen. Her 7th cookbook, Fair Trade Ingredients will be published Spring 2021. For the past 25 years, Nettie has been the resident culinary instructor at The Big Carrot Natural Foods store in Toronto, Canada. For the vegetarian and flexitarian curious, she also gives classes at Nella Cucina, President’s Choice Cooking School (Loblaw’s), The Loft at Longo’s, the LCBO and Nature’s Emporium. She has taught at George Brown College, Calphalon Culinary Centre, Dish Cooking School and Great Cooks on Eight. Nettie also teaches corporate cooking classes and works with dieticians. Nettie develops and tests recipes for companies and has written articles that have appeared in Chatelaine Magazine, Canadian Living, Food & Drink, Homemakers, Natural Health, Alive Magazine, Vitality, The Globe & Mail and Toronto Star. Nettie’s cooking philosophy is that “delicious is a pre-requisite for healthy”. As a busy mother of three, she has extensive experience getting dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Nettie Cronish is the past Chair of the Women’s Culinary Network, and a past board member at Fairtrade Canada.

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