What are you to do if you love the luscious Greek eggplant dish moussaka but are a confirmed vegetarian? Don’t fret — read below.
Eggplant, Tomato and Kale Moussaka
2 medium eggplants, washed, sliced ¼” thick (eggplant may be peeled, if desired)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
2-3 cups fresh kale, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper or 2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups marinara sauce or tomato puree
2 eggs, beaten
Chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint, about 1/4 cup each
1 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon each crushed red pepper flakes and paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Olive oil and unsalted butter
2 tablespoons each chopped walnuts and pine nuts
2 cups shredded or grated fresh Parmesan, Jack, Mozzarella or mizithra cheese
Greek yogurt, lebne, or ricotta cheese for garnish
Lemon zest and juice of one lemon for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cheese with the eggs, parsley, mint, salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, paprika, and nutmeg; mix and set aside.
Sauté the kale, onions, bell pepper, and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil until the onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Spread a half cup of the marinara sauce or puree on the bottom of a 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Arrange the eggplant slices on top of the sauce, cutting slices, if necessary, to fit spacing; repeat and alternate in layers with the sliced tomatoes, sautéed onion mixture, and the remaining sauce, and finish with the eggplant slices on top.
Pour the cheese and egg mixture over the top of the moussaka and spread evenly; drizzle with olive oil and top with chopped walnuts and pine nuts. Add a few dabs of butter on the top and bake (on a cooking sheet) for one hour or until the eggplant is tender.
Remove moussaka from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Top each square with a dollop of Greek yogurt, lebne, or ricotta cheese, and garnish with lemon zest or lemon juice, if desired.
Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee, Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines, and at http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/.