MOUSSAKA BURGER WITH BECHAMEL CHEESE SAUCE

MOUSSAKA BURGER WITH BECHAMEL CHEESE SAUCE

Vegan Greek Style

Moussaka is made differently depending on the
country – the Greek version usually has layers of meat and eggplant topped with
a Bechamel sauce, kind of like a lasagna. In Serbia and Bulgaria, they use
potatoes instead of eggplant. There are even vegan versions that substitute
mushrooms for the meat.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

Burger

·        
2 Tbs. canola oil, divided

·        
2 eggplants, peeled and cubed

·        
3 scallions, finely chopped

·        
2 Tbs. tomato paste

·        
1 ½ cup mashed potatoes

·        
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

·        
2 cloves garlic, minced

·        
1 tsp. ground cumin

·        
1 tsp. Kosher salt

·        
½ tsp. dried oregano

·        
½ tsp. black pepper

·        
¼ tsp. cinnamon

·        
¼ tsp. nutmeg

·        
½ – 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs

 

Béchamel cheese sauce

·        
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

·        
1 Tbs. chickpea flour

·        
1 cup non-dairy milk

·        
½ cup mozzarella cheese shreds

·        
2 Tbs. vegan grated parmesan or nutritional
yeast

·        
A pinch of nutmeg

·        
Salt and black pepper to taste

 

PREPARATION:

 Burger

1.      
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil over
medium-high heat. Add the eggplant cubes and sauté until they are browned and
very soft, about 10 minutes. Make sure they are super-soft because they need to
be mashed.

2.     
Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl. Mash the
eggplant up until there are no whole pieces left. I use a potato masher to do this.
Once you have a big bowl of mush, add the scallions, tomato paste, mashed
potatoes, parsley, garlic and spices. Mix it into the eggplant. Add the bread
crumbs. Don’t add them all at once; you want to feel the mix and see whether
you need a whole cup. I add 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and mix it. The best way to
mix it is wet your hands and use one hand (keep the other hand clean) to gently
mix the crumbs into the eggplant. You will probably need more crumbs so add
another ¼ cup and mix it again. You want the consistency to feel firm, like it
will hold up as a burger. I usually end up putting the whole cup of crumbs in.

3.     
Put the eggplant-potato mixture into the fridge
for about 30 minutes. Take the bowl out of the fridge and with your hand,
divide the mixture into 4 parts. To form the burgers, I use a 3 ½ inch cookie
cutter. I spray it with a bit of cooking oil spray and then pack the eggplant
mixture into the cookie cutter. Pat it down, let it sit for about 20 seconds
and then gently lift the cookie cutter off. Let your perfect burger sit for a
few minutes undisturbed while you make the other 3 burgers.

4.     
In the same skillet that you sautéed the
eggplant in (but cleaned), heat the other Tbs. of oil over medium-high heat and
add the burgers to the pan. Let cook until slightly browned on one side and
(this is very important) you can lift the burger with a spatula without
breaking it. I use 2 thin spatulas to gently turn the burgers. Flip them and
let them cook on the other side. When the 2nd side gets golden brown, flip them
back over and let the first side cook until golden brown.

Sauce

1.      
Over medium-low heat, heat the oil in a small
saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until the flour is completely incorporated.
Let the flour cook out for a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk. Let the sauce
cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cheeses and whisk until
they are melted. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cook until the sauce thickens,
stirring occasionally.

 

NOTES

Put the burgers onto toasted buns. Top with the
béchamel cheese sauce and the bun top. Add lettuce, if desired. Serve with a
greek salad!

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