Recipe and photography by: Matthew R Whipple, RD, LDN, Retail Dietitian
Retailer: ShopRite of Whitman Plaza

This Mushroom Moussaka is a take on the traditional Greek version of the dish. There are three basic components to the dish: the pan-fried eggplant slices, the ground meat and stewed tomatoes with fresh parsley, and a thick beschamel or custard layer on top. My version uses a 50/50 blend of cremini mushrooms and ground beef for the meat mixture and substitutes Greek yogurt for the beschamel top layer. This dish is even better the second day!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 Minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

2 pounds medium sized eggplant
1 pound cremini mushrooms
1 pound ground beef or lamb
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large yellow or sweet onion, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, divided
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped (reserve a little for garnish)
½ teaspoon salt
½ freshly cracked black pepper
For the White Sauce:
2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 eggs
Pinch salt and black pepper

Directions

1. Wash eggplant well and slice in ¼-inch thick slices. Put in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the eggplant and lay out on a towel to dry.
2. Using a food processor or knife, finely chop the mushroom to match the consistency of the ground meat. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until all of the moisture has been absorbed about 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and when cooled slightly, combine with the ground meat.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same large pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until it develops a caramelized color which is important to build flavor, about 10 minutes. Add the mushroom/meat blend and continue to sauté until the mixture is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
4. While the mixture is cooking, lightly pan fry the eggplant slices in batches using 1 tablespoon olive oil at a time about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the slices to a colander to allow excess oil to drain.
5. To make the white sauce, put the yogurt, flour, salt, and pepper in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Add the butter, place the pan over medium heat, and stir constantly until the sauce gets thick. Slowly whisk in the eggs, and continue stirring rapidly until all the lumps are removed. Set aside.
6. In a 9” x 13” baking pan or casserole layer half of the eggplant slices, sprinkle with half the bread crumbs, cover with the blend mixture, and then sprinkle with half of the parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining eggplant slices, then the remaining bread crumbs, followed by the white sauce and the remaining parmesan cheese.
7. Bake the dish at 400°F for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes before serving, and sprinkle on the remaining parsley for garnish. Serve with a nice, crisp salad. Enjoy!

*Note: This dish is even better the second day!