2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Vegetarian Moussaka at the Greece Marketplace Booth

We have more delicious eats for you today from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Disney has been lauded in the past for their commitment to serving guests who have special dietary needs. Whether you’re gluten free, vegetarian, or have other food sensitivities, your choices throughout Walt Disney World have been steadily increasing.

We’ve also seen this emphasis at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. For the last few years, an entire Marketplace Booth, Terra, has been devoted to a vegan menu.

But beyond Terra, you’ll also find vegetarian offerings scattered throughout the other Marketplaces. (See the full listing of Festival Vegetarian options here, and a list of Festival Gluten Free options here.)

One of our very favorites was introduced this year — Vegetarian Moussaka.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Vegetarian Moussaka

A layered dish customarily consisting of Eggplant and/or Potatoes, a rich Meat Filling, and Béchamel, it’s a comforting dish that’s especially perfect for the cold weather months.

Vegetarian Moussaka --Inside

Vegetarian Moussaka –Inside

No lie — I have been dreaming about this dish since I first tasted it at the Food and Wine Preview dinner last Summer. When I had a chance to sample it once again at the Greece Marketplace Booth, it was just as amazing! It is truly one of the most delicious and satisfying vegetarian entrees I have ever tasted.

And now, you and I can both make it at home! Perfect for the next time you’d like to offer a meatless meal, this hearty casserole will please even the most die-hard meat eaters.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Greece Marketplace Booth

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

Meatless Sauce:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 (11-ounce) packages meatless crumbles
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
2 cups vegetable stock
coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Béchamel Sauce:
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten

Eggplant:
2 large eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
coarse salt
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil, divided
cinnamon, for dusting
coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Potatoes:
2 large russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup coarsely grated Graviera or Gruyère cheese, for baking

Instructions:

For Meatless Sauce:
1. Heat olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent.

2. Add meatless crumbles and cook about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; cook 2 minutes or until lightly caramelized.

3. Add vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, ad vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours or until almost all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.

For Béchamel Sauce:
1. Stir salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk together in large bowl.

2. Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly until smooth.

3. Whisking constantly, add milk mixture in a steady stream. Cook 8-10 minutes, whisking often, until thickened. Remove from heat; pour into blender and add eggs. Blend on low until smooth and set aside.

For Eggplant:
1. Place eggplant slices in a colander and put colander in large bowl to allow eggplant to drain. Liberally sprinkle slices with coarse salt and let them rest until the salt begins to draw moisture to the surface, about 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant thoroughly, let drain, and blot dry.

2. Heat 3/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust eggplant with cinnamon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Working in batches, fry eggplant slices for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender. Add additional olive oil as needed between batches. Transfer eggplant slices to paper towels to drain.

For Potatoes:
1. Bring 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook 8 to 10 minutes until just tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

For Assembly:
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray 10″ x 14″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Spread 1 cup béchamel on bottom of baking dish; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Spread potatoes over cheese; top with eggplant. Pour meat sauce over eggplant; spread remaining béchamel over meat sauce allowing sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan.

3. Smooth béchamel with spatula and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 1 hour, or until golden brown. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Cook’s Notes: Salting eggplant before you cook it draws out any bitterness in the eggplant, as well as moisture. Drawing out some of the moisture means it won’t absorb as much oil when frying. Slightly sweet and nutty Graviera is a cheese from Greece, the country’s second most popular cheese after Feta.

Want More Details About the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

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Will Vegetarian Moussaka be a featured meal on your Meatless Monday rotation? Let us know what you think in comments below!

Recipe Credit: A Taste of Epcot: Festival Food From Around the Globe Cookbook

Comments

  1. says

    This really was one of my favourite options at the F&W this year. I’m glad too that they’ve made the recipe public, definitely one I want to try to re-create.

    @Diane – meatless crumbles are mock-hamburger meat, from a vegetarian source (usually soy). Think of it like crumbled up veggie burgers =)

  2. says

    Diane — It’s a meat replacement, usually soy-based. You can find them in the freezer section. You could easily use ground turkey, beef, lamb, or chicken as well if making the dish vegetarian isn’t a priority. Hope this helps. :-)

  3. Megan says

    This wasn’t one of my favorites at the festival. But as far as vegetarian/vegan dishes go, the crabless crab cakes at the Terra booth were amazing. I would make those in a heartbeat.

  4. Dana says

    I loved the Moussaka, but I REALLY want the recipe for the Vegetarian Haggis from Scotland. That was amazing!

  5. says

    I just pre-made this for tomorrow nights dinner… only I substituted meatless crumbles for meat. I will let you know how it goes :)
    -Abby

  6. says

    So we couldn’t wait until tonight to try it, so we had some last night. This is the best moussaka I have ever had! It is so creamy and delicious! This time I used ground beef because I didn’t find a good deal on lamb, but still it was unbelievable! Because I went ahead and used ground beef, I replaced the vegetable broth with beef broth also. My husband was nervous about eating it because he is not a huge eggplant fan, but even he was over the moon about it.

    Here are some tips I have:
    -I used 2 lbs of ground beef
    -I replaced the vegetable broth for beef broth
    -This make A LOT of food. If you are only cooking this for 2-4 people I say split the ingredients between two trays and freeze one for later (I completely baked it through before I froze it). I used two 7in x 11in Pyrex dishes, and it divided perfectly.
    -If you split it between two pans you only need to bake it for 45 minutes
    -In a pinch you can use mozzarella cheese. I did and it was still wonderful!
    -I used a food processor to make my bechamel. I put the sauce in, started the food processor and then added the eggs.

    Next time I am going to use a lamb/beef combo :)
    I will say this is the second recipe from this site that I have made, and I am greatly impressed. I have made the Mainstreet Bakery Cinnamon Roll recipe twice now (if you haven’t tried it you need to)! My husband likes to tell me there is nothing about Disney he likes, so I started sneaking in recipes from here and other sites into our dinners, and every time he eats something he loves I am always so excited to tell him it is a Disney recipe. I think I am slowly winning him over through his stomach :)

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