*Moussaka Burgers….Especially for the Vegetarian lovers!!*

 *Moussaka Burgers....Especially for the Vegetarian lovers!!*

Okay so let me start off by explaining what Moussaka is. Moussaka comes from the Greek language meaning: A Greek dish consisting of layers of ground lamb or beef and sliced eggplant topped with a cheese sauce and baked. I make this a lot when we have family gatherings. It is a great hearty dish. I re did the recipe a bit and it does not have any meat. I wanted to make it a vegetarian style recipe because of people who are fasting, including myself. Hope you enjoy.

Moussaka Burgers:

2 Tbs. olive 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. fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. fresh mint
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ – 1 cup panko bread crumbs

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 the eggplant is soft. Remove from heat.

Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl. Mash the eggplant up until there are no whole pieces left. 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 mix to be firm.

Put the mixture in 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 just use my hand and form them into a ball and pat them down. But you can also use a cookie cutter. (Make sure you spray your hands with cooking spray so the mix doesn’t stick.) Place your patties on a plate with parchment paper.

Get a pan and place it over medium heat, and put the rest of your olive oil in that pan. Once pan is heated, add your burgers. (Side note- You can do this on a George foreman grill as well.) I love my foreman hahaa. 🙂

Make sure both sides of the patties are golden brown. I like my burgers to have a slight crisp to them so I cook them well done. Set them aside on a plate when done.

Bechamel sauce:

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese, such as swiss, cheddar, gruyere or parmesan

Melt butter over medium-high heat in wide saucepan
Add flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring with whisk, until light golden brown
Add milk and continue whisking, until mixture is thick and bubbly
Remove from heat and adjust seasoning, adding cheese if desired and stirring until melted

To serve: Put the burgers on toasted buns with olive oil and top the patties with the cheese sauce.

~Kali Orexi~

Thank you to my friend in Greece for this recipe. 🙂


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