Individual Eggplant Mousakka Sandwiches

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I just cannot let good farm-fresh produce go to waste! Let me back-track a moment. I had gotten some beautiful eggplants along with tons of other veggies out East last week and maybe it was a tad more than what I needed. Hence, I was in my Monday morning gym class, pondering what to do with these two beauties for that evening’s dinner, when, BAM, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Mousakka! Oh, how I love and remember this authentic Greek dish from my childhood. In fact, this particular recipe excited me so that I actually could not stop thinking about it for the rest of my exercise time. Boy, it made the class go fast. Now, I haven’t had it in ages, but I did remember eggplant, beef and white sauce as the key ingredients. Heavy for the summer, I know, but I managed to lighten it up and this is how.

Serves 4

Ingredients
• 1 lb. ground beef
• 2 stalks celery diced
• 1/4 cup red pepper diced
• 1/4 cup red onion diced
• 2 cloves garlic minced
• 1 medium sized eggplant unpeeled and sliced cut into 1/2-inch rounds (you should have 8 or so slices)
• 2 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese or vegetarian parmesan cheese
• 4 slices provolone cheese or veggie provolone cheese
• 6 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
• Ground pepper to taste

Directions

1.) Lay eggplant out flat and brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and Ground pepper?2.) Heat 2 more tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. (If you like “grill marks” a grill pa works wonderfully as well.)?3.) Add 4 eggplant rounds to the skillet and cook until golden brown (Approximately 5 minutes per side.)?4.) Repeat with remaining eggplant rounds and remove from the pan. Blot dry with a paper towel.?5.) Heat another spoon of oil in the pan and add garlic, onion, pepper and celery to the pan. Sauté the veggies until tender.?6.) Push the veggies to the side of the pan to make room for the meat. Heat the last tablespoon of olive oil and add in ground beef, spices and remaining salt to the pan.?7.) Cook until the meat is cooked through and mix in veggie mixtures along with the herbs. Combine everything and take off the heat.?8.) Plate 4 eggplant rounds onto a platter and top with 1 slice of provolone cheese. Finally spoon on meat mixture and finish with sandwiching the rest of the eggplant slices on top. Gently press down.??

nicole meyer

Foodie, Nicole Meyer (A.K.A. Nic) adores sharing her best dishes with you. Nibble your way through her everyday recipes, seasonal finds and holiday tips. For more, visit nibblesbynic.com