- medium eggplants, partially peeled, sliced length-wise 2
- large potatoes, peeled, sliced lengthwise 3
- large zucchini, sliced lengthwise 2
- Kosher Salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- For the bechamel
- Milk 4 cups • 49 kcal
- All-purpose flour 2/3 cup
- Extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp
- Salt 1/2 tsp • 1 kcal
- Ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp
- Large eggs 2
- For the lentil sauce
- black lentils, cooked 1 ¼ cups
- Crushed tomatoes 1 14-oz can
- Vegetable broth 1/2 cup
- yellow onion, chopped 1
- Garlic, minced 2 cloves
- dry oregano 1 tsp
- Nutmeg 1/2 tsp
- dash of cinnamon
Vegetarian moussaka is a wonderful, exceptionally flavorful, simple-to-make recipe that both vegetarians and people who eat meat will fall in love with. This meat-free take on the traditional Greek lamb moussaka is chock-full of hearty vegetables, beautifully seasoned with spices, and is an absolute delight to the taste buds. Eggplant, zucchini, and potato form the base of the vegetarian moussaka, followed by a richly flavored layer of lentil and tomato sauce, all topped off with a homemade bechamel. Overall, this vegetarian moussaka is thick, creamy, with tender veggies, and so much mouthwatering savory flavor. It's a great healthy recipe to make and perfect for feeding a large group.
What Vegetables to Use for Vegetarian Moussaka
Nothing beats eggplant in a vegetarian moussaka. Coupled with zucchini and potatoes, and you have a wholesome comforting dish with fantastic flavor. Don't forget to salt the eggplant and let it stand before cooking with it – this gets rid of extra moisture and some of the eggplant's natural bitterness.
How to Make Vegetarian Moussaka
This vegetarian moussaka recipe is easier than you think. Preheat your oven to 400°F and start by salting eggplants and leave them rest for 20 minutes, and continue by making the bechamel sauce. It's the turn of the lentil sauce: cook onions until soft, then add lentils, tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, oregano, nutmeg and cinnamon and cook for 15 minutes. Then lightly oil vegetables and bake them for 20 minutes. Now it's time to assemble the ingredients: ladle some of the lentil tomato sauce onto the bottom of a casserole and spread it around, place vegetables in layers, cover with the remaining lentil tomato sauce and finally cover it with bechamel sauce. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown to enjoy a tasty vegetarian moussaka.
Tips for the Best Vegetarian Moussaka
– Taste the bechamel sauce and add any extra salt, pepper, or nutmeg it might need.
– While it's tempting to dive straight in, it's better to let your moussaka rest before cutting and serving it. It will firm up slightly and be easier to serve.
– Make sure to cook the lentils before you get started.
– Vegetarian moussaka is a great make-ahead recipe. Roast the veggies, make the lentil tomato sauce, and the bechamel, and store them in the fridge. The next day, you can assemble and bake your vegetarian moussaka – just be sure to warm up the bechamel sauce so it's easier to spread. You can add a tablespoon or two of milk if needed.
What to Serve with Vegetarian Moussaka
Vegetarian moussaka is a hearty, filling dish, so keep things light when it comes to sides. Salads are always a great choice. Stick with the Mediterranean theme and whip up a Greek salad, dolmas, fried zucchini, or hummus and fresh chopped vegetables.
How to Store and Freeze Vegetarian Moussaka
Store vegetarian moussaka in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you want to keep your moussaka for longer than 3 days, stick it in the fridge. It'll keep for up to 1 month when frozen. To reheat vegetarian moussaka from frozen, bake it for 30 minutes at 325°F.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with paper towels and arrange the eggplants on the tray.
Salt the eggplants.
Leave them for 20 to 30 minutes, then gently pat them dry with a paper towel.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper, cooking until it turns golden brown.
Slowly whisk in the milk and reduce heat to medium.
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, periodically stirring. Stir in the nutmeg. Take a small amount of the milk mixture and combine it with the eggs. Stir the egg mixture into the bechamel sauce. Continue stirring the sauce and bring to a simmer, cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the sauce to thicken and cool.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the onions until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add cooked lentils, tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, oregano, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover with a lid, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Place the vegetables onto baking trays lined with baking parchment. Lightly oil the vegetables with olive oil.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
Ladle some of the lentil tomato sauce onto the bottom of a casserole dish and spread it around.
Place the vegetables in layers over the bottom of the dish.
Cover the vegetables with the remaining lentil tomato sauce.
Cover the lentil tomato layer with the bechamel, using a spatula to smooth it out so it's nice and even.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and let the moussaka rest for 20 minutes before cutting.
– A 9×13-inch casserole dish is perfect for making vegetarian moussaka.
– You can use reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk for your bechamel, but whole milk gives a richer texture and better flavor.