Moussaka has to be the most quintessential of all the Greek dishes. It’s what we remember from our holidays and of course, food is just packed with memories. This easy vegetarian moussaka recipe is a lighter version of this classic dish and one that I truly love and make time and again.
The new year means January and that means pretty cold and miserable weather here in Scotland. After all the fuss and hoopla of Christmas the dark nights and cold weather can suddenly seem a tad overwhelming.
One thing is called for it this situation – comfort food and if you can make it healthy comfort food then all the better. This easy vegetarian moussaka definitely ticks both boxes and gets my vote for good eats for January.
Food makes memories but I’m ashamed to admit that my very best memories of moussaka are having it served with chips (fries) and a Greek salad at a beach-side taverna in Corfu many years ago when I worked there as a holiday rep.
Ashamed, in that all you health food freaks out there will be wincing at the mere thought of eating chips with anything, far less something already loaded with carbs in the first place.
But in reality, am I remotely ashamed? Hell no, it was great moussaka and those were fabulous days – aaah to dream. Youth, sunshine, Greek islands, great friends and way too much booze, what was there not to like, oh and the food was good too…..
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Moussaka is the Greek version of our own Shepherd’s pie. Simple, filling comfort food meant to feed a family.
In a traditional Greek Moussaka recipe, layers of juicy lamb or beef mince are cooked in a tomato sauce, layered with aubergine slices (eggplants) and creamy béchamel sauce and baked all together until golden and sheer perfection.
How to make moussaka vegetarian
I love moussaka and usually make it with lamb mince in the traditional way.
But this time I thought I’d go meat free with this easy vegetable moussaka. I’ve made this meat free moussaka by replacing the usual lamb mince with a delicious mixture of mushrooms, lentils and chickpeas.
These gave great flavour and texture to my vegetarian moussaka recipe.
A lighter moussaka
This veggie moussaka recipe is lighter due to not going for the traditional bechamel sauce used in moussaka.
Instead, I have opted for a Greek yogurt topping. This is lighter but just as tasty. This lighter vegetarian moussaka really does tick all the boxes for a really healthy moussaka recipe.
Of course moussaka needs to have those fabulous Greek flavours. And my easy vegetarian moussaka is no exception.
I still packed in those all-important flavours in my veggie moussaka recipe. There is garlic, thyme and oregano, and the grating of nutmeg in the creamy cheese and yogurt sauce just makes it so luxurious and tasty.
So even if you are a confirmed carnivore (and my daughter Idgy is just that) give this easy vegetarian moussaka a go, I’m sure you’ll love my meat-free moussaka just as much as we do.
Can you make this ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this meat-free moussaka up to a day in advance and then just pop it in the oven. Great if you are having friends round for supper.
How long will veggie moussaka keep?
This vegetable moussaka recipe will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Remember if you are reheating leftovers they must be piping hot.
Can you freeze this vegetarian moussaka?
Yes, cover the moussaka well in foil and place in a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost your vegetarian moussaka thoroughly before reheating in the oven till piping hot.
How to serve moussaka
Whether it’s a vegetarian moussaka like this one or a traditional moussaka a Greek salad is always the perfect accompaniment. Check out my recipe for a simple Greek Salad.
How many does this vegetarian moussaka serve?
This recipe is for 4 servings, or two VERY substantial servings, just how hungry are you? Want more meat-free moussaka? Then Just double up the recipe to make more.
What size of dish to use?
I’ve used a ceramic baking dish that measures 28 x 19 x 6cm
As this easy-to-follow Greek vegetarian moussaka recipe never fails to impress you may well want to make more. It’s such a crowd-pleaser!
Looking for more gorgeous Greek comfort food ideas? Then check these out before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Easy Vegetarian Moussaka
- 1 aubergine
- 300 ml vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 65 g green lentils
- 112 g mushrooms sliced
- 200 g canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 200 g canned chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra parmesan and a little dried oregano to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/G4
- Slice the aubergine into rounds approximately 0.5cm/1/4″ wide and layer in a colander with salt for 30 mins, then rinse and pat dry.
- Bring the lentils in the vegetable stock along with the bay leaf to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes and then drain them.
- Saute the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of the olive oil for 5 minutes.
- Add the drained lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, oregano, thyme and water – bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Season the veggie mix with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Fry the aubergine slilces in the remaining tablespoon of oil for 5 minutes, flipping after 3 minutes.
- In an oven proof dish layer the aubergine slices with the vegetable mixture.
- Make the creamy topping by beating together the egg, parmesan cheese, yogur and nutmeg. Season to taste.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese and a lilttle oregano.
- Spoon the creamy topping over the mousaka and pop the dish into the oven for 45 minutes or until golden on top.