A perfect option for your meatless meals, this super filling, delicious and nutritious vegetarian moussaka is guaranteed to please even those who think they’re not big fans of eggplant!
Although this Vegetarian Moussaka probably has very little to do with the authentic Greek dish — well, apart from the fact that it’s made with layers of sliced eggplants that is — I think that it still deserves to be called Moussaka! The way I see it, it’s a super healthy and tasty vegetarian version of an already crazy delicious classic.
Honestly, I don’t think that the “real deal” has anything on this veggie version. The addition of chickpeas and lentils bring so much texture to the tomato sauce, while the thin eggplant slices practically melt in your mouth. As for the cheesy topping, it just adds the perfect amount of tangy saltiness and brings the whole experience to a whole new level.
Honestly, this vegetarian moussaka is so good, I think that it would convert just about any eggplant non-lover out there, and turn them into total believers!
First, preheat your oven to 400°F. Then, brush a large 18″ x 26″ baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil and then arrange the eggplant slices on it.
Try and arrange them on a single layer, but if you have a few too many, you can sort of pile them up on top. Just be sure to slice them real thinly, those aubergines. No thicker than a half inch!
Brush the tops of the slices with more olive oil, then sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper.
Bake the sliced eggplants in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the slices once halfway through cooking, until softened and slightly golden.
Remove the sheet from the oven and let the eggplant slices cool until ready to use.
Oh, and once the eggplant is out of the oven, lower the temperature to 350°F
While the eggplant is in the oven, place the cooked chickpeas and lentils in the bowl of your food processor and process on pulse until they reach a coarse grain consistency. Set that aside for now.
Of course, this implies that you will have previously cooked your chickpeas and lentils. If you didn’t care to do that, you could always use canned; just be sure that you rinse and drain them well before using!
Now heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) in a large saute pan set over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
Throw in the canned tomatoes (both crushed and diced), chickpeas and lentils, salted herbs, parsley, oregano, coriander, black pepper and fennel seeds.
About the salted herbs, if you didn’t have any on hand, just replace them with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. This will do the trick!
Stir well, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Then, stir in the baby spinach leaves and cook until they are just wilted.
Remove the pan from the heat source; You are now ready to start assembling your moussaka!
Note that this sauce would make for a superb vegetarian spaghetti sauce. I bet it would be glorious served over a plate of oven baked spaghetti squash, for a gluten free option!
To assemble the moussaka, start by spreading a thin layer of the sauce at the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ lasagna dish, then arrange a layer of the cooked eggplant slices over it.
Cover with more sauce, followed by another layer of eggplant slices.
Don’t go too thick with the sauce, use just enough to completely cover the eggplants.
Repeat one more time with one layer of sauce, one layer of eggplants…
Then finally, cover your last layer of eggplant with a thin layer of tomato sauce.
Now for that delicious cheese topping… In your food processor or blender, combine the Greek yogurt, ricotta and feta cheeses, milk, eggs and ground white pepper.
Process on high until well blended then pour this mixture over that final layer of tomato sauce.
Sprinkle the top with the grated cheddar cheese and bake your moussaka in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Finally, take your moussaka out of the oven, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then hit it with a little bit of chopped parsley, if desired.
Slice your moussaka with a sharp knife and serve without further delay!
- 2-3 small-medium eggplants, sliced thinly lengthwise
- 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, or canned, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils, or canned, rinsed and drained
- 1- 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1- 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp salted herbs*
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
For the cheesy topping
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Brush a large 18″ x 26″ baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil and then arrange the eggplant slices on it.
- Brush the tops of the slices with more olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping the slices once halfway through cooking, until the eggplant is softened and slightly golden. Remove and let cool until ready to use. Once eggplant is out of the oven, lower temperature to 350°F
- While the eggplant is in the oven, place the cooked chickpeas and lentils in the bowl of your food processor and process on pulse until they reach a coarse grain consistency. Set aside.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
- Add the canned tomatoes (crushed and diced), chickpeas and lentils, salted herbs, parsley, oregano, coriander, black pepper and fennel seeds. Stir well, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Then, stir in spinach leaves and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat.
- Spread a thin layer of the sauce at the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, then arrange a layer of eggplant slices over it. Cover with more sauce, followed by another layer of eggplant slices. Repeat one more time then cover your final layer of eggplant with a thin layer of tomato sauce.
- In your food processor or blender, combine the Greek yogurt, ricotta and feta cheeses, milk, eggs and ground white pepper. Process on high until well blended then pour this mixture over the final layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the grated cheddar cheese and bake your moussaka in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- Take your moussaka out of the oven, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then hit it with a little bit of chopped parsley, if desired, and serve.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
You can also FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and TWITTER for more delicious, healthy recipes!
*Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April of 2012 and has since been completely revamped and updated with better pictures. A few minor modifications to the original recipe may also have been made.
41 Comments on “Vegetarian Moussaka”
This is so not what I was expecting when I got an email on my phone from The Healthy Foodie with the subject New Post! While I’m sure this is a lovely dish, it is also a cruel April Fool’s Day joke on me! Now where is that smoothie post??? 🙂
OMG, Joann, you are nuts!!! I laughed so hard when I saw your comment… was just about ready to hit the sack when it landed in my inbox… I must’ve laughed for a good 5 minutes straight.
Just for that, you’ll get your smoothie post tonight, promised! 😀
HAHA – glad I could make you laugh!! I think laughing is as good for you as eating healthy.
this looks so yummy! it looks so filling…and no meat!
Oh, filling it really is! And satisfying! 🙂
Thank you, Jess!
Beautiful photos as usual Sonia and this really sounds delicious! So cheesy and hearty! Love it!
Thanks Mellissa! Really super nice of you to say! 🙂
Look so good!
Thank you Tender! Good to see you, as always! 🙂
Ooooh I haven’t had moussaka for donkeys years! I’m not a veggie, but I don’t eat ground meat so this is perfect for me. Have saved for another day, thanks.
BTW You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.
Thanks Debs, and thanks for the invite. Will definitely check it out! 🙂
Well, the Moussaka was fantastic! It pretty much looked just like your “finished” pictures, and it tasted great! As a side note, I did NOT peel the eggplant (why dispose of all that fiber??), and I substituted black beans for the lentils. The addition of feta cheese to the top gave a slightly tangy flavor to the dish. I was so happy with it, I actually posted a pic of the just-baked casserole, along with a link to the recipe, on my FB page. I am “retraining” my diabetic partner on how to eat right, and he loved this dish. He is definitely a convert to the idea that good eating doesn’t have to be boring! Thanks for helping me in the cause… I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes!
OH YAY! Soooooo happy to hear. Wow. This is all music to my ear! I would LOOOVE to see that picture too! Is it viewable on your fb page?
Thank you so much for your great feedback Bonnie, I really, sincerely appreciate your taking the time to do that! You’re simply awesome! =D
My husband found an eggplant when he escaped to Yellowknife in the weekend so we are cooking this tonight – looking forward to it! Will try to avoid it going watery as people have mentioned, but no harm in serving it with fresh sourdough ciabatta to soak it up :)Any chance you have nutritional information for it handy?
Totally agree with you Christina! Nothing like a good piece of bread to take care of extra yummy liquid…
Hope the moussaka turns out! Let me know how you like it. Oh, now you got me wanting a piece so bad. I can almost taste it!
Oh, and I added the nutritional information for you! 🙂
It was perfect! We loved this one. Only a little extra liquid which was great with the rye sourdough. Ours served 8 – 10, 4 large pieces tonight with at least 4 left over (can’t wait to have it for lunch again tomorrow). So that would change nutrition info too of course. Thanks for that though! We used lots of fresh parsley throughout and added olives within and feta on top. Wonderful with all those beans (I used black beans, white beans and chickpeas). Thanks once again for a great recipe!
Your pictures are mouthwatering!!!
Thank you! 🙂
I live in Sydney, Australia. My vegetarian son is arriving home this week after living overseas for a few years. I was looking for a great vegetarian dish to make for a family dinner. Your Moussaka looks wonderful! Instead of the chick peas and lentils, I shall use lots of grated vegetables (mushrooms, carrots and zuccini) plus red lentils (which will dissolve after a short while of simmering in the sauce). I love the look of your healthy low fat topping (I shall use low fat cottage cheese)and adding some low fat Fetta I’m sure will be delicious.
Sounds lovely Judith! Let me know how it turns out! 🙂
Absolutely love Moussaka. In the midwest, even if one found it, not vegetarian! Awesome looking dish – I am tempted to make it ASAP. Pray tell me, 3720mgs of sodium in one serving is a typo?!!
Yikes! My mistake! Thanks for catching that, Neeta. I made the correction. Much better now…
Hi, was looking for a veggie dish for family that are visiting – this looks (almost) perfect! They dont eat eggs:( Any idea what could make a good substitute for the 3 eggs? Can I just add a whole bunch more cheese?
Really not a cook – so at a loss…
I figure you could simply leave them out, Carey. The dish wouldn’t come out exactly the same, but it would be very good, still!
Maybe this is too late for you to see it, but have you tried it with Just Egg Carey? It’s a great product that is fairly new to the table. You can even use it to make quiche!
I used marscapone because I didn’t have any ricotta on hand and it still came out delicious. Everyone in my family loved it. Had left over sauce because I did not want it to overflow. The sauce on it’s own is exceptional. My daughter had it with spaghetti and loved it. Definitely a keeper recipe and I like having extra sauce for another meal.
Really happy to hear, Ria. And thanks much for the awesome feedback; I really appreciate your taking the time to share your impressions and experience! 🙂
I made this last night for my family and it was a great success! I forgot to blend the chickpeas and lentils before adding them to the tomato sauce so ended up blending up the whole tomato sauce together. It came to a consistency very similar to bolognese. My family are big meat eaters and they where surprised to find out there was so meat in the dish. Thank you for the recipe I really enjoyed making it and eating it and will defiantly be making it again.
Glad you and your family enjoyed it, Molly! Thanks for the great feedback! 🙂
Very tasty and surprisingly easy to make.
My days!!! Cooked this for my girlfriend as this is her favourite meal and im now a god🤣she loved it and whenever someone mentions a good cooked meal she always says how amazing this dish is. Im a good cook but The recipe is so easy to make to anybody could do this. Think ill be cooking this recipe for the rest of my days🤣
Awwww, thank you so much Dean, this is music to my ears. You so totally made my day. 🙂
Ok so I thought that this might be a good vegan recipe. It looks nice. I used the authentic bechamel greek recipe and subbed put some roasted potatoes and eggplants. I will see what it tastes like soon ..looks good but if you are working fulltime like myself…this is a labor of love..I used Phoenicia greek seasoning. I had this last year in Greece.but wanted to try this version
Have yet to try..takes a looooooooog time to make
I am confused where does it mention soya beans or black beans? I was hoping to try this but between the wrong water amount and beans I think I will give it a miss. Sorry