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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Moussaka

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Delicious vegan moussaka is a rich casserole with caramelized eggplant and a tomato-based lentil filling smothered in vegan béchamel, then baked until hot and bubbly! It’s Greek-inspired comfort food, minus all the dairy!

Easy vegan moussaka in a baking dish, with a slice cut out and placed on a plate.

In this easy vegan moussaka recipe, I swapped the meat for lentils and the cheese sauce for a vegan version. It’s fragrant, decadent, and most importantly, cheesy! Lentils are one of my favorite plant-based substitutes for ground beef. They add hearty texture and feel-good nutrients like fiber, folate, and potassium!

Latest Recipe Video!

While vegan eggplant moussaka takes more time than your classic dump-and-go casserole, it’s worth all the effort! All the steps are simple, there’s just a few different components to tackle. I will walk you through it with step-by-step photos and instructions.

✔️ What Is Moussaka?

A traditional moussaka recipe is a layered casserole with thinly sliced eggplant, meat sauce (typically beef or lamb mince), a layer of potato (sometimes), and béchamel sauce. It’s a popular dish in Greek cuisine, well-loved for its aromatic filling and creamy cheese sauce.

My eggplant moussaka recipe keeps all of the flavors and textures of the traditional recipe, but is vegan friendly and healthier too! We still use layers of eggplant, but the bechamel sauce is vegan friendly, as is the “meat” filling.

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Perfect for special occasions or busy weeknights
  • Creamy vegan béchamel sauce
  • Ultimate comfort food
  • Great recipe for feeding a crowd
  • No weird, hard-to-find ingredients
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Best vegan moussaka recipe ever!

🥘 Ingredients

This veggie moussaka recipe requires simple ingredients found at your local grocery store.

Ingredients for vegan moussaka recipe on a white background.
  • Oil: I like to use extra virgin olive oil to sauté the onion & garlic. It’s heart healthy with a robust flavor. For the white sauce, I prefer a neutral flavored oil like vegetable or canola oil. Vegan butter works great too.
  • Aromatics: Onion & garlic create a depth of flavor in sauces, soups, and stews. Any type of onion can be used in this vegan lentil moussaka.
  • Tomato Paste: Doubles as a thickening agent and flavor booster. Tomato paste is just concentrated tomato purée & adds natural sweetness to the filling.
  • Brown Lentils: This meatless moussaka recipes calls for lentils in place of ground meat. Canned lentils are already cooked and ready to go. Avoid red lentils since they break down readily and turn mushy, and black lentils won’t be creamy enough. Vegan ground beef can also be used.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes for natural sweetness & acidity! Canned tomatoes are a must for soups, stews, and sauces. I stock up when they go on sale, so I always have them in my pantry.
  • Vegan Beef Stock: This ingredient adds that “meaty flavor” to this vegan version of moussaka. You can find this item at any well-stocked grocery store. If you can’t find it, vegetable stock works great too.
  • Spices: Oregano, cinnamon, sugar, and bay leaf spice up the filling. Don’t forget to season with salt & black pepper!
  • All-Purpose Flour: Flour acts as a thickening agent for the vegan cheese sauce.
  • Soy Milk: Soy milk has a neutral flavor that doesn’t overpower the vegan parmesan. If you can’t have soy, substitute with another neutral plant-based milk like almond milk.
  • Vegan Parmesan Cheese: Use your favorite brand!

📖 Variations

  • Make It Gluten Free: You might be wondering is moussaka gluten free? Traditionally, no it’s not, because of the all purpose flour. But it’s super easy to make this moussaka veggie recipe gluten free. Just swap the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, and the vegan beef stock with gluten free vegetable stock.
  • Add Potatoes: Layer thinly sliced potatoes (or sweet potato!) beneath the first layer of sliced eggplant. Bake as directed.
  • More Protein: Add crumbled plant protein (like Beyond Meat) into the lentil mixture.
  • Vegan Shepherd’s Pie: Swap the bechamel sauce for a layer of mashed potatoes and bake!

🔪 How To Make Vegan Moussaka

Vegan aubergine moussaka does have a lot of steps, but it’s actually relatively easy to make! Here’s how you do it.

Prep, Slice Eggplant, Salt Eggplant: Start by prepping your dairy free moussaka ingredients. Slice the aubergine lengthwise. Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes while you make the lentil filling.

Sliced eggplant on a cutting board.

Sauté Aromatics: Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then a little bit of olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Onions and tomato paste sauteeing in a pan.

Simmer Cooked Lentils: Add the remaining ingredients for the filling over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully taste the mixture (it’s hot!) and season to taste.

Lentil ragu cooking in a stock pot on the stove.

Start Vegan Béchamel: While the filling simmers, make the béchamel by heating the oil in a large saucepan and whisking in the flour. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t burn.

Vegan bechamel sauce cooking in a pot.

Add Soy Milk And Vegan Parmesan: Gradually whisk in the soy milk until the mixture is smooth. Don’t dump all the soy milk in at once, or it will get lumpy. Cook over medium heat while whisking until thick. Add the nutmeg, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth.

Vegan bechamel sauce cooking in a pot.

Cook Eggplant: Use a paper towel to dry the aubergine slices. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with oil and pan-fry the thick slices on both sides until golden brown. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eggplant slices grilled on a grill pan.

Start Assembling: Add half of the eggplant slices in a single layer in the bottom of a baking dish to get this Greek vegetarian moussaka recipe started.

Grilled eggplant layered in a baking dish.

Add Filling: Spread the lentil ragu evenly over the eggplant.

Vegan lentil ragu added to vegetarian moussaka recipe in a baking dish.

Layer Eggplant: Then add another layer of eggplant slices.

Eggplant slices layered in a baking dish.

Add Béchamel Sauce: Pour the creamy béchamel sauce over top of the eggplant, then sprinkle with remaining parmesan.

Vegan bechamel added to vegan Greek moussaka in a baking dish.

Bake: Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Baked meatless moussaka in a baking dish, fresh out of the oven.

Serve: Let the baked moussaka cool for 20 minutes before diving in!

Baked vegan moussaka in a baking dish, fresh out of the oven.

❓Recipe FAQs

Is moussaka vegan?

No, a traditional recipe for Greek moussaka is not vegan. It’s made with meat sauce and a béchamel cheese sauce, both of which contain animal products.

Does moussaka contain potato?

This middle eastern dish is traditionally made with sliced & fried eggplant, a seasoned tomato-based meat sauce, and a creamy béchamel sauce. There are multiple regional variations, some of which contain layers of potato or zucchini slices. You can easily add a potato layer to this lightened up moussaka if you would like (see the variations section earlier in this post!)

How should I store vegan greek moussaka? Can You freeze moussaka?

Moussaka can be frozen in a freezer safe, airtight container, and kept for up to 3 months. Thaw the moussaka overnight in the refrigerator, then cover with aluminum foil and reheat in a 350 degree oven until hot throughout.
Refrigerator Storage: Store leftover moussaka in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or the oven until warmed through.

How many calories are in vegan moussaka with lentils?

One serving of this moussaka has 264 calories, with 18 grams of fat and 6 grams of fiber.

What should I serve with plant based moussaka?

Moussaka is a filling dish on its own, but sides are always delicious! Try lemon roasted potatoes, cucumber salad, mixed greens salad, or vegan buttered toast. Add a glass of red wine for an elegant dinner!

💭 Expert Tips

  • Don’t Forget To Salt The Eggplant! Salting the eggplant before you cook it removes some of the excess liquid which makes them caramelize better. It also removes any bitterness from the eggplant.
  • It’s important to let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes. It intensifies the flavors and more importantly thickens the sauce so it’s not watery.
  • Don’t Skip Cooling The Moussaka: Let this Greek eggplant lasagna cool before you cut into it. It allows the béchamel to cool and set up, so it’s not too liquidy.
Slice of vegan moussaka on a white plate.

🍆 More Veggie & Eggplant Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

Slice of vegan moussaka on a white plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 7 votes

Vegan Moussaka With Greek Flavors

Vegan moussaka is a rich casserole with sliced eggplant and a hearty tomato-based lentil filling smothered in vegan bechamel, then baked until hot and bubbly! It's Greek-inspired comfort food, minus all the dairy!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 40 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Main Course, mains
Cuisine: Greek, Vegan
Diet: Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 264kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Eggplant

  • 3 large eggplant (aubergine)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup oil

Filling

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 15oz cans brown lentils washed & drained
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup vegan beef stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Bechamel Sauce

  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • cups unsweetened soy milk
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Slice the eggplant lengthwise.
  • Sprinkle with salt on both sides and leave for 30 minutes while preparing the filling.
  • Prepare the filling by heating a large pot and sautéing the onion and garlic in the oil until softened.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • While the filling is cooking prepare the bechamel sauce by heating the oil in a pot and whisking through the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Slowly whisk the soy milk in stages, into the flour mixture until all incorporated and smooth.
  • Cook over medium heat while whisking until thickened.
  • Add the nutmeg, ½ cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, whisking until smooth.
  • Pat dry the ​​aubergine slices with a paper towel.
  • Heat a skillet with oil and cook aubergine slices until golden on both sides.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C.
  • To Assemble: Layer ½ of the aubergine slices over the base of a 15 inch x 10 inch baking dish.
  • Top with the filling and add another layer of eggplant.
  • Pour the bechamel sauce over top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes.
  • Once cooked remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into 10 pieces and serving.

Video

https://youtu.be/2dcUetbzFUY

Notes

  • Salting the eggplant before cooking helps to remove any bitterness.
  • Allow the filling to simmer and reduce down, thickening the sauce to ensure the moussaka isn’t watery.
  • Moussaka can be frozen and kept for up to 3 months.
  • Cooked moussaka can be kept in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.
  • Allowing the moussaka to cool slightly before cutting helps the bechamel sauce to not be too watery.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1037mg | Potassium: 562mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g

Posted In…

Vegetarian Mediterranean Recipes ·

These vegetarian Mediterranean recipes are bursting with flavor and fragrant herbs! Best of all, they’re simple to put together and can add a tasty spin to familiar dishes.

Try my Spanish vegetarian paella, falafel wraps, or bright and colorful keto-friendly Greek salad!

For a quick dinner, you can’t go wrong with this  Mediterranean veggie sandwich paired with this feta lentil salad and hearty garbanzo bean soup.

8 responses to “Vegan Moussaka”

  1. This dish was amazing! The flavors were so rich and the textures were spot on. I was really blown away by how delicious it was. I will definitely be making this again.5 stars

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