Vegetarian Moussaka

Tastyart Ltd Rob White / Getty Images
Ratings (36)
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 75 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
931 Calories
42g Fat
105g Carbs
38g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 931
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 340mg 113%
Sodium 987mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 105g 38%
Dietary Fiber 17g 60%
Protein 38g
Calcium 491mg 38%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Moussaka (moo-sah-KAH) is perhaps the most widely recognized Greek dish. It is a layered casserole traditionally made with eggplant, cheese, meat sauce, and béchamel, a white sauce where warm milk is whisked into a butter-flour mixture.

This recipe was created by tinkering with the traditional ingredients to make a lighter, vegetarian moussaka recipe—mashed chickpeas replace the ground meat, offering a similar texture. This is not a recipe for a busy weeknight as it is still quite time-consuming, but when you have the time to devote to prepping the vegetables and baking the dish, it will make an excellent dinner entree for friends and family. You can make part of this dish ahead but stop before making the béchamel sauce and refrigerate. Cook the béchamel sauce right before you intend to bake the Moussaka.


  • For the Vegetables:
  • Cooking spray or oil for greasing baking sheet
  • 2 to 3 eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini (cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes
  • 4 eggs, separated (reserve yolks for béchamel)
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 (15 ounces) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and mashed
  • 1 (15 ounces) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Béchamel Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk (warmed)
  • 4 egg yolks (reserved from above), beaten
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • For Assembly:
  • Cooking spray or oil and breadcrumbs for bottom of pan
  • 3/4 cup grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

Prep the Vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

  2. Place the eggplant and zucchini slices in a colander and salt them liberally. Cover with an inverted plate weighted down by a heavy can or jar. Place the colander in the sink and let sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Peel the potatoes and boil them whole for about 10 minutes. They should not get too soft, just enough to be tender. Drain, cool, and cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.

  4. Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat lightly with a fork or whisk. Spread the breadcrumbs on a flat plate.

  5. Rinse the eggplant and zucchini slices and blot excess moisture with paper towels. Set the zucchini aside with the potatoes. Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg whites and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place breaded eggplant slices on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning them once during cooking.

  6. When eggplant is finished cooking, lower the oven temperature to 350 F.

Make the Tomato Sauce

  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Add mashed chickpeas to the pan with tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered so that excess liquid can be cooked out.

Make the Béchamel Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour to the melted butter, whisking continuously to make a smooth paste. Let the flour cook for 1 minute but do not allow it to brown.

  2. Add warmed milk to the mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.

  3. Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil. Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks and a pinch of nutmeg. Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens, being careful not to let it scorch.

Assemble the Moussaka

  1. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 x 3-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with breadcrumbs.

  2. Leaving a small space around the edges of the pan, cover the bottom with a layer of potatoes. Top with a layer of eggplant slices. Add the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant and sprinkle with grated cheese.

  3. Add zucchini slices next. Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with grated cheese.

  4. Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow the sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan. Smooth the béchamel on top with a knife and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese.

  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.