Vegetarian Moussaka

Tastyart Ltd Rob White / Getty Images
Prep: 75 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
823 Calories
35g Fat
100g Carbs
32g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 823
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 16g 79%
Cholesterol 216mg 72%
Sodium 1034mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 100g 36%
Dietary Fiber 15g 53%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 37mg 184%
Calcium 468mg 36%
Iron 7mg 36%
Potassium 1638mg 35%
*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, lacto-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 entrée 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:

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, 2 to 3 eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices

  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes

  • 4 egg whites, reserving the yolks for béchamel

  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and mashed

  • 1 (15-ounce) 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, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups milk, warmed

  • 4 large egg yolks, beaten

  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

For Assembly:

  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

  • 3/4 cup grated Kefalotyri, or Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

Prep the Vegetables

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Crack 4 eggs and separate the yolk, retaining them for the béchamel. Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat them lightly with a fork or whisk. Spread the breadcrumbs on a flat plate.

  6. Rinse the eggplant and zucchini slices and blot excess moisture with paper towels. Set the zucchini aside with the potatoes.

  7. 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.

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

Make the Tomato Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

  3. 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. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

Assemble the Moussaka

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.