Ready for the BEST vegetarian moussaka recipe?! Layers of roasted eggplant, potatoes, and zucchini with a tasty chunky tomato-lentil sauce nestled in, and topped with creamy bechamel sauce!
This roasted vegetable moussaka is easier to put together than you think. Be sure to check out my step-by-step tutorial and grab my make-ahead tips.
- 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 lb), partially peeled and sliced length-wise
- 3 Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise (1/2-inch in thickness)
- 2 large zucchini, sliced length-wise (1/2-inch in thickness)
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt, more if you like
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 cups 2% milk, warmed
- 2 large eggs
For Lentil Sauce:
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ¼ cup COOKED black lentils (from ½ cup uncooked black lentils. See notes)
- 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup broth or water
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch cinnamon
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Salt Eggplant. While oven is heating, spread eggplant slices on a large pan lined with paper towel and sprinkle with kosher salt set aside for 20 to 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels
- Make the Bechamel. While the eggplant is sitting, work on the bechamel sauce. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook until golden (if needed, added a little more olive oil). Gradually add the warmed milk, whisking continuously. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk a small amount of the hot bechamel mixture with the 2 eggs. Then return all to the pan with the remaining bechamel mixture. Continue to stir or whisk the mixture bringing to a gentle boil for just 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken a little more (you should have a creamy, thick and smooth bechamel sauce).
- Make Lentil Sauce. In a cooking pot or large non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sautee onions and garlic for a brief 3 to 4 minutes till fragrant, tossing regularly. Stir in COOKED black lentils, crushed tomatoes and broth or water. Season with a dash of kosher salt, and add oregano, nutmeg and a small pinch of ground cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover only part-way. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or so.
- Bake Vegetables. While lentil sauce is simmering, bake the vegetables. Arrange the potatoes, zucchini and eggplant slices on lightly oiled baking sheets. Brush with extra virgin olive oil. Bake in heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes just until tender.
- Assemble Vegetarian Moussaka in a 9 x 13 baking dish. First, pour a bit of the lentil sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and spread. Layer the vegetables on top. Add the remainder of the lentil sauce. Finally, spread bechamel sauce on top, making sure to smooth it out well with the back of a spoon.
- Bake. Place moussaka casserole on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until top bechamel layer turns golden brown.(If needed, place under broiler and watch very carefully till top turns a nice golden brown.)
- Remove from heat and let sit for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Cut into 12 squares. Enjoy!
- Cook's Tip 1: Do not skip salting the eggplant. This step helps season the eggplant, while allowing it to sweat out any bitterness. It also helps relax it's spongy texture.
- Cook's Tip #2: Once moussaka is baked, be sure to let it rest for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving. This allows the bechamel topping to settle so it's easier and less messy to serve.
- Prepare Ahead Tips: You can prepare each component of this recipe--bake the veggies, make the bechamel topping and the lentil sauce one night in advance. Store each in separate containers in the fridge and assemble when you are ready to bake. If you decide to make the bechamel in advance, you will need to warm it up in pot before you can pour it on the top of your moussaka. As it sits in the fridge, it will get very thick and slightly gelatinous. You may need to add an extra splash of milk to thin the sauce out and get it back to its pourable consistency.If you don’t want to worry about this, just make the bechamel right before you are going to assemble. That way it’s fresh and requires no extra steps.
- How to cook black lentils for this sauce? To cook the black lentils first before you add them to sauce, begin with 1/2 cup dry black lentils. Add 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are tender (about 20 to 25 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep the lentils submerged.) Drain.
- Leftovers? Store leftovers in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.
- Visit Our Online Shop to purchase black bluga lentils and browse all-natural and organic spices and extra virgin olive oils including Private Reserve Greek EVOO used in this recipe!
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Vegetarian
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Greek
Keywords: Vegetarian Moussaka, Vegetable Moussaka, Vegetarian Eggplant Moussaka