If you’re after a creamy, rich and flavour-packed dish that can feed lots of people, you can’t go past this vegan moussaka. A traditionally well-known Greek bake filled with potatoes, eggplant, a delicious mushroom and lentil ragu, topped with a creamy, smooth béchamel sauce.This is a great combination of complementary flavours that will have you going back for seconds and thirds. I know I always do!
You can make the layers ahead of time and bake it before you’re ready to serve.
It’s definitely not a dish that you can whip up last minute, but trust me, it’s worth every minute you spend in preparing it. I’ve created the recipe so that it flows from one thing to another seamlessly.
Kitchen tools needed to make this vegan moussaka
Considering that this is a four-layered dish, the kitchen tools needed for this bake are very minimal!
- Baking dish
- Baking sheet pan
- Unbleached parchment paper
- Pastry brush
- Small & large bowl
- Chef’s knife
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Small & medium saucepan
- Pouring jug
Tips for making this easy vegan moussaka with a creamy béchamel
Here are some useful tips to get you the best lentil moussaka you’ve ever tasted!
- You want the lentil and mushroom ragu to be quite dry before adding to the baking dish as you don’t want extra liquid in the bake. If there’s too much liquid, the sauce will result in a soggy bake. Then when you cut it, there’ll be no structure, and the liquid from the sauce will go all over the plate. Unlike a lasagna, there is no pasta to soak up the liquid.
- You can skip the red wine in this recipe if you like, however, I do recommend using it as it adds a vibrant and deep flavour to the ragu. If you’re concerned about the alcohol, don’t worry, it evaporates and will not be in the finished dish.
- You may notice that I didn’t salt the eggplant slices first and let them sit to have the moisture drawn out to remove any bitterness. This is because most of the modern eggplant that you’ll find in your local supermarkets will be sweeter, so there’s no need for soaking. If you know that the variety you purchase is the naturally bitter variety, you’ll need to salt them first, leave for 30 minutes, give them a rinse, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- You can certainly add more vegetables to the ragu if you wish. I decided to keep the flavours simple and as authentic as possible since the traditional ragu is typically just minced beef or lamb with canned tomatoes, spices, onion and garlic.
- Speaking of adding more vegetables, you can also add slices of zucchini instead of the second layer of eggplant or even sliced carrot.
How to layer this vegan moussaka with lentils
The layering in this moussaka is simple. Here are some photos to show you the steps.
A healthier alternative to traditional moussaka
I remember when I was younger, my mum used to make a vegetarian moussaka for us. It was battered eggplant layered with a soy mince ragu topped with an egg, sour cream mix. It was sublime!
However, I didn’t want to make it the same way as the battered eggplants are shallow fried, and as much as I love the taste of soy mince, it’s not the healthiest thing!
If you have some on hand, and you like using soy mince, simply swap it out for the lentils.
The other way that moussaka is made in Greece is by deep frying the eggplant first. This requires a lot of oil and can be pretty time-consuming. This can also make the dish quite greasy.
Popping it in the oven gives you the freedom to make the ragu and béchamel so that the flow of making this bake flows beautifully.
This vegan eggplant moussaka is:
- Melt in your mouth
- Easy to make, just time consuming
This recipe is something you can make a big batch of and freeze in portions for those days you need a quick meal.
I would thaw it for about 30 minutes out on the bench, then pop in the oven for around 30 minutes with aluminium foil covering the top.
This moussaka pairs perfectly with a fresh side salad of mixed greens.
Some other bake recipes you’ll love:
- Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna
- Vegan Lentil Loaf With a Maple-Balsamic Glaze
- Creamy Vegan Potato Gratin
- Easy Vegan Baked Ziti
- Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Bake (7 Ingredients)