Vegan Moussaka

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.

Vegan moussaka in baking dish

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
  • Whisk
  • Pouring jug

Mushroom and lentil ragu in saucepan

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.

Vegan Moussaka lifting a piece out of the baking tray.

How to layer this vegan moussaka with lentils

The layering in this moussaka is simple. Here are some photos to show you the steps. 

  1. Potatoes
  2. Eggplant
  3. Ragu
  4. Eggplant
  5. Béchamel

the layering of the moussaka with potatoes and eggplant.

the layering of the moussaka with ragu and eggplant

the layering of the moussaka with the béchamel and finished dish.

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. 

A slice of Vegan Moussaka

This vegan eggplant moussaka is:

  • Nut-free
  • Soy-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Vegan
  • Delicious
  • Melt in your mouth
  • Creamy
  • Easy to make, just time consuming
  • Freezer-friendly

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.

Overhead shot of Vegan Moussaka

Some other bake recipes you’ll love:

  1. Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna
  2. Vegan Lentil Loaf With a Maple-Balsamic Glaze
  3. Creamy Vegan Potato Gratin
  4. Easy Vegan Baked Ziti
  5. Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Bake (7 Ingredients)

If you try this recipe, let me know! I would love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram, or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest

Vegan Moussaka

Vegan Moussaka

Yield: 9 serves
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Rest Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Serve this wonderful bake hot or cold and enjoy the authentic flavours of a moussaka. Layers of eggplants and potatoes with a mushroom and lentil ragu, topped with a creamy vegan béchamel make this a rich and creamy dish.

Ingredients

Vegetable layers:

  • 2 large (400g/14.11oz) potatoes, sliced to half an inch thick
  • 2 medium-sized (approx 650-700g/1.5lbs) eggplants, sliced to half an inch thick
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Mushroom and lentil ragu:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 250g (8.82oz) portabello or button mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cans of brown lentils, drained and rinsed*
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 can (400g/14.11oz) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup red wine (optional, however, adds depth of flavour)
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup*

Béchamel:

  • See the recipe card below for instructions.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (355F) and oil a large baking dish on the bottom and sides.
  2. In a large bowl, add the sliced potatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 sprig of thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and freshly cracked pepper. Toss to cover the potatoes well.
  3. Line the bottom of the baking dish with the potatoes, slightly overlapping them. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes bake, in that same large bowl toss the eggplant with the 4 tbsp of olive oil (alternatively you can brush olive oil onto each slice with a pastry brush to make sure they are all covered), 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 tsp salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  5. Half of the eggplant will be to layer over the potatoes, and the other half needs to be baked on a flat sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Once the potatoes are done, bake the eggplant (both layers, one over the potatoes and the other on a separate tray) for 40 minutes.
  6. While the vegetables continue to bake, prepare the ragu. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions. Saute until they start to turn a little translucent.
  7. Add in the garlic and saute for a further 1-2 minutes.
  8. Add in the cinnamon and nutmeg, giving it a good stir to release all the aromatics from the spices and then add in the tomato paste. Stir well.
  9. Put in the diced mushrooms and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and released their natural juices. If you're finding that the saucepan is a bit dry, add a splash of water to deglaze the pan.
  10. Add in the lentils and give it a good stir and then continue to add in the thyme, tomatoes (fill half the can with water and add it in), tamari, red wine and maple syrup.
  11. Let the ragu simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked out of the sauce. (See image of ragu for guidance.) Season with cracked pepper and salt if needed at the end.
  12. While the sauce simmers, you can make the béchamel using the recipe below.
  13. Once you have all the components ready, it's time to assemble. (See images above for guidance.) At this stage, you'll already have the first two layers in the baking dish. The potatoes and the first layer of eggplant will already be in place. Now add in the ragu and spread out nice and even. Top that with the second layer of eggplants and top it off with the béchamel.
  14. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then an extra 8-10 with the additional topping as mentioned in the béchamel recipe.
  15. Once it's done, let it sit out on the counter for around 45 minutes to 1 hour so that all the layers firm up and cool a little before you cut into it and serve.

Notes

* If you're using home-cooked lentils, use 3.5 cups worth.

* The maple syrup is added to help balance out the acidity in the canned tomatoes that have citric acid added to them. Start with 1 tbsp and taste. Adjust accordingly.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 714mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically. The accuracy of this information is not guaranteed.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @theminimalistvegan on Instagram and follow us to see the latest!

Traditional Vegan Béchamel Sauce

Traditional Vegan Béchamel Sauce

Yield: 3.5 cups
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This vegan béchamel sauce is the one to use when you’re after the closest thing to a traditional one. Add one magic ingredient and you obtain a crispy, cheesy topping to your oven-baked dishes.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (750ml) unsweetened oat milk
  • 1 bay leaf, torn in half
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp good-quality salt
  • 6 tbsp (55ml) olive oil
  • 5 level tbsp (43g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 4 tbsp water

Instructions

    1. Place oat milk, bay leaf, nutmeg, peppercorns and salt in a small pan, and heat on low-medium heat for 10 mins—this will allow the flavours to infuse into the milk. Take care not to boil.
    2. To make the roux, heat the olive oil on medium heat until warm. Add the flour and whisk. Keep whisking for around a minute, this will begin cooking the flour. 
    3. Strain the milk mixture into a pouring jug and add it to the roux GRADUALLY. This is around ¼- ½ cup every minute until the mixture is smooth before adding more milk and mixing again - repeat until you’ve used all the milk. 
    4. Keep cooking on medium heat and whisking until any lumps have gone and the sauce is thick—this will take 10 minutes.
    5. Add the nutritional yeast and whisk in. Take off heat.
    6. Taste and add a pinch more salt if needed.
    7. Your sauce is now ready to be layered in your lasagna, moussaka or other oven-baked dishes.

    For the topping:

    1. Reserve around 1/2 cup of the béchamel to create the crispy cheesy topping.
    2. While your dish is baking, mix together the tapioca starch and water until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the reserved béchamel until it is all well combined. 
    3. When you have 10 minutes of bake time left, remove the dish from the oven, pour on the béchamel & tapioca mix, and bake for around 8 minutes.
    4. Turn the oven off, move the dish to the top shelf, and grill until the top has browned to your liking.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @theminimalistvegan on Instagram and follow us to see the latest!

Interested in more?

Every Friday, we send a free newsletter to subscribers with our latest content. Enter your email below for fresh recipes and articles delivered straight to your inbox.

Note: we believe that your email inbox is a sacred place and promise to never misuse your information or send you spam.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.