This vegetarian moussaka is made using layers of baked eggplant and zucchini, a rich, flavourful mushroom-and-lentil filling mixture and creamy bechamel topping. It’s easy to make, low in fat and absolutely delicious!
Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and mist all over with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut both ends of the eggplants and slice the eggplants crosswise into approx. ¼‘’ (6mm) thick pieces.
Arrange on top of your baking sheet slightly overlapping one another (along with the sliced zucchini). Season well and mist with the cooking spray liberally (make sure the tops of the vegetables are thoroughly coated in the spray mixture).
Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the eggplant slices are soft and nicely browned on top. Remove from the oven and set aside until you are ready to assemble the moussaka. (Leave the oven on but lower the temperature to 375 F/ 200 C).
Prepare the filling
In a pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil, add the onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until softened stirring often.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, then add the lentils and cook for a minute.
Pour in the stock. Stir, cover and bring to the boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally (until the lentils are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed).
While the lentils are cooking prepare the mushrooms. In a large non-stick pan heat up 1 tablespoon of oil, add the mushrooms and cook over a fairly high heat for about 10 minutes until all the moisture has disappeared and the mushrooms are nicely browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
To the lentil mixture add the tomatoes, tomato puree, cinnamon, onion granules and mushrooms. Stir thoroughly and cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning.
Prepare the bechamel
In a saucepan melt the butter, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the milk whisking all the time so the sauce doesn’t become lumpy (reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the milk to add later if needed). Bring to the boil and cook for a minute or so.
Remove from the heat, whisk in the nutmeg and season to taste. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken further then add the rest of the milk if needed (the sauce should have the consistency of very thick cream).
Assemble the recipe
Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C/ gas mark 5. Mist the bottom of your moussaka dish (approx. 29 cm/11.5’’ long, 21 cm/8’’ wide, 5 cm/2’’ deep) with cooking spray and cover with a single layer of eggplant slices (NOT overlapping one other). Top with a single layer of zucchini slices. Scatter 2 tablespoons of the parmesan over the top.
Spoon the filling mixture over the top spreading out evenly and ensuring any gaps between the vegetables have been filled.
Arrange the remaining eggplant slices in a single layer over the top. Pour the bechamel over the top of the moussaka and scatter the rest of the parmesan.
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and set aside for 20-30 minutes before serving.
You do not need to ‘sweat’ the eggplants, but make sure you use them immediately as they will darken quickly (once cut).
You can brush the vegetables with oil before placing in the oven if you prefer (though using cooking spray is much quicker, more effective and involves less fat).
It is important to season each component of this recipe (both the eggplant and zucchini are quite bland). Taste the filling mixture as well as the bechamel and adjust the seasoning if needed before assembling the recipe.
When roasting the eggplant ensure it is quite tender and nicely browned on top before removing it from the oven.
For best results let the moussaka set before serving (if you wait 20-30 minutes the moussaka will cut better).
Freeze unbaked vegetarian moussaka (once the ingredients have cooled completely), covered, for up to 3 months.
Serve with potatoes, crusty bread, crispy salad or braised vegetables.
Make it vegan: use vegan spread, almond or oat milk and vegan mozzarella or another vegan cheese.