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This is a vegetarian comfort food dish at its very best! A simple Veggie Moussaka layered with aubergine, potato, courgette and red lentils as an alternative to the classic meaty dish (you won’t miss the meat in this if you’re a meat-eater either).

Add in the creamy, cheesy topping and rich tomato sauce, and you’ve got a perfect midweek vegetarian family meal that everyone will love. Even better, this is one of those make-ahead classics for ultra convenience if you need it!

Vegetable Moussaka bake recipe in a white dish with spoon.

You know I like to try and keep as many of my recipes super quick in response to our crazy, busy lives, however this Vegetarian Moussaka recipe takes a little longer (it should take about 90 minutes).

BUT please do bear in mind that a lot of that time is hands-off cooking time and the extra steps are so worth it. Because this recipe freezes so well too, make sure you add it to your batch cooks or make two at a time, then the next time you dish it up, the extra time in the first place will have been very much worth it!

I have simplified this recipe a little here though. (Shhh… the secret is in the sauce.) Usually moussaka would be made with a béchamel sauce, but I’ve made a little twist on the traditional Vegetable Moussaka, and whipped up a simplified ricotta topping.

It’s still creamy and oh-so-delicious, but it’s just easier and it cooks in the oven with the rest of the dish.


Why you’ll love this recipe

⭐️ Packed full of veg and hearty ingredients

⭐️ Simple to make and ideal to make ahead

⭐️ SO delicious and satisfying


Vegetarian Moussaka sprinkled with herbs with lentil ragu and aubergines and ricotta topping.

What is Vegetarian Moussaka?

Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish that is layered a little like lasagne, but instead of pasta it’s made up of slices of potatoes and aubergine with a minced meat (usually beef or lamb), and is topped with a white sauce. 

Vegetable Moussaka, on other hand, is made instead with extra veggies and lentils in the tomato sauce, which replaces the meat. As always, I’m keeping those all-important flavours in, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, while creating a simplified, budget-friendly version.

In traditional Greek recipes the aubergine would be fried on a griddle, but I’ve chosen to oven bake it as it’s much simpler and the aubergine absorbs less oil, so it makes for a healthier dish. I am also only adding one layer of each element of the dish, rather than trying to layer up multiple times.

If you’re looking for some other hearty, family vegetarian dinners along the same lines, you MUST try my Slow Cooker Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne, my Cheesy Vegetarian Pie or my Veggie Enchiladas too!

Ingredients for Veggie Moussaka

  • Olive oil
  • Onion – I like to use pre-chopped frozen where possible as it saves time, but fresh is fine too
  • Garlic – Cheat garlic in a jar or tube is OK, as is fresh. Your decision.
  • Courgettes
  • Aubergines – I’ve used fresh but you can get frozen aubergines. If you use this, simply defrost and then add straight to the mixture to cook in the oven instead.
  • Potatoes – White potatoes for this
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Red lentils – See ‘substitutions’ below
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

For the topping:

  • Ricotta
  • Eggs – I use medium free-range
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Nutmeg – Freshly grated
  • Grated cheddar

How to make Vegetarian Moussaka: Step by step

Courgette pieces frying with onions and garlic in a saucepan. Step 1 in the recipe for Vegetarian Moussaka.

1. Fry the chopped onions and garlic until soft. Add courgettes, salt and pepper, then oregano.

Lentil ragu mixture in a saucepan. How to make Vegetarian Moussaka, step 2.

2. Add chopped tomatoes, water, honey, cinnamon and lentils. Stir well and simmer for about 30 minutes. (Add water if it gets too thick.)

Slices of aubergine on a baking tray sprayed with oil. How to make Vegetarian Moussaka, step 3.

3. Place sliced aubergine on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes at 180C. Boil your potatoes for about 15 minutes.

Aubergine slices on top of lentil rags in a white casserole dish. How to make Vegetarian Moussaka, step 4.

4. Put your tomato sauce in an oven dish and layer the cooked aubergine on top.

Slices of potatoes cooked, on top of aubergine and lentil ragu ready for cheese ricotta topping. How to make Vegetarian Moussaka, step 5.

5. Layer the potatoes over the aubergine. Make the cheese topping: Combine the ricotta, eggs and grated fresh nutmeg in a bowl and gently whisk.

Cheese topped potatoes in a casserole dish. How to make Vegetarian Moussaka, step 6.

2. Pour the cheese topping mixture over your potatoes, ensuring everything is covered. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and cook in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling!

Hint: After cooking in the pan with the tomatoes, check that the lentils are soft and tender, not grainy. If not, cook for a couple more minutes.


Substitutions

  • Lentils – To reduce cooking time you could use ready-cooked tinned green lentils, however I must say the texture of this is much nicer with the red.
  • Potatoes – Potatoes aren’t ALWAYS used in a moussaka recipe but I love them (generally and also in this recipe). They soak up the yummy tomato sauce, and make the whole dish more stable. If you’d prefer to leave them out, you can. Perhaps add more aubergine slices?

How to store and reheat Vegetarian Moussaka

This is the perfect dish for batch cooking. Simply double the recipe and make two – one to eat now and one to freeze.

For best results assemble the moussaka and then freeze before cooking, either as a whole or in individual portions. The leftovers also freeze well too!

You can make the tomato vegetable sauce and keep it in the fridge for up to two days before cooking. You can also assemble the moussaka and store this in the fridge 48 hours before you cook it.

Top tips

What to use

Believe me when I say a good quality peeler like this one is such an invaluable piece of kitchen kit. A swivel blade has actually made potato peeling a pleasurable experience!

A fairly deep, but sturdy rectangular dish works well for this recipe. I like this Oven Safe Serving Dish on Amazon, which is also a total bargain price.

Aubergine Moussaka FAQs

What should I serve with Veggie Moussaka?

This is really a whole dish on its own, so you don’t need to make anything else to go with it.

However, if you want to make it go further or simply want a side dish to complement it, you could try my Easy Greek Salad, roasted vegetables, crusty bread or Homemade Chips.

Is this gluten free?

Yes, this is a naturally gluten free recipe. We’re using fresh produce here, so you should be fine, but if you do swap any ingredients for any processed additions, please always check the label carefully if you need gluten-free.

Can you freeze Veggie Moussaka?

Yes! When I make moussaka, I always make two – one to eat that day and the other to assemble and freeze ready to defrost another day.

You can also freeze the leftovers portioned up into takeaway containers like these from Amazon. (I wash and reuse them but they are much cheaper than buying hundreds of thick Tupperware containers.)

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

4.88 from 54 votes

Vegetarian Moussaka

This simple Vegetarian Moussaka is made with aubergines, potatoes and courgettes, topped with a creamy cheese sauce. It's a delicious family-friendly recipe that makes a great midweek meal, and is also perfect to batch cook and freeze for later.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Onion , Chopped.
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped.
  • 2 Courgettes, Sliced.
  • 2 Large aubergine
  • 750 g Potatoes
  • 2x 400g Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, To taste.
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 100 g Red Lentils (dried)
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 250 g Ricotta
  • 2 Eggs, Whisked.
  • 100 g Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly grated nutmeg, Approx.
  • 100 g Cheddar, Grated.

Instructions 

  • Preheat your oven to 180C (fan). 
  • Finely chop the onions and garlic. Slice the courgettes. 
  • Slice the aubergine into 2cm thick slices. 
  • Peel and chop the potatoes also to 2cm thick slices. 
  • Next, fry the onion and garlic in some of the olive oil for around 5 minutes until the onion has started to brown. 
  • Add the courgettes, salt and pepper to taste, oregano, honey and cinnamon, and cook for a further 3 minutes. 
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and lentils. Half fill one of your empty tomato tins with water and pour that in too. Stir to combine and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  • While this is cooking away, arrange your slices of aubergine on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. 
  • Boil your potatoes for about 15 minutes. 
  • Spread the tomato mixture on the bottom of a dish, then layer slices of aubergine on top, followed by the potato.
  • Combine the ricotta, eggs, Greek yoghurt and nutmeg in bowl, then pour over the top, ensuring everything is covered. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top evenly.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the moussaka is golden brown and bubbling. 

Notes

Frozen veggies: I often use frozen onion and garlic, it is so handy! If you use frozen aubergines, defrost and then add to the mixture to cook in the oven. 
Lentils: After cooking in the pan with the tomatoes check that the the lentils are soft and tender, not grainy. If not, cook for a couple more minutes. 
Batch cook: This is the perfect dish for batch cooking – simply double the recipe and make two (one to eat now and one to freeze). For best results, assemble the moussaka and then freeze before cooking, either as a whole or in individual portions. The leftovers also freeze well too!

Nutrition

Calories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 22gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 190mgPotassium: 1331mgFiber: 14gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 632IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 305mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food
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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe and very enjoyable vegetarian moussaka.
    Made two and gave my vegetarian daughter one who says it was absolutely delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    Vegetarian mousakka sounds delicious. Will make it next week. Just looking for the butternut squash curry recipe so will continue browsing…

  3. 5 stars
    Never cooked moussaka before, this was so good. Worth every minute it took to make it. Plus leftovers the next day were even better.