Vegetarian Moussaka Recipe

This truly luscious dish of thinly sliced aubergine and potato is native to the Middle East, the Balkans and Greece with many local variations. Often served with minced meat, a good moussaka can be eaten either warm or cold. In this recipe, we veganise moussaka to make an incredibly filling and tasty crowd pleaser. Greek version of moussaka features a bechamel sauce which can be made from potatoes for the vegan way. Instead, we prefer our potatoes layered with aubergines and served in a hearty tomato and lentil sauce. In Turkish version, aubergines are fried. Instead, we grill in the oven to keep it healthier.

 

Total Time: 1 h 50 m I Prep: 20 m I Cook: 1 h 30 m I Difficulty: Moderate

 

Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 medium aubergines (700 gr) cut into lengthways into 1cm wedges
  • 1 medium potato (250 gr) thinly sliced, preferably with a mandolin 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 

For the sauce

  • 3 medium tomatoes (600 gr) 
  • 2 Turkish hot chili peppers (50 gr) cut into thin slices 
  • 1 large onion (250gr) finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • good glug of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grape molasses (or 1 sugar) 
  • salt, pepper and lots of oregano

For the lentil mince

  • 100gr brown lentils washed well in a sieve
  • 25 gr walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • good pinch of cumin seeds
  • black peppercorns 

 

 

Method

 

  • Preheat the oven to 200C fan with grill. Brush aubergines with oil on both sides, season with salt and black pepper and lay on baking trays.  Roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown all over and soft.

  • Put all ingredients of the lentil mince in a deep saucepan. Fill with water and bring to boil. As lentils cook a white foam will form on top. This is from the saponins which prevent protein digestion resulting in stagnation and gas of the bowels. Scoop up and discard this foam as much as you can. Cook for about 20 mins 
  • While aubergines are in the oven and lentil is cooking, finely chop the onion and garlic. Grate the tomatoes in a bowl, discarding their skins.   
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and gently cook the onion in medium heat for 5 minutes until soft, then add garlic and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.  
  • Add grated tomatoes, peppers, spices and grape molasses. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. You should end up with a semi thick tomato sauce. 
  • By this time, lentils should be cooked. Drain and remove the garlic clove and bay leaf. Put in a food processor with walnuts and whizz a couple of times
  • Remove aubergines from the oven and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 180C
  • Add lentils to your tomato sauce and mix well. Taste and season if necessary. 
  • Now it is time to put everything together. Cover bottom of your baking dish with tomato sauce and layer up your aubergine and potatoes with good amount of sauce between every layer. For a nice crusty top layer, vegetarian readers could grate cheese (like feta) too.  
  • Place your baking tray in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes. Can be served with a simple lemon, leafy salad and Turkish rice.

 

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