This delicious vegetarian moussaka made with lentils and aubergines is incredibly easy to put together and is a perfect prep-ahead meal to serve as a midweek family meal but also impressive if you’re entertaining friends. This vegetarian version uses green lentils, which provide plenty of plant-based protein and fibre, making it an incredibly nourishing meat-free meal.
Watch the Cookalong recording HERE
We worked quickly so you’ll find the recording useful to guide you and get the dish made!
I’ve given lots of tips, nutritional of course but also some great cooking tips. If you’re not always successful with a Bechamel, you’ll find it so easy after watching this!
Remember, if you’re cooking for 1 or 2, simply split the mixture and aubergine into 2 smaller dishes. It will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days (even longer), so you don’t have to eat it all up the next day. You can also keep one batch to eat and another for the freezer.
Vegetarian Moussaka with Lentil and Aubergine Recipe (VF)
Ingredients for this Vegetarian Moussaka
- 2 large or 3 small aubergines
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 punnet (300g) mushrooms, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 1 tin plum tomatoes
- ½ jar sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 can green lentils, rinsed and drained (or pouch; no need to rinse)
- Olive oil
For the Béchamel:
Feel free to vary the milk and use olive oil for a vegan version. Use any GF flour if necessary.
- 500-600ml milk (any)
- 50g flour (any)
- 50g butter (or oil)
- 1 egg (V optional)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
You’ll need:1 large deep-sided oven dish (or 2-3 smaller ones)
- Lined oven tray
- 1 large deep-sided frying pan or wide saucepan
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- 1 small non-stick saucepan (for the bechamel)
Heat the oven to 180 degrees
Start by preparing the aubergine; cut each aubergine into 2cm discs.
Prepare a lined baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil. Now lay out each disc in a single layer over the oil. Then turn each one over to coat both sides with a little oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30-35mins until they are golden, but not overcooked. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large deep sided frying pan. Add in the onions and garlic and sauté over a gentle heat for around 5mins, taking care that they do not burn or change colour.
Then add in the mushrooms and continue to cook until they begin to soften.
Add the mixed spice and cinnamon and continue to cook for 1 min, stirring continuously until aromatic, then stir in the tinned tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and tomato purée. Season with salt and pepper, mix to combine and cook for 2 mins before adding the green lentils.
Bring to a simmer then cover and cook for around 20mins over a very low heat, until the sauce is thick.
Whilst this is cooking, prepare the béchamel. Begin by making a thick paste of flour and cold water, and slowly add more water until it is a thick pouring consistency.
To make the béchamel sauce….
Start with MY TOP TIP!
I find that it is not always easy to judge how thick a layer your béchamel will be until you start making it…it will of course depend on your dish. Making a pouring flour paste before you begin will allow you to ensure the final sauce is the thickness you need, should you need to increase the quantity as you’re making it. And I always end up wanting more, so I simply add more milk and then pour this flour paste into the pan, stirring continuously to allow it to thicken without lumps.
Melt the butter in a small non-stick pan on a medium heat. Add the flour to the butter and whisk to combine to a thick dry paste. Now remove from the heat and add the milk slowly a little at a time, whisking in between each addition to ensure you have no lumps. Initially, the sauce will resemble a paste but continue to add a little milk at a time until it is pouring consistency. Once you’re added all the milk, return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, stirring continuously with a spatula. Do not leave this unattended otherwise you’ll end up with the sauce sticking to the bottom and the sauce will be lumpy. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Set it aside.
To assemble the moussaka, drizzle a little olive oil over the base of a deep oven serving dish and begin to layer the sauce topped with a single layer of aubergine, covering the entire dish. Drizzle a little olive oil in between each layer.
[The mixture should allow for 2-3 layers of aubergines, depending on the size of the aubergine to start with. Simply spread out the mixture evenly between the available layers.]
Bake in the oven for 30mins, until it is crispy and golden. Allow it to sit for a 5mins or so; this will make it easier to serve.
Serve with a mixed leaves salad, topped with some crunchy nuts for added texture and drizzled with a Creamy Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.
Prepping ahead with this Vegetarian Moussaka…
Either… make the sauce and baked aubergines separately in advance and store them in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, prepare the béchamel fresh and assemble the dish. You’ll need to re-heat the sauce slightly so it’s easier to spread out evenly between the layers. The roasted aubergines can be used straight from the fridge.
Or you can make the entire dish and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Ideally, cook it from room temperature.
In both cases, you can store the cooked ingredients in the fridge for 3-5 days, if not more.
If you make this dish, I’d love to see a pic and a comment below would be fabulous!