Vegetarian Moussaka

This is a beautiful recipe – it combines a rich tomato-chickpea-lentil stew with a creamy bechamel sauce and roasted potatoes and eggplant.  It is, however, very time and ingredient intensive, although I think it’s worth it.  It also makes enough for about 12 – i.e. lots of leftovers!  Adapted from Jamie Oliver.


  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • a handful fresh herb leaves (such as rosemary, sage)
  • dried oregano
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 400g can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 400g can lentils, drained
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggplants, cut into 1/2″ round slices
  • 800g potatoes, cut into 1/4″ round slices
  • 750ml milk
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 75g butter
  • 75g flour
  • 150g feta cheese
  • 100g parmesian or pecorino
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • olive oil
  • olive oil spray
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF.  Place porcini in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, then set aside to soak.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in 1T olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Take porcini out of bowl (reserving the water), and roughly chop. At the same time, bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.
  4. Add to the onions, along with fresh herbs and 1t oregano, and saute for 30 seconds more, until fragrant.
  5.  Add wine, chickpeas, lentils, 2 bay leaves, tomatoes, and porcini water – season to taste, and simmer over low heat for ~1 hour, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, parboil potatoes by cooking in boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain and allow to dry.
  7. Place potatoes in large roasting tray, season with oil and a few pinches of dried oregano, and toss to coat evenly.  Spread in an even layer and set aside.
  8. Prepare another large roasting tray with olive oil spray, and spread eggplant in a single layer.  Spray top of eggplants, then add another single layer of eggplant, and spray again.  Continue layering eggplant and spray until all eggplant slices are in the tray.
  9. Roast potatoes and eggplant in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.  Once cooked, set aside.
  10. Add butter to a medium-large saucepan, and heat over medium heat – add flour and combine to form a paste, then cook for ~2 minutes, until butter-flour mixture is fragrant and has a slight golden color.
  11. Gradually stir in milk, making sure that there are no lumps of flour – add bay leaves and peppercorns, and stir mixture until it is  hot enough that it starts to thicken.
  12. Crumble in 50g feta, and stir to combine – set aside.
  13. Once the tomato mixture, roasted vegetables, and sauce are done, you can begin to assemble the moussaka: take roasting pan full of potatoes, cover with half the ragù, layer layer half the aubergines on top, and repeat with the remaining ragù and aubergines.
  14. Whisk egg yolks into the béchamel sauce, then gently pour onto the aubergines in an even layer.
  15. Crumble and grate the remaining cheese on top, and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

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