Delicious Vegan Eats: Greek Moussaka with Lentils That’s Beyond All of Your Expectations!

Have you ever had a good Greek moussaka? If yes, I’m sure you appreciated how smoothly all of the ingredients come together. What about a vegan version? Today I’m sharing a recipe for a vegan moussaka with a lentil-based sauce that makes me confident to say that I’ve perfected this dish over the years.

Wanna have a bite?

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Greek cuisine has always been near and dear to my heart. I can’t say that I’ve made a lot of Greek dishes at home, but I’ve definitely had my share at Greek restaurants! Things got a little more complicated once I switched to a vegan diet, and going to my once favorite Greek places got kind of boring since fully vegan options were few and far between.

What can a vegan girl do if she wants to keep eating delicious Greek moussaka? Make it at home, of course!

But first, for the uninitiated: what is moussaka? Here’s how a classic Greek version is defined at About.com: “Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with spiced meat filling then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce that is baked to golden perfection.”

Vegan people will have a couple issues with this definition:

  • – How can we get rid of the meat?
  • – How can we make a non-dairy version of bechamel sauce?
  • – Can we make a less greasy version of this dish? Classic moussaka can be pretty oily!

Another issue that I have:

  • – If we get rid of all the heavy stuff in moussaka, how can we make a possible vegan version more filling? I don’t like to be hungry half an hour after dinner!

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Thankfully, I’ve come up with answers to all these questions:

  • – Substitute meat with a lentil-tomato sauce that’s seasoned just right;
  • – Instead of making bechamel sauce with butter, milk, and white flour, make it with a little coconut oil, almond milk, and whole wheat flour, adding 1 Tbsp of ground flax seeds.
  • – Vegan moussaka is going to be way less greasy if you keep added oils to a minimum. In most of my recipes, I aim at not using any oil at all (Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, a well-known cardiac surgeon, will explain why in this article on his site), but unfortunately I haven’t yet found a good oil-free vegan version of bechamel. If you have one, please let me know!
  • – To make my vegan moussaka more filling, I added 1 or 2 layers of boiled/steamed potatoes (that’s the Russian in me!). Potatoes are a great filler that doesn’t have an overpowering flavor, so my moussaka tastes just as delicious as the Greek-intended version!

Any version of moussaka is a rather time-consuming endeavor, so brace yourself here… Just trust me: once you bite in, your taste buds will applaud your diligence and patience, and so will your family!

And just how good is this stuff? Well, to say that this is one of my husband’s favorite dishes is almost like not saying much at all: after I make this, I hear compliments from him about how delicious it is/was for at least three days! Another story: he ordered moussaka at a Greek restaurant once, and I said that I was worried that after having a classic Greek-made moussaka he wouldn’t want to eat mine again. After our food arrived, he took a couple bites of his entree and assured me that I had nothing to worry about!

All right, enough with the stories, bring on the recipe!

Vegan Greek Moussaka with Lentil-Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 small servings, or 2 generous with leftovers.

Vegan Greek Moussaka with Lentil-Tomato Sauce

This is one of those recipes that is quite time-consuming, but oh so rewarding and comforting in the end! It's not oil-free, so if you avoid added oil in your diet, feel free to use a different version of bechamel sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • For the lentil-tomato sauce:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato (about 1 small tomato)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced portobello mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water or veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the bechamel sauce:
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

    To save time, read through the instructions first and try to prepare all of the moussaka components at the same time.
    To prepare eggplant:
  1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Arrange in layers in a colander, sprinkling salt between each layer. Let sit for at least 20 min (this releases and gets rid of bitter juices, so your eggplant won't taste bitter in the end). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. After 20 min, pat dry eggplant rounds with paper towels to remove all of the juices released.
  3. Arrange on a cookie tray in one layer. Spray with olive oil spray. Flip slices, and spray the other side.
  4. Insert eggplant in the hot oven. Bake for 15 min, flip slices, and bake for another 10-12 min.
  5. Once eggplant is done, take it out of the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
  6. To prepare potatoes:
  7. Peel and slice raw potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Rinse potato slices to remove extra starch, steam for 10 min on stovetop. If you don't have a steamer, boil whole potatoes for 10 min, then cool off a bit and slice in 1/4 round pieces. Potatoes don't have to be fully cooked at this step.
  8. To prepare lentil-tomato sauce:
  9. Heat a skillet with 1-2 Tbsp of water, add chopped onions and garlic. Cook for 5 min, stirring occasionally, until onion gets translucent.
  10. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients except spinach complete with boiling water and spices. Cook for about 20-25 min, stirring a few times. Once lentils are tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, stir in spinach and take the sauce off the heat.
  11. To prepare bechamel sauce:
  12. In a large skillet on medium-low heat, melt coconut butter. Once melted, add whole wheat flour, 2 Tbsp at a time, and mix into the oil with a rubber spatula. Once all flour is added, pour in almond milk in 3 parts, stirring with the spatula constantly to break up clumps. Continie stirring for about 5 min, until the mixture gets homogeneous and thickens up to the consistency of thick gravy. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Take off the heat, stir in ground flax seed.
  13. To assemble moussaka:
  14. In an ovenproof 8" by 8" casserole dish, arrange all components in layers: lentil-tomato sauce, eggplant, lentil-tomato sauce, potatoes; lentil-tomato sauce, eggplant, lentil-tomato sauce, potatoes.
  15. Go until you run out of all ingredients (it's ok if you end up having more eggplant than potatoes). The last layer should be eggplant.
  16. Once everything is assembled, pour bechamel on top and distribute evenly. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  17. Insert the casserole into the oven at 375. Bake for 20 min; remove the foil and bake for another 15 min.
  18. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool 10-15 min before cutting. Enjoy!
http://www.veganrunnereats.com/180/delicious-vegan-eats-greek-moussaka-with-lentils-thats-beyond-all-of-your-expectations/

Have you tried a different vegan moussaka recipe that you liked? Do you have any other favorite vegan versions of classic ethnic dishes? Let us know in the comments!

This recipe is participating in the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck #13 over here.

 

About Alina

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.
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21 Responses to Delicious Vegan Eats: Greek Moussaka with Lentils That’s Beyond All of Your Expectations!

  1. nancy says:

    Would love to try your Moussaka recipe, but the link doesn’t work. Is this recipe still active?

  2. nancy says:

    yes. mahalo nui loa!

  3. Annie says:

    One of my favorite pre-gan dishes! Yum!

  4. Laina says:

    Wanted to love this… The picture looked great, as did the ingredients, and your description really sold it. I have had veggie moussaka at a Lebanese restaurant before so I had a slight idea what this might be like. A few criticisms: 1) the bechamel instructions seem off. There is no way to mix that much flour into that small amount of oil… At least not when I tried to. I had to add the milk prematurely. 2) the main “sauce,” after cooking the recommended time, was quite dry – not saucy anymore. Trying to use it to layer per the instructions was extremely difficult as there wasn’t nearly enough. Overall, this didn’t come out well. It was dry, lacked flavor, and the flavor it did have was poor (with the almond milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon it was oddly “sweet”).

    I will admit some of this could be user error, but I am a baker so following details of a recipe precisely is what I do.

    Sorry for posting a negative review. This is clearly a dish you love and are proud of. I just didn’t have the same experience of this recipe as you.

    • Alina says:

      Thanks Laina, it’s always nice to hear an honest review. Sorry it didn’t work out for you! I have to admit that I rarely follow a recipe to the T (except in baking), so maybe my constant switches are the reason this moussaka always works out for me. If you try it again with some adjustments, please let me know!

  5. Michelle says:

    Oh my! This looks delicious! I am a big lentil and eggplant fan. I will be trying this tomorrow but instead of a bechamel sauce and layers of potato in between I’m going to make a very fluffy mashed potato topping (then it probably isn’t moussaka anymore though, but still somewhat Greek-y). I might also add some caramelized onion layers. I very seldom stick to a specific recipe and always add my own spin on things. I will let you know how mine turns out.

    • Alina says:

      That sounds delicious, Michelle, let me know how it turns out! I hear ya on not following recipes word-by-word – I do it all the time myself.

      • Michelle says:

        Alina, it turned out great and super yummy. I will definitely be making it again. Thanks for being the inspiration for one of my new favorite dishes.

  6. Fran says:

    Overall a great recipe 🙂 I love the bechamel sauce although I did prematurely add the milk as to not burn. I would recommend slicing the potatoes slightly thinner as to assure then soft all the way through 🙂 thanks so much for posting this it has now become one of our family s staple meals 🙂

  7. Pingback: Heleni moussaka – Murutütred

  8. Nadia says:

    I have made this recipe a few times now and every time it is a HIT! Wonderful spin on a timeless recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Daliborka says:

    you could make the bechamel without the oil, mix the milk with the flour in a pan, bring to boil until thickens, put your seasening, finished 😉

  10. Emma Nicholls says:

    I’m a recent convert to Veganism and this is just amazingly yummy! I made my bechamel with buckwheat flour as am also gluten free and it worked a treat. Substituted sweet potatoes for normal and it will definitely be on the menu again. Thank you so much x

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