An easy vegetable moussaka dish that consists of juicy veggie meatless mince sauce mingling with layers of sweet eggplant (aubergines) and a velvety creamy bechamel sauce. This vegan and vegetarian version of the classic Greek moussaka is hearty and homely yet much lighter, dairy-free and low in carb with soy-free and gluten-free options.
I made this vegan moussaka from the remaining eggplants that I brought back from the Marche Jean Talon a couple weeks ago. Two different varieties of eggplant – the ‘Dancer’ (deep pink) and the ‘Snowy’ (ivory/white) – goes in this recipe. These varieties are sweeter than the more common globe eggplant and they are creamier. They are just marvelous in this dish! However, you could use the globe variety too with equally flavourful creamy results.
The tasty meatless sauce used in this recipe is based off the sauce that I made to accompany these Eggplant Steaks with a slight variation in the choice of spices. A little harissa brings in a subtle kick and complements the sweetness of the eggplant and coconut-based bechamel sauce.
Variations for Vegan Moussaka
Gluten-free and Soy-free Options
Depending on the brand of store-bought veggie mince that you get, it may not be gluten- and/or soy-free. In this case, use lentils or a mixture of cooked lentils mixed with finely mince mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are a good choice as they are meatier than regular white/button mushrooms. You could also use rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms. To use them in the recipe, saute for a few minutes (when the recipe calls for the veggie mince) and then add the cooked lentils.
Substitute the soy sauce for tamari for gluten-free or you may also use our soy-free gluten-free recipe for soy sauce substitute.
With these easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, you’d be surprised to find out how easy it is to recreate this scrumptious vegetable moussaka from scratch in under an hour including preparation time. This vegan moussaka will certainly not fail to impress; it’s a definite crowd-pleaser!
Easy Vegetable Moussaka Recipe
Start by setting the oven to preheat at 180C / 350F while you slice the eggplant. Then place the slices on a greased baking tray (or lined with parchment paper). Lightly brush both sides of the eggplants with a little oil and bake for about 15 minutes until they are half-cooked.
While the eggplant is baking, make the veggie mince sauce. Heat one tablespoon of coconut or olive oil in a skillet or saucepan on medium high heat. Add the garlic (if using) and the minced ginger, then saute for about one minute.
Add the veggie mince meat followed by the cumin, harissa and a little black pepper. Stir to combine and saute for about 5 minutes.
When the veggie mince starts to dry up or sticks to the pan, add the soy sauce. Then, add the mushrooms and saute for a couple more minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, vegetable bouillon powder, spring onions, fresh thyme and dried oregano. Add a little water (but not too much as we don’t want a soupy sauce) and stir to combine, cover and bring to a simmer.
Lower the heat and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.
Set the meatless sauce aside while you make the bechamel sauce but check on the eggplant first and remove them from the oven before they get fully cooked.
The bechamel sauce is an easy version that literally takes about 5 minutes to make with absolutely no compromise on taste. In fact, it is thick and creamy just like we need it to be for this moussaka dish. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk to mix the potato starch into the mixture before turning the heat onto medium temperature.
Heat while stirring slowly but rather constantly. After about 3 – 4 minutes, the sauce will start to thicken and at this stage it will thicken pretty quickly. So, keep stirring constantly until a thick creamy cheesy sauce is obtained.
Now all that’s left to do is assemble the moussaka by starting with a layer of eggplant. Ladle with a layer of the meatless sauce and top with another layer of eggplant.
Ladle another layer of the veggie meat sauce and top with a final layer of eggplant. Then pour the thick creamy bechamel cheese sauce to completely cover the eggplant. Spread the cheese sauce out evenly.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until nice and golden. After this time, the eggplants should be fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Enjoy the deliciousness!
Vegetable Moussaka Recipe
- 1.8 - 2 kg eggplants, (3 medium or 2 large) sliced into 8 mm (1/3 inch) thickness
Veggie Meat Sauce
- 170 g veggie mince meat, [1 cup] use cooked lentils for gluten-free
- 180 ml crushed tomatoes, [3/4 cup]
- 100 g white mushrooms, finely chopped [1 cup]
- 2 stems spring onions, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 - 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced/grated, see notes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon harissa powder, or 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free or use our soy-free soy sauce, see notes
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
- 4 - 5 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt, if needed
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Bechamel Cheese Sauce
- 240 ml canned coconut milk, thick and creamy [1 cup]
- 240 ml soy milk, or water [1 cup]
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/3 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Roast the Eggplants
- Preheat the oven at 180C / 350F.
- Place the eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or greased to keep the eggplant from sticking to the pan. This will also make cleaning up easier afterward.
- Brush both sides of the eggplant slices the with some olive oil.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (until about half cooked).
- There should still be some spongy resistance when you insert a fork into the flesh.
- While the eggplant is roasting, make the veggie meat sauce
- Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut or olive oil in a skillet or saucepan on medium high heat. Add the garlic (if using) and the minced ginger.
- Saute for about 1 minute then add the veggie mince meat.
- Add the cumin, harissa and a little black pepper. Stir to combine and saute for about 5 minutes.
- When the veggie mince starts to dry up or sticks to the pan, add the soy sauce. Then, add the mushrooms and saute for a couple more minutes.
- Add crushed tomatoes, vegetable bouillon powder, spring onions, fresh thyme and dried oregano.Add a little water (but not too much as we don't want a soupy sauce) and stir to combine, cover and bring to a simmer.
- Lower the heat and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.
Make the bechamel sauce
- Add all ingredients into a saucepan. Whisk to mix the potato starch into the mixture before turning the heat onto medium temperature.
- Heat while stirring slowly but rather constantly. After a little while, the sauce will start to thicken and at this stage it will thicken pretty quickly. Keep stirring constantly until a thick creamy cheesy sauce is obtained.
Assemble the moussaka
- Grease a 23-cm (9-inch) square baking dish.
Divide the eggplant into 3 batches.
- Place one layer of eggplant at the bottom of the pan.
- Ladle half the veggie mince sauce to cover the eggplant.
- Then top by a second layer of eggplant and ladle another layer of veggie mince sauce.
- Top with the final layer of eggplant. Then pour the thick creamy bechamel cheese sauce to completely cover the eggplant.
- Spread the cheese sauce out evenly.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until nice and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Enjoy the deliciousness!