Most of the times when you taste a very flavorful dish, like Moussaka for example, and then try its Vegetarian version, it might leave you a bit disappointed and have you really missing that meat inside. This is not the case with this Vegetarian Moussaka. Lately, I've been making it over and over again.
Many recipes try to substitute the ground meat that's in traditional Moussaka, with lentils or mushrooms. There is really no need for this. Since it's already loaded with delicious vegetables + a hearty tomato sauce that's flavored with allspice, nutmeg, and cloves, and then topped with a creamy bechamel sauce.
And if you ever wondered what is it that makes Moussaka really flavorful is this combination of ingredients that you bake all together, along with the deep-frying of the vegetables.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST SCRUMPTIOUS VEGETARIAN MOUSSAKA
First of all, make a Bechamel cream. I skipped the butter and used olive oil instead, for a more light and refined cream. It's easier to use too, as it will help with avoiding the cream getting crumbly.
Just mix the olive oil with a bit of flour (creating a roux) like you would do with a classic Bechamel, and then pour in the milk that's in room temperature (again helps to avoid crumbles in the cream) and cook until cream thickens. It won't get too thick on the stovetop as it is going to get baked as well.
Then after you seasoned the cream with ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper, whisk in the grated cheese while it's still hot. And set aside to cool before you whisk in the eggs.
Proceed on making the spiced tomato sauce which requires only 30 minutes of simmering, and deep-fry all the vegetables until they get a deep golden color.
Once everything is ready, start building the layers inside a 9 x 13-inch pan or baking dish. Starting with a layer of potatoes, then a layer of zucchinis, a layer of eggplants and a few slices of tomato on top along with the tomato sauce, and cover everything well by spreading the creamy Bechamel all over on top.
To get that cheesy goodness on the top of the Moussaka, first bake the cream for a while until it starts to get golden on top, and then sprinkle the cheese on top!
Other Vegetarian Greek Dishes You May Like:
- Greek-Style Lasagna With Zucchini And Eggplant
- Yemista - Greek Stuffed Vegetables
- Briami - Greek Vegetable Bake
- Greek Vegetable Stew
- Cheesy Mushroom Bake With Fresh Tomato Sauce
SERVE IT WITH ⬇
Want to serve your family and friends a Greek dinner? Serve this Vegetarian Moussaka along with these Crusty Feta Bread Rolls, Homemade Pita Bread, or this Fried Feta Cheese Saganaki.
The-Most-SCRUMPTIOUS Vegetarian Moussaka
For The Bechamel Cream:
- 10 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1 liter milk at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 120 grams / 4.2 oz Greek Kefalotyri or Gruyere cheese grated
- 4 medium-sized eggs
For The Tomato Sauce:
- olive oil
- 1 small red onion minced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 ripe tomato coarsely chopped
- a splash of red wine
- 250 grams / 8.8 oz slightly concentrated tomato juice
- 5-6 pieces of allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅓ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 bay leaf
For The Vegetable Layers:
- 900 grams / 1 lb + 15 oz potatoes
- 900 grams / 1 lb + 15 oz light green zucchinis
- 900 grams / 1 lb + 15 oz eggplants
- 1 medium-sized tomato cut into very thin slices
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- frying oil
For The Cream:
- In a cooking pot whisk together the olive oil and flour. Heat over high heat. Cook for 2 minutes while you stir it with the whisk until the mixture looks sandy in color.
- Pour in the milk and reduce heat to medium.
- Keep stirring until cream starts to thicken. Season with salt, pepper, and the ground nutmeg.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes more from the moment bubbles start to form on the surface of the cream. Then remove the pot from heat and set aside. Stir in ⅔ of the grated cheese and let cream stand for 15 minutes. Then whisk in the eggs.
For The Tomato Sauce:
- Heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden in color. Pour in a splash of red wine and wait until it evaporates.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes more stirring occassionaly until they get mushy.
- Pour in the tomato juice, the spices, and a cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat until sauce thickens.
For The Vegetable Layers:
- Heat a fryer or a pan half-filled with frying oil.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 cm (about ¼ inch) thick slices.
- Season with salt and pepper and deep-fry them until deep golden in color. Set aside on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Remove the tops and bottoms of the eggplants. Cut them into 1 cm (¼ inch) long slices. Place in a bowl with cold water and soak them for 30 minutes to remove their bitterness. Then drain in a strainer.
- Season the eggplants with salt and pepper and then deep-fry just like you did with the potatoes. Place on paper towels.
- Cut the zucchinis into 1 cm (¼ inch) long slices as well season with salt and pepper and deep-fry as well and set on paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 170°C / 338°F.
- Lay the potatoes in a 9x 13-inch pan or baking dish without leaving any gaps. Press them a bit with your hands to make them stick together a bit.
- Lay the zucchinis evenly on top and then do the same with the eggplants.
- Spread the tomato sauce all over on top and then add the tomato slices here and there. Sprinkle the chopped fresh parsley all over and then spread the Bechamel cream evenly.
- Cook the Moussaka for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of grated cheese on top. Then bake for another 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let it set for 30 minutes before cutting and serving!
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