This vegetarian moussaka is made with lentils and seasonal vegetables. It’s an easy, delicious, and warming meal for a cold winter’s day.
I recently learned that people who mostly eat vegetarian, while occasionally eating meat are called flexitarians. Most flexitarians are meat-lovers who decide to eat more vegetarian dishes, either for their health or to reduce their environmental impact.
We’re vegetarians who decided to add a bit of meat to our diet after our preschooler made a whole art project out of magazine clippings featuring pictures of meat. Known in our family as the meat-collage moment, we took it as an indication that Max probably needed a bit of animal protein in his diet. Regardless, we are still mostly vegetarian.
- 2 cups dried brown or green lentils
- 1 medium eggplant or 2 large potatoes
- 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 cup of onions, finely diced
- 6 cups of chopped vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, peppers)
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups of milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup of flour (AP or GF)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
- Cook the dried lentils in 4 cups of water until they are soft but not mushy. It will take about 15 minutes for them to cook. Drain the excess water and set the lentils aside.
- Meanwhile, slice the eggplant or potatoes. Brush with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast them in the preheating oven while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the onions until soft. Add in the chopped vegetables and garlic. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Add in the cooked lentils, crushed tomatoes, spices, and seasonings. Continue to simmer for around 15 minutes while you prepare the bechamel sauce.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk, then set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it into the butter until it forms a smooth paste. Slowly add the milk mixture and the salt, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk as it cooks and thickens. It takes around 15 minutes to thicken.
- This vegetarian moussaka recipe is designed for a 9 x 13-inch pan or two smaller 8-inch square pans.
- Layer the roasted eggplant (or potato) slices in the bottom of the pan. Pour the lentil and vegetable filling. Top the lentils with the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Pour over the Béchamel sauce. The moussaka can be refrigerated or frozen at this point. See notes for freezing instructions.
- Bake at 400 F (180 C) for 30-45 min. The Béchamel should be nicely browned.
- This simple vegetarian moussaka is easy and delicious. It does take a bit of time to prepare so we typically make a triple batch, freezing extra portions for quick weeknight meals.
- If you’re freezing extra servings of moussaka, I recommend pulling it out of the freezer the day before to defrost. Then follow baking instructions as described in the recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 996mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 15gSugar: 17gProtein: 22g