Published October 10, 2019 - Last Updated September 8, 2021
Roasted Vegetable Moussaka – Recipe for Mediterranean vegetarian moussaka casserole with roasted eggplants, zucchini, lentils, tomatoes, peppers, spices and rich creamy béchamel sauce. Healthy, flavorful and nourishing!
This recipe has been updated from the archives with new photos and a how-to cooking video.
Moussaka originated in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Like many ancient dishes, it has a number of regional variations. Alan Davidson explains these various approaches in his Oxford Companion to Food:
“Moussaka or musaka, often written as musakka, is a meat and vegetable stew, originally made from sliced aubergine (eggplant), meat, and tomatoes, and preferably cooked in an oven. This is the version current among the Turks and Arabs, who may also substitute courgettes (zucchini) for the aubergines. In the Balkans, more elaborate versions are found. The Greeks cover the stew with a layer of beaten egg or béchamel sauce. Elsewhere in the Balkans mussaka has become a much more various oven-baked casserole, admitting many more vegetables than aubergine or courgette, often dropping tomatoes and even meat.”
My Roasted Vegetable Moussaka is Greek-style, topped with rich and creamy béchamel sauce. I roast up my Mediterranean vegetables before baking the casserole, which adds wonderful flavor to the finished dish. Lentils serve as a meat substitute here, with potatoes added to make the dish hearty. Even devoted carnivores may find themselves satiated by this recipe.
I’ll warn you in advance, this is NOT an easy dish to prepare. While the steps themselves are pretty simple, the process is time consuming. Consequently you might consider this dish for a special occasion, like Sukkot or a Sunday family gathering. Serve the leftovers for Meatless Monday– the dish refrigerates and freezes well. I’ve included a few tips in the recipe for cutting down on prep time. The end result is worth the effort. It’s scrumptious, with layers and layers of amazing flavor.
Gluten Free Modification: This recipe is almost gluten free, but it will take a couple of modifications to make it completely GF. The original recipe uses flour to thicken the béchamel sauce. Substitute King Arthur’s Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour or a small amount of potato starch as a thickener. If you’re using a pre-grated parmesan, check to make sure that it is purely cheese (no modified starches in the mix). This will ensure that your moussaka is gluten free.
Vegetarian Note: If you are a vegetarian, you will want to make sure that your cheeses are vegetarian (produced without animal rennet).
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Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...