vegetarian moussaka in a white baking dish on a wood table with tomatoes and herbs

Layers of eggplant and lentils are drizzled with creamy béchamel sauce in this plant-forward take on the traditional Greek dish.

Makes 8 servings

For béchamel sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/4 cups milk, heated
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

For vegetarian moussaka

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 3 portabella mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (about 1 15-ounce can)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven tp 375 degrees F.

To make béchamel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour and heat until the paste begins to bubble, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk and continue stirring until the sauce thickens and begins to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Crack the egg into the béchamel and mix until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan and saute half the onion and garlic. Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, cinnamon, and red wine vinegar. Bring to a low simmer while preparing the other ingredients.

To prepare vegetables, brush sliced mushrooms and portabella mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop mushrooms. Set aside.

To prepare the lentils, heat the remaining half of the onion and garlic in a pan with oil. Add the cooked lentils and stock to the pan and then bring a boil. Cook until the stock evaporates, then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

To assemble, sprinkle 1/4 of bread crumbs in the bottom of a baking dish. Top with half the eggplant slices, chopped mushrooms, and a layer of mushrooms. Sprinkle with half the cheese and remaining breadcrumbs. Add another layer on top with the remaining eggplant, mushrooms, and lentils. Top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife easily cuts through and the top layer of cheese is golden brown.