Delicious Vegetarian Moussaka Recipe with Mushroom Sauce

Vegetarian Greek Moussaka

Delicious Vegetarian Moussaka Recipe with Mushroom Sauce

Posted in Baked, Comfort food, Heartwarming dishes, Intermediate, Main Courses, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Sunday family meal ideas, Vegetarian, Weekend family meal ideas Originally published on Last updated on By

Juicy, creamy and absolutely delicious! One of the most popular and beloved traditional Greek dishes, now done vegetarian! Although vegetarian moussaka is not a popular dish in Greece (as we all know Greeks love their meat!), after a lot of requests from my vegetarian friends, I was more than excited to come up with a vegetarian moussaka recipe that could happily replace my lamb/beef moussaka on my family table! This easy to follow vegetarian moussaka recipe never fails to impress and is always a crowd pleaser. Each stage will require dirtying some pans, but I think you will agree that the end result is well worth it! So go ahead, indulge yourself to this little sin..

Vegetarian Moussaka recipe – The secret is in the sauce

To prepare a traditional Greek Moussaka recipe, luscious layers of mince beef (or lamb) are cooked in a tomato based sauce, layered with sweet eggplants and creamy béchamel sauce and baked together until golden. For this vegetarian moussaka recipe mince beef/lamb is replaced with a delicious juicy mushroom based sauce, keeping of course, all the fragrant spices of the traditional Greek moussaka that give it’s unique taste and flavour. To prepare the sauce the chopped mushrooms are sautéed in olive oil, flavoured with onions and garlic and then simmered in white wine and tomato sauce. Simply irresistible! Just remember to let the sauce simmer for a while to allow the flavours to mingle for that little bit of extra deliciousness!

Vegetarian Moussaka recipe – Prepare the vegetables

As in the classic moussaka, the base for this vegetarian moussaka is nothing else than fried eggplants. Some moussaka recipes also use sliced potatoes, so if you like potatoes, try adding a layer of sliced potatoes as the first layer to this amazing dish, for some extra “comfort” during the winter months! For a lighter and healthier alternative to your vegetarian moussaka, try drizzling the aubergines (and potatoes) with some olive oil and bake them for ~20 minutes instead of frying them. Some eggplants may be bitter, so it is very important to remove the bitterness by soaking in water, rinsing, seasoning with salt and letting them stand for half an hour in a colander.

Vegetarian Moussaka recipe – Prepare the Bechamel sauce

Preparing the béchamel sauce is probably the trickiest part for this vegetarian moussaka recipe. To achieve the perfect texture for your béchamel sauce, make sure the milk is lukewarm and add it in the pan with the flour/butter mix just a little bit at a time whilst constantly stirring. My personal trick is to use a hand mixer with the whisk attachment to save some of the effort while stirring, and it always works at treat 🙂 The perfect béchamel sauce for your vegetarian moussaka should be smooth and creamy. The key is to whisk the sauce constantly while pouring just a little milk at a time, allowing plenty of time for the flour to absorb the milk, so that sauce doesn’t turnt lumpy. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat in order to prevent it from burning and sticking on the bottom of the pan, but be careful to cook it enough, until you can’t taste the flour and it has a thick consistency. If you are feeling a little lazy or don’t have too much time, you can skip the whole béchamel and try topping with good quality grated cheese instead!

So go ahead, give this delicious vegetarian Moussaka recipe a try and amaze your friends and family with this extra tasty hearty dish!

Base ingredients

  • 6-7 large eggplants
  • vegetable oil (for frying the eggplants)

For the mushroom sauce

  • 600-700g mushrooms, chopped (25 oz.)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 of a cup white wine
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • one cinnamon stick
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • chopped parsley (optional)

For the béchamel sauce

  • 875ml milk (3 and 1/2 cups)
  • 100g butter (3.5 ounces)
  • 100g flour (3.5 ounces)
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano or Kefalotyri (3.5 ounces)


  1. To prepare this vegetarian moussaka recipe, begin by preparing your eggplants. Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them into slices, aprrox.1 cm thick. Season with salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.
  2. Rinse the eggplants with plenty of water and squeeze with your hands, to get rid of the excessive water. Pat them dry and fry in plenty of oil, until nicely colored. Place the fried eggplants on some paper, in order to absorb the oil. For a healthier version of this vegetarian moussaka recipe try drizzling the eggplants with some olive oil and bake them for 15 minutes at 200C instead of frying them.
  3. Now it’s time to prepare a delicious mushroom based sauce for your vegetarian moussaka. Heat a pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the chopped mushrooms and sauté, until most of the juices have evaporated. Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté. Pour in the wine and wait to evaporate. Add the tinned tomatoes, mushing them with a wooden spoon, the sugar, cinnamon and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the juices have evaporated and the sauce thickens.
  4. Lastly prepare the béchamel sauce for the vegetarian moussaka. Use a deep pan to melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the flour whisking continuously to make a paste and add warmed milk in a steady stream. Keep whisking in order to prevent your sauce from getting lumpy. If the sauce still needs to thicken, boil over low heat while continuing to stir. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and the grated cheese. Whisk really quickly and set aside while you assemble the dish.
  5. For this vegetarian moussaka recipe you will need a large baking dish, approx. 20*30 cm. Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and sprinkle with some breadcrumbs (this will help absorb the extra juices). Layer the eggplants. Pour in the mushroom sauce and even out. Add a second layer of eggplants, top with the béchamel sauce and smooth out with a spatula.
  6. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake the vegetarian moussaka in preheated oven at 180-200C for about 25-30 minutes, until crust turns light golden brown. Even though it will be really hard.. you should wait for the moussaka to cool down for a while before cutting into pieces.
  7. Serve this delicious vegetarian moussaka with a refreshing Greek salad aside. Enjoy!


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  1. Pingback: Traditional Greek Moussaka recipe (Moussaka with Béchamel) - My Greek Dish

  2. Monsoon Eddy says:

    Clarification please:

    6-7 eggplant??? Greek eggplant I’d guess, but I’ve never heard that term. Why not say, 6-7 eggplant, about 2 pound, sliced 1/4 inch? Yes, stay imperial or go metric, please.
    For the mushroom sauce:
    600-700g mushrooms, chopped (25 oz.): Fresh or dried? Type of mushroom? Big dif if flavor. Metric or imperial, how about a size measure, like 1 cup of chopped?
    1 medium red onion, finely chopped: Small or large? How about saying something like, 1/2 cup finely chopped?
    1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped: Small or large? Or 1 teaspoon finely chopped?
    1/4 of a cup white wine: nice and clear
    1/4 of a cup olive oil: nice and clear, most say extra-virgin olive oil, or eVo
    1 tin chopped tomatoes…A TIN??? a 28oz tin or 4oz tin…why not fresh and a specific type? Are you sure you know how to fucking cook? Why would anyone trust this recipe? It’s going to be over powered or under powered by tomato. Sorry for the language, I’m getting flustered.
    one cinnamon stick: Ok, a stick, not an uncommon reference, but sticks are big and large. A teaspoon of powder, for example, leaves no doubt.
    chopped parsley (optional): Optional for what? Garnish? Added at the end? You don’t say…anywhere.

    Your directions are wordy and betray a lack of cooking experience. Number 1 for example, read the repetitiveness of the first sentence, “To prepare this vegetarian moussaka recipe, begin by preparing your eggplants.

    Why not cut to the chase: 1. Cut stalk from eggplant and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Season with “X amount of” salt and place in a colander for about half an hour.

    Nice photo, but chefs and real cooks wipe bowls clean of debris and drips before serving. Being able to cook is not the same as being able to write a recipe or teach how to cook.

    • Hi Eddy

      First off, English is not my first language so sometimes my writing is not 100% spot on, hope you understand 🙂

      As for your questions:
      600-700g mushrooms, chopped = these should be fresh mushrooms. Dried would not work in this dish. I like weight measures as depending on the mushroom density you will get more or less volume 🙂

      1 medium red onion, finely chopped: A normal sized red onion, like the ones you buy loose from the supermarket. Greek cuisine is not precision cooking, so if the onion is sligly larger or smaller it will make no difference.

      1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped: again, normal sized garlic cloves. Not the jumbo garlic but normal, plain regular garlic. It is about 2 teaspoons actually

      1 tin chopped tomatoes: A tin is 400grams

      one cinnamon stick: about 8-10 cm in length

      chopped parsley (optional): for the sauce

      Eddy, I am no chef. I am a mother of 2 kids that simply knows how to cook good uncomplicated Greek food. My love for Greek cooking is what drove me to making this website and over the past 3 years have managed to try, test and cook over 190 dishes for everyone to try and enjoy. As I mentioned, Greek cooking is not precision cooking. The recipes where made in an era where precision scales, digital ovens and several varieties of onion sizes, garlic sizes simply did not exist, hence try to be uncomplicated, simple, delicious food. Most recipes are not sensitive to slight variations on the ingredients mix or slight differences in the cooking temperatures as they were prepared in wood fired or coal fired ovens using ingredients that were freshly picked from your garden or the local grocer.

      Hope this gives you a better idea of the essence of Greek cooking. Try to worry less, put your own personal touch to it and enjoy cooking instead of stressing about it.



      • Francis
        Hello Eli
        There is nothing like a Greek aubergine ripe from the sun and the taste is magnificent but now we have to eat eggplants growing in green houses. As Greeks we always have a secret ingredient because we cook with love in order to give love in our food and every home cooking is different every time we Cook. I love your web side as I started to Cook Greek food again.

      • Katerina says:

        I recently discovered this website and it has been a Godsend. I’ve made your rice pudding, koulourakia (perfect!), Greek pasta salad, patates yaxni, revithia and more. I’m going to make your tsoureki for Greek Easter and I was sooo excited that you made this vegetarian mousaka recipe because I love mousaka, but I stopped eating meat!
        I cooked in a restaurant for years and we hardly ever used exact measurements. Cooking is about having common sense and, like you mentioned, putting your own personal touch on the dish. Your recipes are simple, easy and delicious. I haven’t had a single one turn out badly. If there are any measurements I’m unsure of, I just search Google for the conversion- no problem. I love that you write a little history about the dish before the recipe, and your English is perfect. Σ’ευχαριστώ παρά πολύ!

      • Evangelia says:

        Hi Eli.
        I am a Greek living abroad and have only just discovered your site. your recipes are great and as you said, it’s not science… it’s cooking. your recipes remind me of my dad who was an excellent cook and never measured anything, but all his food tasted great. His baking was always light and fluffy too (no, he wasn’t a chef). I will definitely try the Koulourakia recipes this weekend.
        Thanks for a great site with easy to follow recipes.

      • Ah thank you Vangie! Hope you find many dishes that you love!

      • Eli,
        First of all thank you for the recipes. My boyfriend and I love cooking and we always try new dishes. This week we decided to do Greek Food Week (as we love Greek food) and by looking for recipes I came across your website (which is awesome). We never follow the recipes 100% as we try to also experiment a bit and we never follow exact measurements ( for example we always add more spices as we like them ).
        I was also thinking to have a website and share our recipes…because you don’t need to be a chef to do so !
        Much love !

    • Wow ! Why so harsh with her ? I don’t see her mentioning anywhere she is a chef or some sort. If you have difficulties following her recipe just find another one, no need to be so negative. Sorry for the language, I’m getting flustered by your fucking comment so I needed to reply ! And yeah go on and judge my English if you want !

    • I’m not a chef but I did watch this being cooked on TV the other day so I tried to find the recipe on line ,this was the closest recipe to what a I watched ,sometimes common sense helps have you tried to make this yet or are you just being a keyboard warrior

    • Farrah says:

      Wow that was harsh!

  3. Foteini Pappas says:

    Eli is SO right. I been referring to your site for so long… Can’t even remember! I’m located in Montreal, Canada and I always manage to figure out the equivalent of pounding etc! It always worked out perfectly!!! And it really does feel like home when I taste;)) Cooking ain’t mad science, try trusting your gut instinct and most importantly, enjoy the food while you’re making it! Thanks again Eli for giving us easy access to your ‘ wisdom knowledge ‘;)) Καλό Πάσχα !! -x-

  4. Totally Agree! Strees free cooking recipes why I come to this site always to perfection doesn’t need to be in a Greek Kitchen; my mother’s measuring cup was a drinking large glass and her cooking was phenomenal
    Keep doing what your doing & your English is wonderful no need to apologize!!! Moonsoon maybe you should look for other sites or make your own! NO need to be rude!!!

  5. I just finished making and eating this. So incredibly good! Thank you so much for your precise instructions. First time I ever used my whisk attachment and it worked great. I halved the recipe since we are only 2 in my family.

  6. Excellent great recipe,many thanks,keep them coming

  7. Hi Eli, Is there any substitute for white wine?

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  9. Eli love your recipes which are explained so well and easy to follow. You cook with your heart and soul. Takes me back to Greek sunshine with your delicious food! Thanks so much! Linda

  10. Evelyn Loyden says:

    I love Greek food and enjoy your wonderful recipes. Friends and family always complement your Briam recipe. Thankyou Keep up the good work.

  11. Janna Lindhorst says:

    Can I use Chinese eggplant in this recipe? Can it be frozen? Too many from the garden and looking for recipes that I can make and freeze.

  12. rahmah saad says:

    Hi Eli, i’m interested in Greek food, and working on a project about it. Please contact me Rahmah , my watsapp 0173748046. Thanks.

  13. Despina Scoulos says:

    Dear Eli, I made your tsoureki recipe this Greek Easter and it turned out GREAT! And, it was the first time I have EVER made tsoureki! Now, I’m off to try the vegetarian mousaka! Thank you very much for an inspiring site!

    Despina from Agrinio

  14. Hi, I usually don’t post, but I am with all the other non-Chefs/cooks whose English is imperfect when I say to Monsoon Eddy that if he/she wants a website to perfect, it ought to be his/her own. There is no excuse for flaming someone as nice and courteous, as good a writer, & chef/cook as Eli. Please go away until you learn to play nicely with others. — cjc

  15. Pingback: Traditional Greek Moussaka recipe (Moussaka with Béchamel) – Ebros recipes

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