Layered with delicious eggplant, packed with a homemade tofu mince filling, then covered in a deliciously creamy but dairy-free bechamel sauce, we‘ve fallen fast for this vegan moussaka recipe!
Yes, it’s a little complicated to prepare and a little tricky to assemble, but once you’ve popped this beautiful dish into the oven, you’ll be glad you put in the effort; even more so when you sit down and bite into the juicy eggplant and vegan mince filling!
Bring a taste of Greece into your kitchen, but leave the meat and dairy at the store as we show you how to make the best vegan moussaka.
How to make vegan moussaka
Moussaka is a Greek specialty that’s sort of like a lasagna, but with none of the pasta. It’s low carb, and instead of lasagna sheets, a moussaka is prepared using slices of eggplant. Traditionally, though, a vegetarian moussaka (let alone a vegan moussaka!) is a rarity because just like a lasagna, this dish is usually prepared using ground beef or lamb and a very milky bechamel sauce.
In this vegan and vegetarian moussaka recipe, though, we’ve removed all the meat and all of the dairy. It’s vegan friendly, so let’s take a look at the different vegan layers that go into assembling what we think is one of the best vegan moussaka recipes out there.
Traditional moussaka requires either beef or lamb mince mixed into a tomato sauce and heavily seasoned. Instead of meat, vegan and vegetarian moussaka recipes can use tofu.
You’ll need extra firm tofu, and you’ll need to use a tofu press to remove all of that excess water before cooking. We then mix the tofu with walnuts, lentils, onions, mushrooms, celery, red bell peppers, and a lot of seasoning!
Vegan bechamel sauce
Bechamel sauce is the topping for all of the best moussaka recipes, but luckily, it’s simple to prepare a vegan version of this classic white sauce.
Instead of using dairy milk, our vegan recipe uses soy milk instead. But, of course, you can also opt for any other plant-based milk, such as oat milk or almond milk.
And finally, you can’t have the best moussaka recipe without the eggplant! This is an integral ingredient because, as we said earlier, the eggplant acts like the pasta sheets you would have in an Italian lasagna.
You’ll need at least two large eggplants, and they need to be sliced into thin strips that can form a layer both above and below the vegan mince. The eggplant needs to be baked on its own, first, before the moussaka is assembled.
Vegan moussaka recipe FAQ
What’s the difference between lasagna and moussaka?
Moussaka and lasagna are very similar in concept, but there are some big differences. Lasagna is an Italian dish that layers a tomato-based filling of vegetables and mince between sheets of lasagna pasta and a creamy, cheesy white sauce.
Greek moussaka swaps the pasta for eggplant (moussaka calories are much lower than lasagna!), drops the cheese, but keeps the bechamel sauce and the mince filling.
Can I prepare vegan moussaka in advance?
Vegan moussaka does take a long time to prepare and assemble; there’s no way around that. Luckily, though, this is a great dish to prepare ahead of time.
It’s possible to assemble the moussaka, but leave it unbaked in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. It’s also possible to place moussaka in the freezer for several months.
Vegan moussaka: the last slice
Vegan moussaka isn’t just a meat-free, dairy-free alternative to traditional moussaka; it’s also fantastically healthy - which is yet another reason to give this excellent (although admittedly not easy) moussaka recipe a go!
Packed with a protein-filled tofu mince filling, layered with eggplant, then finished off with a vegan bechamel sauce, it’s hard to beat this excellent Greek-inspired dish. If you’re looking for new recipes to try, then why not bookmark our vegan moussaka recipe and give it a go over the weekend?
Vegan Moussaka With a Homemade Tofu Mince Filling!
8 oz of extra firm tofu
1 c of finely chopped walnuts
8 oz of mushrooms
15 oz can of brown lentils
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 diced onion
2 diced stalks of celery
1 diced red bell pepper
1 tbsp of crushed garlic
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of rosemary
⅛ tsp of cinnamon powder
½ c of tomato paste
1 c of marinara sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ c of olive oil
¾ c of all-purpose flour
8 c of soy milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large sliced eggplants
Oregano for seasoning
Rosemary for seasoning
Paprika for seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegan mince ingredients
Ingredients for the vegan bechamel sauce
Other vegan moussaka ingredients
Use a tofu press to press and drain the block of tofu to ensure that all of the excess liquid is removed. Once pressed, place the tofu into a large mixing bowl and use a fork to mash it into small, mince-like pieces.
Finely chop the walnuts and mushrooms, then use a food processor to blend them into a crumbly mixture. Place the walnuts and mushrooms into the mixing bowl with the mashed tofu, then drain the lentils and add these too. Mix everything together.
Chop the onions, celery, and red bell pepper, then cook on medium heat in a skillet with a dash of oil. Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften up, then coat in crushed garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, rosemary, and cinnamon powder and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
Once cooked, mix the sauteed vegetables together with the other ingredients you’ve prepared in a large pan. Stir in tomato paste, then pour in marinara sauce and soy sauce. Cook the vegan mince for around 10 minutes at medium heat to thicken the sauce.
Finally, stir in sugar, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Directions for the bechamel sauce
Place a saucepan on the stovetop and heat a drizzle of oil. When hot, measure the flour into the pan and fry for 1 minute.
Pour in all of the soy milk, and use a whisk to stir the flour into the liquid. Keep heating and whisking until all of the lumps have disappeared.
Once the sauce has thickened, season with salt and pepper to taste and turn the heat off.
Directions for assembling the moussaka
While you are preparing the vegan mince and sauce, you also need to bake your eggplant in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 °F, slice the eggplant, then coat with oil. Add salt and pepper to season.
Bake the eggplant slices in the oven for 25 minutes, remembering to turn them over halfway through. Once baked, the eggplant will form the bottom layer of the moussaka.
Place half of the eggplant slices into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then pour in all of the vegan mince mixture. Place the other half of the eggplant slices on top of the vegan mince, then pour over the bechamel sauce.
Once assembled, place the vegan moussaka into the oven and bake for at least 40 minutes. If you want to brown the top of the moussaka, then leave it under the grill for an extra 5 minutes at the end.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool before sprinkling with added seasoning, then serving fresh!