Vegetarian Moussaka: Classic Greek Casserole

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Moussaka is a classic Greek dish layered with eggplant, meat, cheese and béchamel sauce. It’s a layered dish, something like a mix between shepherd’s pie and lasagna if you want read about moussaka you can read from here and here.

I always found Greek culture is closely related to Indian culture, as they have numerous gods, we too have. Similar in the Greek mythology, there are Gods whose characterization is similar to Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Furthermore I like crystal clear waters of Mediterranean, even though I have only seen them in movies, and photos. I would like to visit some day. I had a Greek roommate when I lived in Stockholm, Sweden her name is Lukia. It was our routine that each other will make grand meal on weekend, so the other can enjoy and get to know the food. She cooked stuffed peppers, baked pasta, etc. I used to make rice, and curries every other weekend, she likes our movies, may be because of no choice, as I will wanted to watch Indian movies. She started enjoying them too. I have lost contact with her, but I still remember our stay as room-mates fondly. 
We both (my husband and I) are curious and love to enjoy new food from all countries, going out is not possible with a 10 month old who cries if somebody touches her. So most of the time, I will experiment in my kitchen. As usual (as with other dishes in the past), I tried to recreate the classic Greek moussaka, with minor changes suitable to our taste. Moussaka is three layer dish, with bottom layer of egg plant-cheese, middle layer of beef and tomato and top layer of béchamel. Due to health consciousness, I skipped the middle cheese layer and made two layers of egg plant, zucchini, potato and mushroom topped with tomato sauce and a top layer of béchamel sauce with cheese and bread crumbs. The dish tasted great, and we loved it, and I am going make them more often. Making this requires some preparation, but the end result is worth all your efforts.

What you need

 Eggplant: 1no
Zuchini: 1no
Potato: 1 no
Button Mushrooms: 4
Olive oil: 1/3 cup
Salt : 1 teaspoon
Panko Bread crumbs: ¼ cup
Grated Parmesan cheese: ¼ cup

For tomato sauce

Onion: 1no
Tomato: 3no
Garlic: 2 no
Ground cloves: ¼ teaspoon
Ground cinnamon: 1/4 teaspoon
Marjoram: ¼ teaspoon
Ground black pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
Chopped Parsley: 2 tablespoon
Salt: ½ teaspoon or to taste

For Béchamel sauce

Milk: 11/2 cup
All purpose flour: 21/2 tablespoon
Butter: 2 tablespoon
Grated nutmeg: ¼ teaspoon
Salt: ¼ teaspoon
Black pepper: ¼ teaspoon

How I made

Wash and peel the skin of egg plant and cut into two and again cut into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Keep aside in colander with ½ teaspoon salt for 30 minutes, this will reduce the bitterness of egg plant and remove some juices.
Peel skin of potato and cut into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Wash and cut zucchini into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Wipe the mushrooms with damp cloth and cut into pieces.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat adds 2 tablespoon oil at a time. Add potato, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms one by one and sprinkle salt in between and lightly brown potato, eggplant zucchini slices on both sides; drain excess oil using a kitchen towel. Fry the mushrooms on both sides. 
If you are using oven preheat oven to 450 degree Fahrenheit and roast the vegetables drizzle with the olive oil and salt for about 20 minutes or until they are slightly brown in color. Flip them in between around 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

For tomato sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium sauce pan and add chopped onion and fry them for about 6 minutes or until they become translucent, add chopped garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Then add chopped tomato and cook until tomato becomes mushy and soft, switch of flame. Once it get cooled for about 20 minutes grind everything in a blender or food processor into a fine paste. Heat the sauce pan with 1 tablespoon oil and add ground tomato-onion mixture along with salt and ground cloves, cinnamon and marjoram. Cook for 3 minutes and finely add chopped parsley. Switch off the flame and keep aside. 
In the mean time make béchamel sauce. Heat milk in a small sauce pot until it starts bubbling not boiling. Switch off the flame and keep aside. Melt butter in a medium sauce pot and add all-purpose flour stirring constantly using a wooden spoon or whisk until everything combined. Slowly add two tablespoons of milk at a time to flour butter mixture and whisk until the milk get combined gradually increase the quantity of milk until you finish the entire milk. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir the sauce until it become thick.
Assembley of Moussaka

Lightly brush the baking dish with oil and sprinkle some bread crumbs. Arrange a layer of eggplant, zucchini ,potato,mushroom and add an even layer of tomato sauce.

Then arrange second layer of eggplant, zucchini,potato and mushroom and add layer of tomato sauce.

Finally add layer of béchamel sauce and sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.

Bake it on 350degree Fahrenheit for 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is browned.

( Instead of two layer of tomato sauce you can use one layer of tomato sauce and other layer with only just béchamel sauce, or even you can add more cheese layer in between, I need tomato sauce in all my vegetables that why I spread tomato sauce in every layer of vegetables). Cool for 20 minutes and serve warm.

I served with dark rye bread on side.

Kalí óreksi! Bon Appetit, Enjoy
Preparation time: 1 hour
Baking time: 40 minutes
Ready by: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 4
Will you make it again: I will?

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  1. says

    Wat a fabulous moussaka, i was planning to do this dish, but finally my choice went to baking goodies, dish looks fantastic..

  2. says

    Loved the post and loved your version.Nice way you have explained the making along with pics.Hearty Thanks for the excellent dish.

  3. says

    Fantastic dish and lovin it!! you are 100% right about greek food. while we were in greece for holiday I did’t miss any Indian vegeatbles, you name it, evrything was there and made very siilar way too!