The most delightful 7 layers: Greek Moussaka

7 Layer Vegetarian Moussaka

Greek moussaka is one of the most popular dishes in Greece. It is sold in almost every restaurant and is center of every big family meals. If you love recipes with eggplants, great! But if you would like to try eggplants and are looking for a good recipe, Greek moussaka is a great option. 

If you are into meal prepping, you already know that baked dishes are a great option to prep and store.

Traditional version(and my healthier vegetarian version)

Moussaka is one of my favorite Greek food recipes. I’m in love with its history and culture. Being an engineer, I am really fascinated by all that ancient Greeks have given to the world. Traditionally, moussaka has layers of deep fried eggplant and minced meat cooked in tomato sauce with creamy béchamel sauce and is baked until the top layer of béchamel is a perfect gold. 

Did you know that ancient Greeks were vegan. So, I decided to make a bit healthier version without compromising the taste. My version is vegetarian with 7 layers thinly sliced vegetables (potato, eggplant and zucchini), creamy béchamel and tomato sauce with ground tofu. You can also use ground vegan haggis (as tofu replacement in the sauce), that I posted here. Baked for 40 mins at 350 F.

About the guest:

My first attempt at a vegetarian moussaka was for my collaboration with Konstantinos who happens to be the most popular vegan food blogger from Greece. He is the owner of the blog Beets-me.com. He is literally spreading the gospel of great old Hippocrates. If you are a Greek and love good food, I highly encourage you to check out Konstantinos’ blog. 

From Konstantinos:

“Tell me a little bit about yourself:

My name is Konstantinos, I’m Greek and I currently live in Greece. I was born and raised in Germany

and moved to Greece with my parents back in the 90’s. The fact that I grew up as a multicultural and multilingual kid had probably the most impact in the way I see live and helped me shape myself! I’ve been vegan for 12 years and I am the owner and creator of the vegan food blog Beets me.

• How long have you been cooking for and how did you get into cooking?

I have been cooking since I was a kid. I think I did my first meal at the age of 9 or something. As a kid, I was raised to be rather independent when it came to food and meal preparation. My parents used to work many hours so I had to get in the kitchen and start cooking. Also, my father was probably a huge influence since he used to cook really well. Back in the day, especially in Greece, it was a bit weird for a father to cook, but I loved watching him in the kitchen when he had the time, mostly during holidays. At some point, I got really sick of cooking. I don’t remember why but I suddenly stopped. Cooking became my passion after I went vegan back in 2008. This whole new way of cooking, the new, unknown (at least to me!) then ingredients, and all these different recipes felt like a challenge that I had to take! I started experimenting, at first with recipes that I found online, and then slowly with my own recipes. At some point in 2017 – 2018 I felt like I needed to share what I learned about vegan cooking with the world. I started posting some dishes on my Instagram account but again it didn’t feel right. So on March 9th, 2019, I posted my first recipe on my blog Beets me, which has been a part of my everyday life ever since!

• Do you watch any cooking shows or youtube channels?

I do love YouTube when it comes to cooking! There are quite a few channels that I follow and watch. My favorites are my fellow Greek cook who lives in the UK, Dimitris, Mushroom, and Take your Thyme, Veggie Savvy from Cyprus, The Happy Pear which I truly love, Sam from It doesn’t taste like Chicken, and Chef Jana from Brazil, just to mention a few!

• Your favorite chef

I can’t say I have a favorite chef. There are many people that I love their way of cooking or what they make. All the above for example! Dimitris from Mushroom and Take your Thyme has a great sense of flavors, The Happy Pear make incredible dishes! There are also some other people here in Greece that I watch and love their work. For example, Giorgis Vaidanis (Bamboo Vegan, Badass Herbivore Chef) makes super scrumptious dishes, Kaiti Pikiou from Glykos Syndiasmos is also a great cook! So I would just say that there are many people out there that I consider great cooks and I would love to try something made by them!

• My favorite dishes

Anyone who follows my blog would already know that I love pasta. Any kind, anyway! Most people when watching a movie like to have a pizza with it or popcorn I love a big bowl of pasta! My favorite dish would have to be an Italian one that I veganized some time ago Pene il Diabolo. Penes pasta with a spicy chipotle sauce and sauteed soy chunks! But I also love burgers! And what I truly love about vegan burgers is that you can have so many different burgers that a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to try them all! So many different flavors, textures, and combinations that you don’t get on non-vegan burgers.

• My favorite dish that we are going to cook

For today I decided that we should make something more traditionally Greek. Which is also one of my all-time favorite summer dishes. Mousakas! Mousakas is a well-known dish that has four layers. The bottom layer is fried potatoes, the second layer is fried eggplant slices, the third layer bolognese sauce, and the top layer is a creamy béchamel sauce. But for today we will be making a lighter version (no frying!), and of course, it will be vegan! The flavors and aromas will still be all there and I guarantee you that this dish will take you all the way to Greece! Mousakas is a favorite one because it always reminds me of fun Greek summers by the sea. Most Greeks still cook seasonal dishes depending on what is available at the time so we usually wait from September till June to have a piece of this delicious treat and I find that extremely fascinating! Also, it is one of those dishes that my father used to make, and he was really good at it!

Vegan Moussaka
Konstantinos’ Vegan Moussaka

• What I do different

For me when cooking we soy it is all about the cooking time! And red wine. You have to take the time to saute the soy mince until it starts to crisp up and then add the wine. Otherwise, you will end up with a mushy consistency! Also, the spices play a huge part in this recipe. Clove and allspice do all the difference when it comes to flavor!

• What’s next for me

Right now I am working on translating my blog in English since it is only in Greek and working on my YouTube channel which will get a makeover by September. For the past year, I had quite a few requests from people around the world to translate some of my recipes in English so I thought it would be interesting to see where this would lead me.”

Recipe

7 Layer Vegetarian Moussaka

Vegetarian Greek Moussaka

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Light, healthy, and nourishing 7 layered Greek Moussakas is a vegetarian recipe with layers of potato, eggplant, zucchini, creamy bechamel, and tomato sauce with ground tofu. Baked for 40 mins at 325F. Pure deliciousness.

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 2 - 3 eggplants

  • 2 - 3 zucchinis
  • 3 medium potatoes (sweet or white)

  • Olive oil

  • Thyme

  • Salt


Sauce:

  • 14oz extra firm tofu or 2 cups cooked and strained lentils
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup red dry wine (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp clove (or 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 cup peeled tomato (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste, always!)
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Bechamel:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, heated
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Instructions

Veggies

  1. Slice eggplants, zucchini, and potatoes lengthwise, roughly 1.5 cm thick. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and thyme on both sides.
  2. Either pan sear all the veggies in a cast iron (heavy bottom) skillet for 2 mins on each side Or you bake them in an oven at 450F for 20 mins (10 mins on each side)

Tofu

  1. Place tofu on a plate or flat strainer and press it with some weight. 10" cast iron skillet comes in very handy for this job.
  2. After 20 mins or so, take the dried-ish tofu in a mixing bowl and crush it with hands or a fork. You are looking to get a scramble consistency.
  3. Lightly salt it and cook this down in a pan with a little bit oil, just enough to grease the pan, on a medium-high flame.
  4. After 5 minutes of cooking,

Tomato Sauce

  1. Add olive oil in a pan on medium-high flame. Once hot, add cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves. After a minute, add onions and garlic and lightly season it with salt. Adding some salt at this stage will help onions release water faster and accelerates cooking time. Let the onions cook for 5 minutes until translucent. You are not looking for a dark color.
  2. Add smoked paprika, cumin powder, thyme, and cook for another minute or so. Keep stirring occasionally.
  3. Add peeled tomatoes and some more salt and let it cook down for 10-15 minutes until the mix is reduced to roughly 2/3rd of its volume. In simple terms, you are cooking the water out, concentrating the flavor.
  4. Add black pepper, cooked tofu (or any other ground protein of your choice), and water, mix everything and cook for another 10 mins on medium flame until everything combines together.

Bechamel Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan on low flame, melt butter and add flour and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add hot milk and keep stirring. A small whisk also works great for this. Make sure no lumps are formed.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg and remove from flame once thick.

Finally Assembly and Bake

  1. Take a 9"x 9" baking tray and lightly coat it with olive oil
  2. Layer 1 - Line the potatoes on the bottom such that they are slightly overlapping each other and there are no gaps for sauce to seep through.
  3. Layer 2 - Add a layer of eggplants and sprinkle some salt and thyme
  4. Layer 3 - Add half the tomato sauce and spread evenly. Add half the prepared bechamel spread evenly.
  5. Layer 5 - Layer the cooked zucchini.
  6. Layer 6 - Layer with the remaining eggplant and sprinkle a pinch of salt.
  7. Layer 7 - Layer remaining tomato sauce and lastly layer the remaining bechamel such that tomato sauce is not visible
  8. Bake for 40 mins at 325F. For extra color turn on the broiler on for the last 3 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye and do not burn the bechamel.
  9. Once done remove from oven and let cool for at least an hour before cutting. Trust me! this is the hardest part but it is important!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 488Total Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 70gSugar: 16gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. I would not make any major life decisions based on this.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram(tag @t_as_in_tarun and #acrosskitchenlines)

Closing words:

If you ask me why I cook, collaborate, and share my experiences. The dish is the answer! To make new friends and keep the current ones happy :). Working with Konstantinos was great fun and I highly encourage you to check out his blog and youtube channel.

Greek moussaka is a my new favorite way to eat more eggplant and an awesome addition to my weekly meal prep dish list as it stores well and easy to replenish.

If you are looking for any help in making this recipe or trying a vegetarian diet in general, feel free to reach out to me. You can comment here or DM me on Instagram. If you give this recipe a try, share your pictures with me on Instagram @t_as_in_tarun or use #acrosskitchenlines.  If you have a recipe you want to cook with me, count me in! Please send me a message or leave a comment.

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