Vegetarian Moussaka Recipe From "A Seat At My Table" Cookbook

By Kon & Sia Karapanagiotidis

Moussaka takes its name from the Arabic word 'musaqqa'ah' and was created when Arabs introduced eggplants (aubergines) to Greece. It is a beloved dish in Greek cooking, a dish we especially make at Easter and Christmas time to share with loved ones, and whenever we are looking for hearty comfort food at its best. I love eating this warm from the oven, and even cold the next day when it somehow tastes even better. You can too purchase a copy of the book HERE.



  • 1 litre (34 l oz) canola oil, for frying
  • 3 large potatoes, sliced 2 large eggplants
  • (aubergines), sliced
  • 2 large zucchinis (courgettes), sliced
  • 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) kasseri cheese, coarsely grated
  • 35 g (14 oz/1/³ cup) mizithra, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Tomato Sauce

  • 120 ml (4 l oz) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), grated
  • 700 g (1 lb 9 oz) mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 400 g (14 oz) crushed tomatoes/passata
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 3 cloves, crushed
  • 800 ml (27 l oz) water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 g (4 oz/½ cup) mint, finely chopped
  • 30 g (1 oz/½ cup) dill, finely chopped
  • 15 g (½ oz/½ cup) lat-leaf (+talian) parsley,
  • finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bechamel Sauce

  • 250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter
  • 90 g (3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1.5 litres (51 l oz/6 cups) milk 150g (5½ oz/1 cup) kasseri cheese, grated
  • 40g (1½ oz/1/³ cup) mizithra, finely grated
  • 2 eggs
  • pepper, to taste


Heat canola oil in a large frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add the sliced vegetables, in batches, and cook until golden and brown, taking care not to burn, as that flavour will permeate the dish. (Don’t put too many vegetable slices into the frying pan at the same time as they won’t fry properly.) Once cooked, transfer to a paper towel and set aside for at least 15 minutes to drain excess oil.


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion and sugar for about 3 minutes, stirring until caramelised. Add the garlic and fry for a couple more minutes, then add the carrot and zucchini and fry for another 5 minutes.

Add the mushroom and cook for a further 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, cloves, water and spices, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add herbs and cook for another 15-20 minutes to get a nice thick sauce (you do not want it to be watery). Season with salt and pepper. 


To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium- sized pot, then gradually add the flour and stir constantly until it thickens and forms a paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring

constantly over a medium heat until it thickens into a thick sauce. Stir through the grated kasseri and mizithra, crack eggs in and stir through. Season with pepper.


Preheat the oven to 200°C (390° ). Use a rectangular 3 litre (101 fl oz/12 cup) capacity ovenproof dish and grease with butter, and spread a little tomato sauce and béchamel sauce over the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of fried vegetables (mix up the vegetables rather than using a layer of just potatoes, for example) and sprinkle over half the kasseri cheese.

Repeat with another layer of tomato sauce, a little béchamel sauce, mixed vegetables and cheese.

Add a third layer of fried vegetables.

Pour remaining béchamel sauce over the top and garnish with grated nutmeg and mizithra.

Cook for 45 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 100°C and cook for a further 35-40 minutes until you get a golden brown crust.

Now as hard as this is, let the dish sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature before you cut it to serve, so that it holds its shape. If you cut it straight out of the oven, it will lose its shape and you will not do all your hard work justice.

Serve with a glass of Agiorgitiko Red wine or Xinomavro Red wine and Kali Orexi!

If you enjoyed this wholesome dish, then we think you'll absolutely love the following dishes as much:

Rabbit Stew from Ioannina, Epirus.

Chicken Soup Avgolemono from Crete.

Brown Lentils soup / Fakes recipe.



Replace the eggs with a vegan egg mix or leave out altogether and use a vegan butter, vegan cheeses and soy milk.


Just use a gluten free flour for the béchamel sauce.


When refrigerated, the leftovers can be enjoyed over the next few days. The flavours develop over time and become richer and more delicious.

This is an edited extract from A Seat at my Table: Philoxenia by Kon Karapanagiotidis published by Hardie Grant Books
Photography: Copyright photography © Sarah Pannell 2023,except page 274 © Dan Walls 2023

Shop our best sellers