Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Moussaka

This vegetarian lentil and chickpea moussaka is absolutely worth the extra effort and time needed to make it. With layers of delicious lentil and chickpea stew, potatoes and aubergines, topped with a cheesy white sauce, you will not be disappointed.

This veggie lentil and chickpea moussaka has layers of delicious lentil and chickpea stew, potatoes and aubergines, topped with a cheesy white sauce, you will not be disappointed.

Moussaka has a long history, but the more modernized European version is probably the one you are most familiar with. It typically has layers of potato, aubergine and a meat sauce all deliciously topped with a bechamel layer. But in today’s world, where many of us enjoy more plant-based dishes, I thought it was high time there was an equally delicious alternative for the non-meat eaters.

This vegetarian lentil and chickpea moussaka will not disappoint. However, it is perhaps not one for a mid-week meal when you’re pushed for time. It may be better suited for when you have a couple of hours to immerse yourself in the kitchen. Which for me is one of life’s little joys, well apart from the washing up that comes with it of course!

Don’t be put off with the list of ingredients and instructions for this recipe, I promise you the extra time and effort is really worth it. Also, most of the ingredients are pretty standard cupboard or freezer staples, there is nothing remotely fancy or unusual in this one.

veggie lentil and chickpea moussaka

The story behind the Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Moussaka

The Moussaka that I am most familiar with is the Greek version which is traditionally layers of minced meat, aubergine and potato, topped with a thick layer of white sauce. We have been lucky enough to have a few holidays to Greece and despite the boiling heat I could never resist ordering and eating the moussaka. It is such a comfort food that is so full of flavour.

However, on a recent holiday in the UK, we bought a vegetarian option from Marks & Spencers (perhaps we may have been missing the beautiful Greek sunshine). But actually, we all really enjoyed it. Therefore the gauntlet was laid down by the family to recreate a WHK vegetarian moussaka and I think you’ll agree it’s pretty damn delicious.

As you have almost all of your main food groups in one dish, we simply served ours with extra greens. Why not try it with some roasted cabbage wedges

What you will need for the Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Moussaka :

  • Aubergines
    • A key ingredient for any moussaka
    • Are nutrient-dense which means that they contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fibre
  • Potatoes
    • good source of many vitamins and minerals
    • The other key ingredient to a delicious moussaka
  • Red and Green lentils
    • Great source of protein, fiber and B vitamins
    • Also helps to thicken the sauce
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
    • One of my favourites
    • Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats
  • Red onion
    • Bring an essential flavour and gentle sweetness
    • Frozen chopped onions work brilliantly as well
  • Carrots
    • A particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants
    • Adds some texture into the stew
  • Red pepper
    • Adds a lovely sweetness to the tomato based sauce plus a good hit of viatmin C
  • Garlic
    • Use fresh or fozen
    • You may want to increase the amout used depending on how garlicky you like your dishes
  • Tomato purée
    • Adds an extra intense tomatoey kick into the stew
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes
    • When heated they release more antioxidants.
    • They are a brilliant source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits
    • Also a great source of vitamin C and K
  • Chickpeas
    • A nutritional superstar rich in plant-based protein, full of fibre and nutrients
    • Give a nutty taste and a nice grainy texture to the dish
  • Brown sugar replacement
    • Adds the sweeteness to offset the acidity from the tomoatoes
    • If you don’t have a brown sugar replacement just use whatever white sweetener you have
    • You could of course also use sugar
  • Ground Cinnamon, Paprika, Bayleaf
    • They give this dish a fresh taste that characterises a traditional Greek Moussaka! 
  • Parsley and Oregano
    • Staple herbs that I always keep either as frozen or dried
    • Both are perfect flavaour additions in this moussaka

For the White Sauce:

  • Butter
  • Plain flour
  • Milk
  • Black pepper
  • Italian Hard cheese
    • Such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Kefalotyri or any of your favourite hard cheeses

Diabetes Note

I know a meal like this where the carbs are part of the dish can be tricky to count, but don’t let that put you off. All you have to do is calculate the totals of the ingredients that you would typically count for and then divide that by your serving size.

The serving size of 4 is very generous in this dish

Carb Counting

The overall carb count for a serving of the vegetarian lentil and chickpea moussaka based on the ingredients we would count is:

  • Potatoes = 600g – 105g of carbs
  • White flour = 60g – 48.5g of carbs
  • Semi-Skimmed Milk = 18.8g of carbs

Now add all the carbs together – 105+48.5+18.8= 172.3

Finally divide this by the serving size, 4 – 172.3/4 = 43g of carb per portion

Please note this carb count amount per portion is based on the standard ingredients listed above and may differ depending on what you use and how much you choose to eat.

Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Moussaka

Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Moussaka

This vegetarian lentil and chickpea moussaka is absolutely worth the extra effort and time needed to make it. With layers of delicious lentil and chickpea stew, potatoes and aubergines, topped with a cheesy white sauce, you will not be disappointed. .

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Course: Main


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  • 4 medium aubergines, sliced into rounds about 1cm thick

  • 600 g potatoes, sliced into rounds about 1cm thick

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 100 g dried red lentils

  • 100 g dried green lentils

  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped

  • 1 large red pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, 400g/14oz

  • 1 can chickpeas, 400g/14oz

  • 1 tsp brown sweetener/sugar

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh/frozen parsley

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • For the white sauce:
  • 60 g butter

  • 60 g plain flour

  • 400 ml milk

  • black pepper

  • 100 g hard cheese like Parmigiano, grated

Directions for the prep of the aubergine, potato and stew

  • Lay the aubergine slices on baking trays and roast in a preheated oven 200C/180C Fan for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn them over and roast them for a further 10 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and leave to one side.
  • While the aubergines are roasting, place the sliced potatoes into a pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain them and leave them to steam in the colander.
  • Next in a large saucepan gently fry the onion, pepper, carrot and garlic for around 10 minutes or until beautifully soft. Stir occasionally
  • Then add the tomato puree, spices and herbs. Mix well and heat for a further 2 minutes
  • Now add the lentils, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas including the water, sweetener or sugar and mix well.
    Add a further 1/2 can of water, season really well with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  • Leave the stew to simmer away gently, stirring occasionally so the lentils don’t stick for around – 25 minutes. You may want to add a little more water if needed, but don’t make it too wet as we want this stew to be lovely and thick.
  • While the stew is cooking you can make the white sauce
  • Directions For the white sauce:
  • On a low heat, melt the butter gently in a saucepan.
  • Add the flour and mix well. I like to use a whisk to stop any lumps from forming.
  • Once a roux has formed (a thick paste) slowly add the milk and keep whisking continuously until all the milk has been added.
  • Leave the sauce on a low heat and continue to whisk gently. You should feel the sauce thicken. This should only take a few minutes.
  • Remove from the heat when you have reached a thick consistency and leave to one side
  • To assemble the moussaka
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C
  • In an ovenproof dish, measuring 9inchx9inch / 24cmx24cm add half of your stew.
    Don’t forget to remove your bay leaf!
  • Next, add a layer of potatoes
  • Now add a layer of aubergines
  • And repeat again. Add the remainder of your stew, a potato layer and finally an aubergine layer.
  • Finally, add the white sauce, topping with the grated hard cheese.
    Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, and is bubbling with a beautiful crunchy golden top

Tips and Notes

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