This Vegan Zucchini Moussaka is a spin on the classic Greek recipe but uses vegan ingredients. Delicious & Nutritous Comfort Recipe.
Our Vegan Zucchini Moussaka is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a cozy weeknight dinner or a dish to impress your guests, it’s a versatile option.
This recipe is plant-based using no animal products. It is an ethical choice both for those who follow a vegan lifestyle, or not. It is also nutrient-rich, and packed with vitamins and minerals, making this recipe a wholesome meal that will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.
If you love classic comfort food with a twist, you will enjoy this simple and delicious Vegan Zucchini Moussaka.
What is Moussaka?
Moussaka is a classic and well-loved dish in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It consists of layers of sliced vegetables, often eggplant (aubergine), zucchini, or potatoes, combined with a flavorful filling and topped with a rich bechamel sauce. The dish can vary in ingredients and preparation across different regions, but it is most commonly associated with Greek and Turkish cuisine.
The filling traditionally contains ground meat, often lamb or beef, but we prefer making the dish vegetarian or vegan by replacing the meat with plant-based alternatives.
Moussaka is known for its rich and hearty flavor, with layers of ingredients that meld together during baking, creating a satisfying and comforting dish.
Vegan Zucchini Moussaka Ingredients
This recipe consists of two elements:
- the zucchini moussaka
- a creamy cashew bechamel sauce
To make the Vegan Zucchini Moussaka you will need:
Zucchini: serves as the main vegetable in this dish, providing a pleasant, mild flavor and a tender texture. It’s a key component in creating the layers of the moussaka.
Potatoes: Thinly sliced potatoes add heartiness and a delightful starchiness to the dish. They help create substantial layers and contribute to the moussaka’s overall texture.
Onion: Finely chopped onion provides a savory base flavor to the moussaka. It adds depth and richness to the dish.
Garlic: Minced garlic infuses the moussaka with a wonderful aromatic flavor. It complements the other ingredients and gives the dish its characteristic Mediterranean flair.
Breadcrumbs: serve to bind the vegetable layers and absorb excess moisture, preventing the moussaka from becoming too watery. They also contribute to the dish’s texture and help it hold its shape when serving.
Fresh Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley adds a burst of freshness to the moussaka, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
Salt and Pepper: These seasonings are fundamental for enhancing the taste of the ingredients. They bring out the natural flavors and balance the dish’s overall taste.
Vegan Cheese: provides a cheesy, melty topping for the moussaka, adding a layer of indulgence and enhancing its overall appeal. It’s optional but adds a wonderful finish to the dish.
To make the Cashew Bechamel you will need:
Raw Cashews: Soaked cashews serve as the base for the creamy bechamel sauce. When blended, they provide a rich and velvety texture, making the moussaka creamy without the need for dairy products.
Olive Oil: adds a subtle, fruity note to the bechamel and helps to achieve a smooth, pourable consistency in the sauce.
Nutritional Yeast: contributes to the bechamel’s creamy texture but also imparts a cheesy, umami flavor. It enhances the overall richness of the dish, making it more satisfying.
Salt: A pinch of salt is essential to season the bechamel, balancing the flavors and highlighting the savory elements of the dish.
Water: is used to adjust the consistency of the bechamel sauce. It thins the sauce to a pourable state while maintaining its creaminess.
Garlic Powder: provides a subtle garlic flavor to the bechamel, complementing the rest of the moussaka’s flavors without the need for fresh garlic in the sauce.
How to make Vegan Zucchini Moussaka
To make this recipe we will first make the cashew bechamel, then prepare the vegetables, and lastly assemble the moussaka in a baking dish and bake.
Making the Cashew Bechamel:
Begin by preparing the creamy cashew bechamel sauce. To do this, first, soak your raw cashews in hot water for approximately 30 minutes. After the soaking period, drain and rinse the cashews thoroughly.
Transfer the soaked and drained cashews to a high-speed blender. Add the olive oil, nutritional yeast, a pinch of salt, water, and garlic powder to the blender. Blend the mixture on high speed until it transforms into a velvety and creamy sauce. You may need to adjust the sauce’s consistency by adding more water if necessary.
Don’t forget to taste and fine-tune the seasoning by adding more salt for desired saltiness or extra nutritional yeast for enhanced cheesiness. Once perfected, set the cashew bechamel sauce aside.
Preparing for Baking:
Preheat your oven to a temperature of 200°C (390°F) in preparation for baking the moussaka.
Prepare your baking dish by evenly greasing it with a bit of oil. Then, sprinkle breadcrumbs across the greased surface.
Making the Zucchini Moussaka:
Start by giving the zucchini a wash. Proceed to slice them into thin rounds, aiming for slices around 3-4 mm (approximately 1/8-inch) thick. If you have one, a mandoline slicer can assist in achieving even and consistent slices. We just used a food processor with a slicer attachment to do this super fast.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté these aromatic ingredients until they turn translucent and fragrant, which should take about 3-4 minutes.
Add the sliced zucchini to the skillet and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until they turn tender and golden brown in color. Remember to season the zucchini with salt and pepper. As a finishing touch, stir in some freshly chopped parsley and a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder for added flavor. Transfer the cooked zucchini to a colander to drain away any excess water.
Now, proceed to peel and slice the potatoes, utilizing a mandoline slicer if available. Give them a seasoning of salt and pepper, followed by a gentle toss to ensure an even distribution of the seasonings.
Assembling the Vegan Zucchini Moussaka:
Let’s bring the moussaka together. Start by layering the thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour a third of the prepared cashew bechamel sauce over this initial layer, followed by a sprinkle of grated vegan cheese.
Next, arrange half of the sautéed zucchini slices over the cheese layer. Repeat the layering process with more potatoes, cashew bechamel, grated vegan cheese, and the remaining zucchini slices.
Finish the assembly by pouring the remaining cashew bechamel sauce evenly over the top layer. For an added touch of texture and flavor, sprinkle breadcrumbs and more vegan grated cheese over the bechamel.
Place the baking dish into the preheated oven and allow it to bake for approximately 45-60 minutes. The aim is to have the vegetables tender and the top layer golden and slightly crispy.
Once fully baked, remove the moussaka from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
Serve your Vegan Zucchini Moussaka hot and, if desired, garnish it with extra fresh parsley for a burst of freshness.
We recommend serving it with a side of fresh green salad or a dollop of dairy-free sour cream for an extra layer of flavor and freshness.
To store Vegan Zucchini Moussaka properly, follow these guidelines to maintain its flavor and freshness:
Refrigeration: If you have leftovers or need to store the dish before serving, allow it to cool to room temperature first. Cover the baking dish with airtight plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Alternatively, transfer the moussaka to an airtight container. Place the covered or sealed dish in the refrigerator. This moussaka can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing (Optional): If you want to store it for a longer period, you can freeze this Moussaka. To do so, wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Make sure it’s well sealed to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
Reheating: When ready to eat the stored moussaka, you can reheat it in the oven at a moderate temperature (around 180°C / 350°F) until it’s heated through. Alternatively, you can use a microwave for shorter reheating times, but the oven will help maintain the dish’s texture and consistency better. If reheating from frozen, you may need to add a little extra time.
More zucchini recipes:
- 1000 grams (2.2 pounds) zucchini
- 800 grams (1.8 pounds) potatoes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup vegan grated cheese (optional)
- 200 grams (1 cup) raw cashews, soaked
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- pinch of salt
- 180 milliliter (3/4 cups) water
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Make the Cashew Bechamel: Soak your raw cashews in hot water for 30 minutes. Then, drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
- Add the soaked and drained cashews to a blender, along with olive oil, nutritional yeast, a pinch of salt, water, and garlic powder.
- Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency by adding more water if needed. Also taste and adjust the seasonings as needed, adding more salt to taste, or more nutritional yeast for cheesiness. Set the cashew bechamel aside.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C / 390°F.
- The make the Zucchini Moussaka: Wash the zucchini and potatoes. Slice them into thin rounds, about 3-4 mm (1/8-inch) thick. You can use a mandoline slicer for even slices.
- In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until they become translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sliced zucchini and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they become slightly tender and golden-brown in color. Season with salt and pepper and stir in some chopped parsley and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.
- Transfer the cooked zucchini to a colander to strain any excess water.
- Peel and slice the potatoes using a mandoline for even slices. Season with salt and pepper and give it a toss to combine.
- Prepare the baking dish: spread evenly with some oil to grease it, then sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs.
- Assemble the zucchini moussaka: start by layering the potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish. Pour a third of the cashew bechamel over the first layer and sprinkle with some grated vegan cheese on top. Next, layer half of the zucchini over the cheese. Top with another layer of potatoes and repeat with cashew bechamel, grated cheese, and a layer of zucchini. Finish by pouring the remaining cashew bechamel evenly over the top. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs and some vegan grated cheese on top of the bechamel.
- Place the baking dish into the preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the top is golden and slightly crispy.
- Once done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve your Vegan Zucchini Moussaka hot, garnished with extra fresh parsley if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 143mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 9g
Nutrition data is automatically calculated using Nutritionix and may not be accurate.