Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mushroom Moussaka

This drug called 'Limnos' . . . it's good stuff! It puts you in a trance of heavenly bliss, keeping you hopelessly relaxed and carefree for the entire time you are exposed to this beautiful Greek island.

Tony and I are both addicted. That's why we come here every year. And we don't care if we do nothing but eat, sleep and watch the Limnian world go by. Perhaps a little more 'eat' than we should but this is what the lure of Limnos does to us!

A few nights ago we ate at a wonderful little port-side restaurant, Glaros Taverna, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted, for the second time on a Greek island menu, Vegetarian Moussaka! It was surprising enough to find one of these on the menu at Argo Restaurant in Santorini last year, but to find Vegetarian Moussaka in Limnos was nothing short of a miracle.

Needless to say, the vegetarian moussaka at Glaros was delicious! Tony and I plan to visit again for lunch in the next few days when I will write a proper review of the taverna and the food. And I have a few Limnian taverna reviews up my sleeve already which I will be posting very soon.

It may have been well over a year ago, but I haven't forgotten a promise I made to share with you a recipe for vegetarian moussaka using mushrooms. Over the last week of family lunches we have enjoyed this dish twice here in Limnos – one was Koula's recipe, the other mine – so what better time than now, while it's fresh in my food-obsessed mind, to finally write the post for mushroom moussaka.

Today I am combining elements of both recipes to share with you the ultimate vegetarian moussaka made with fresh mushrooms, eggplant, potato and zucchini.

Mushroom Moussaka

Serves 6


  • 4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes, sliced lengthways, 1 cm thick
  • 2 large eggplants, sliced lengthways, 1 cm thick
  • 3 zucchinis, sliced lengthways, 1 cm thick
  • 500g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing vegetables

Bechamel Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 30g butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Brush bottom of a 30cm x 30cm (approx) deep baking dish with olive oil and arrange potato slices in one layer over the oil. Brush top of potatoes with more oil and place dish on lower rack in oven.
  3. Lay eggplants over an oiled baking tray, brushing slices liberally with olive oil, and place tray on upper rack in oven.
  4. Place 1/4 cup of olive oil and onions in a medium-sized saucepan and fry over medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms to saucepan and fry, stirring, until liquid is released from mushrooms. Keep frying until all liquid except the oil has evaporated.
  6. Add red wine and stir for 2 minutes, still over medium to high heat.
  7. Add spices, oregano and bay leaves and cook for another minute or so.
  8. Add chopped tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for one hour, or until sauce has thickened and reduced by around half.
  9. When eggplant is lightly golden (around 30 minutes), remove from oven and allow to cool enough to remove eggplant from tray and set aside.
  10. Re-oil the baking tray and lay zucchini slices on tray. Brush with oil and place back in oven.
  11. Remove dish with potatoes from oven once potatoes are lightly golden (around 40 minutes).
  12. Spread a small amount of mushroom/tomato sauce over potatoes and arrange eggplants over the sauce.
  13. Pour the remaining mushroom/tomato sauce over eggplants and spread evenly.
  14. Meanwhile make the béchamel sauce (see below).
  15. Once zucchini are lightly golden (around 20 minutes), remove from oven and when cool enough to touch, add to dish, laying over mushroom/tomato sauce. 
  16. Pour béchamel sauce over the top of the zucchinis and bake in oven for 45 minutes, until the top is golden.

Bechamel Sauce
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. 
  2. Add flour and stir vigorously to make a soft paste. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for one minute. 
  3. Remove from heat and add a small amount of milk and using a whisk, stir quickly to combine. The butter will cool and harden as the milk is added so you need to work quickly, adding more and more milk, a little at a time, whisking all the time to keep the consistency of the sauce smooth. 
  4. Once all milk is incorporated, return saucepan to medium heat and stir constantly until sauce thickens – around 10 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and add grated cheese, nutmeg, salt and egg and whisk until smooth. Cover béchamel sauce and set aside until needed.


  1. What a lovely surprise to get a post in my bloglovin feed. This looks absolutely fantastic Lisa, a must make when the summer tomatoes start to peak in Australia. Lovely pics as always.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. And this recipe freezes really well too so I'll be looking forward to making a big batch of it when I return to Melbourne to have on hand for the many chilly nights I'm sure are still to come over the next few months!

  2. Right, it's decided! Tomorrow night's dinner is this moussaka preceded by the courgette and feta fritters you posted a couple of days ago! Rog is going to be in seventh heaven (and booking our next trip to Greece!!). Thank you.

    1. Great to see you here again Andrew! I hope the fritters and moussaka came together ok. I'd love to hear how it all went. Yes, we're the same – we always book our next trip to Greece as soon as we return to Australia from the last one. Have to keep that momentum going some how!

  3. I am the biggest fan of Greece.. the colours, the kitties and the food. Being a vegetarian I actually didn't find any veggie Mousakka so I am so keen to try your recipe!
    Bec x

    1. Hi Bec, it certainly is a rare thing to find vegetarian moussaka in Greece! Hopefully you get a chance to make this one. It's a little time consuming but really worth it :)

  4. love love love love your photos, esp. before and after ones! I have been to Greece twice, and hooked on the FOOD ever since! It's amazing how much the place has changed, but also how much has stayed the same. Maybe love of Greek food is a vegetarian thing, because I have always been a vegetarian at heart, even while I was being forced to eat dead animals - urgh. Not anymore, since about 5 years ago! and healthier than I've ever been! Now I'm off to the kitchen to start cooking : ) Thanks so much for your inspiration. Hope you enjoy your fabulous food forever. If I was in AU, I'd be knocking on your door demanding food : )

  5. Very nice photos. Will try the Moussaka with vegan alternatives ( e.g KoKo coconut milk..)
    Best wishes
    Will (Uk).

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