Global Comfort Food: Roasted Vegetable Moussaka

By Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD | January 27, 2021 | Rally Health


Serves 8

Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Described by some as a Greek variation of lasagna, traditional moussaka is made by layering a meaty lamb-based tomato sauce with fried or roasted eggplant slices and a rich Bechamel cream sauce in a casserole dish before topping it with cheese and baking. Sounds like the quintessential form of global comfort food, right? I agree! But the classic dish is also pretty labor-intensive, as well as loaded in calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

This vegetarian variation manages to deliver the same flavors and heartiness that the classic dish is known for but in a healthier way by swapping the lamb for lentils and the Bechamel for a lighted cheese sauce. The result is a delicious, satisfying meal that also packs plenty of calcium and iron.


  • 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cup cooked lentils
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp nutmeg, divided
  • ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups 1% milk
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Place eggplant slices on clean kitchen towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse salt off eggplant; pat dry.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss eggplant and zucchini slices with 1 Tbsp olive oil, garlic powder, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Spread across a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast vegetables 15 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool.

3. While vegetables roast, heat 1 ½ tsp oil in a large skillet with sides. Saute onion and garlic in hot oil 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, broth, oregano, ½ tsp nutmeg, and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook 12 minutes.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of eggplant and zucchini, 1/3 cup feta cheese, and 1/2 of tomato mixture. Repeat layers, finishing the last 1/3 of eggplant and zucchini on top.

5. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

6. While casserole bakes, melt butter with 1 ½ tsp oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir flour into butter. Then slowly whisk in milk, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in pepper, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Pour over casserole, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1/8 of casserole): Calories 210; Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 3g); Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 470mg; Total Carbs 25g (Dietary Fiber 7g, Total Sugars 8g, Added Sugars 0g); Protein 11g.

This recipe is from Comfort Foods From Around the World.


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