Vegetarian moussaka with kataifi pastry

Vegetarian moussaka with kataifi pastry

Elisa Watson

Kataifi, a kind of shredded filo pastry, plays a traditional role in Greek and Levantine treats. This moussaka is a great dish for easy entertaining: it can be made the day before, refrigerated and then topped with the pastry just before cooking.


Quantity Ingredient
5 large potatoes, cut into 1/2cm clices
sea salt, for seasoning
freshly cracked black pepper, for seasoning
5 oregano sprigs, leaves picked
4 large eggplants, cut into 1 cm slices
6 large zucchinis, cut into 1/2 cm slices
250g kataifi pastry
rocket, to serve

Bechamel sauce

Quantity Ingredient
100g butter
100g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 litre milk
sea salt, to taste

Tomato sauce

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large ones, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons light brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat (do not brown). Stir in the flour and cook for 1–2 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Take off the heat.
  3. Heat the milk in another saucepan over low heat until warm, then pour over the warm flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture back over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the bechamel is thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt.
  4. To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a heavybased saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and reduce the heat to low for 5 minutes, or until the onion has just softened. Stir in the vinegar and simmer for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and sugar and increase the heat to medium. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about one third. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  5. Ladle a quarter of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Layer over half the potatoes, placing the pieces close together to ensure that there are no gaps. Season well with salt and pepper, then scatter over half the oregano leaves. Next, layer over half the eggplant, and sprinkle over half the feta. Layer half the zucchini slices over the feta. Spread another quarter of the tomato sauce on top, then add add a layer of the bechamel sauce.
  6. Repeat these layers with the other half of the ingredients, starting with the potatoes and ending with the remaining tomato and bechamel sauces. Finally, top the moussaka with the kataifipastry.
  7. Cover the moussaka with foil and transfer it to the oven to bake for 1½ hours, removing the foil for the final 30 minutes to crisp up the pastry. Serve with rocket on the side.
Jewish cooking
Chicken soup
Yom kippur
Dinner party
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