msakaa Lebanese vegan dish

Lebanese Moussaka- Eggplant Chickpea Stew

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If you’re looking for a quick vegetarian eggplant recipe, this is the right place for you! Lebanese Moussaka is easy to make, healthy, and perfect for the whole family!

msakaa Lebanese vegan dish

What is Lebanese Moussaka?

Lebanese Moussaka is a popular Middle Eastern eggplant chickpea stew, also known as Maghmour, Msakaa, Musakaa or Moussaka Batinjan; Batinjan translates to eggplant in Arabic. It is different from the the Greek layered casserole type of dish.Moussaka starts with eggplant that’s cubed and cooked until golden brown. While that’s happening, onion and garlic are sautéed and then stewed in a delicious rich tomato sauce before cooked chickpeas and eggplants are added. This eggplant stew is an easy protein packed meat- free meal that is great for meal prep. 

Eggplant in Lebanese Moussaka: 

In the authentic version of this vegetarian chickpea and eggplant moussaka recipe, eggplant is usually deep fried. In this recipe, I used my air fryer to cook the eggplants. So if you are looking for a healthier moussaka version, I suggest air frying or baking the eggplants. They will taste just the same, if not even better! Check out the section below for roasted eggplant tips. 

eggplant and chickpea stew

Eggplant Moussaka Ingredients: 

This eggplant Moussaka require a few ingredients, including:

  • Eggplant: Air fried, baked or deep fried.

  • Cooked chickpeas: You will need about 3 cups of cooked chickpeas. 

  • Onion: Sliced into wedges. 

  • Garlic: Sliced into circles. 

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Fresh tomatoes: I like to blend ripe tomatoes using a food processor, but you can also finely dice the tomatoes. 

  • Tomato paste

  • Salt

Air Fryer Eggplant for Lebanese Moussaka: 

  • Preheat air fryer to to 400 F°.
  • Peel the eggplant skin off in stripes, don’t remove the skin entirely and cut into bite size cubes. 

peeled eggplant and cubed

  • Place in air fryer basket in a single layer (you might need to cook in batches). Cook for 15-20 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes to make sure they cook evenly

eggplant in the air fryer

How to Cook Eggplant in the Oven: 

If you don’t own an air fryer, you can roast the eggplant cubes instead. 

    • preheat the oven to 425ºF.
    • Arrange eggplant cubes in a single layer on a greased parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with a pinch of salt. 
    • Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the eggplant.  Toss to make sure that the eggplant is coated completely.
    • Bake the eggplant until just fork tender, about 25 minutes. 

Tips to Making the Best Lebanese Eggplant Moussaka: 

  • Authentically, the eggplant is usually deep fried in this recipe, which you can certainly do! I think that air frying the eggplant is just as good, without all the extra fats. 
  • Instead of canned chickpeas, you can cook your own dry chickpeas. Just remember to soak them overnight, then boil until they’re just soft and tender. 
  • You can use canned tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes. 

Lebanese moussaka

How to Serve Lebanese Moussaka: 

Moussaka translates to cold in Arabic and is typically served cold or at room temperature by scooping it with bite size pieces of pita bread. We enjoy it, cold, warm and hot. It would make the perfect dish for slow weekend dinners, or you could make it ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week! 

Eggplant is one versatile ingredient that you can use in many delicious ways. I have a couple of recipes that use eggplant on the blog, Vegetarian Eggplant Chickpea Fatteh and Baba Ganoush- Eggplant Dip.  

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #thesaltandsweetkitchen on Instagram

How to Make Lebanese Moussaka Stew: 

Yield: 6

Lebanese Moussaka- Eggplant chickpea Stew

msakaa Lebanese vegan dish

This Lebanese Moussaka is a delicious vegan eggplant and chickpea stew cooked in rich tomato sauce. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 2 medium Eggplants- pealed and cut into cubes
  • 2 15 oz chickpeas cans- rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Large Onion, sliced in thin wedges
  • 5 Garlic cloves, cut into rounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe tomato (blended or finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1.5 cups Water


Prepare the Eggplant for Air Frying:

  1. Pre heat air fryer temperature to 400 F° and grease basket with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the eggplant skin off in stripes, don't remove the skin entirely.
  3. Cut into 2 inches cubes.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and mix lightly to coat. 
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes to make sure they cook evenly. 
  6. Set aside.

Prepare Eggplant Moussaka:

  1. In a medium size pot over medium heat, heat olive and add onion and 1 teaspoon salt, cook until wilted but not browned- about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Then add garlic and cook for additional 2 minutes more minutes.
  3. Add water, tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, mix well and bring to a boil.
  4. Add chickpeas and eggplant, lower heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Transfer to a serving plate.
  6. Garnish with fresh herbs if you'd like.
  7. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 17gSugar: 15gProtein: 15g

Comments (4)

  • Hi! Thank you for trying my recipe! I hope it’s as good as your mom’s. Yes, “Moussaka” translates to cold in Arabic 🙂 Please let me know how it turned out for you.

  • Wish I had copies of Mama’s recipes I, just finished making it, haven’t tasted it yet. Looks, smells delicious. Is this the same dish she used to call “Musaqha” Arabic meaning cold? I loved cooking with ???
    Thank you, can’t wait for everyone to come so I can dig in

  • Hello Christiann, yes 1.5 cups of water is enough especially that you are also going to add the diced or blended tomatoes which adds some juice.

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