Comforting, hearty and flavorful this Eggplant Moussaka Recipe ticks all the boxes for your for taste and goodness so give it a go because we know you will love it. Especially as it’s vegetarian and vegan!
Prep: 12 mins Cook: 20 mins Total: 32 mins Serves 6
Moussaka is a Middle Eastern recipe that’s made with layers of eggplant, potatoes and ground meat.
There are many variations of the recipe all over the Middle East, but the Greek Moussaka tends to be the most popular. This version is without potatoes or pasta sheets to keep it low carb, keto-friendly, but you can add these ingredients to bulk it up.
How to make moussaka
There’re 4 components to Moussaka:
- cooking the eggplant;
- the meat sauce, a rich Bolognese type sauce made with lamb or beef but with traditional Greek flavours of oregano and cinnamon;
- thick béchamel sauce – thicker than used in Lasagna and things like Broccoli Gratin, it’s semi-set using eggs;
- layering it all up, lasagna style.
1. Prepare the eggplant
First, you’ll want to cut the eggplant and sweat it by sprinkling the slices with salt. Allow it time to let the moisture release from the eggplant. You can then dab the moisture with a paper towel, set the eggplant on a baking dish and bake them in the middle rack. Traditionally the eggplant is fried. But I think baking it is not only healthier, but faster.
2. Cook the meat sauce
The meat sauce is what gives the Mousakka it’s full flavour and we suggest using ground beef, onions, garlic and All Spice seasoning. Fry everything together, once browned drain out the fat.
Now, add canned diced tomatoes and vegetable broth and stir to combine until the sauce thickens.
3. Make the bechamel sauce
To make the bechamel sauce, it’s the basic roux recipe of flour and butter with milk. I also like to add parmesan cheese at the end and whisk it into the bechamel sauce or top it at the end.
4. Layer the moussaka ingredients
When you have the three integral parts of the moussaka recipe, you can start to layer everything. Start with 1/3 of the eggplant, followed by half the meat mixture. Then, add another 1/3 of the eggplant slices and the remaining meat mixture. Use the back of a wooden spoon to really pat down everything so it’s nice and compact.
Layer according to your preference (eggplant at the bottom, meat on top, final layer of eggplant). Top with bechamel sauce and shredded parmesan cheese.
A baking dish of 9×9, or 9×13 should avoid anything spilling over.
Bake it uncovered for about 20-25 minutes. All ingredients are essentially cooked already, so the signal that it’s done is when the bechamel sauce gets golden in color, and the cheese starts to melt and bubble.
- Always roast or grill the eggplant first. There are many recipes out there on how to do a quicker version.
Numerous ways to cut corners.
And while we know you are busy, for results when it comes to Moussaka – pre roasting is it! Whatever you do, please do not layer the eggplant without roasting (or grilling) it first!
- Make this in stages if pressed for time. The eggplant can be roasted or grilled ahead and refrigerated. Same with the tomato-meat sauce. Same with the Bechamel! Then just assemble and bake.
- Bake this ahead. The Eggplant Moussaka tastes even better the next day, so feel free to make and bake and ahead, and reheat before serving!
- Salting the eggplant reduces bitterness.