Moussaka in a black skillet, fresh out of the oven, ready to be served
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4.78 from 53 votes

Moussaka (Greek Eggplant "Lasagna")

Recipe video above. A traditional recipe for an iconic Greek dish! Layers of soft eggplant, rich beef or lamb filling lightly spiced with oregano and cinnamon, topped with a thick layer of bechamel sauce. It looks like a lot of steps but the recipe has a nice flow to it - I've popped prompts in the steps. :-)
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Moussaka
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 434kcal
Author: Nagi

Ingredients

Eggplant

  • 1 kg / 2 lb eggplant (aubergines) , 0.75cm / 0.3" thick slices
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil

Filling

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion , diced (brown, white, yellow)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1.4 lb / 700 g ground beef or lamb (mince) (Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) red wine , dry (optional)
  • 14 oz /400g crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) beef broth/stock (Note 2)
  • 1 beef bouillon cube , crumbled (or 1 tsp powder)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 tsp sugar (any)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or 1 stick, use whole)
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Bechamel Sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp plain flour
  • 2.5 cups (625 ml) milk (any fat %)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (50g) parmesan cheese, grated (or Kefalotiri Cheese) (Note 3)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1.25 tsp Vegeta, vegetable or chicken stock powder (or salt) (Note 4)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Topping

  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (Note 5)

Instructions

Eggplant (Note 6)

  • Place eggplant slightly overlapping in a large colander. Sprinkle with some salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
  • Leave to sweat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make Meat Sauce and Béchamel Sauce.
  • Preheat oven to 240C/450F. 
  • Pat eggplant dry - make sure to do this well, otherwise it's too salty. Lay on parchment paper lined trays (you might need 3 trays, work in batches), brush with oil.
  • Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned and softened . Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Meat Sauce

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or pot over high heat, then cook the garlic and onion for 2 minutes. 
  • Add the beef or lamb and cook until it changes from pink to brown, breaking it up as you go.
  • Add wine, cook for 1.5 minutes or until alcohol smell is gone.
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce.

Bechamel Sauce

  • Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Stirring constantly, slowly add the milk. Then stir regularly for 3 to 5 minutes or until it thickens so that it thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon (see video / step photos).
  • Remove from the stove and whisk in cheese, nutmeg, Vegeta/stock powder (or salt) and pepper.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then whisk the eggs in. Cover with lid until required.

Assemble

  • Lower oven to 180C/350F (all oven types).
  • Place half the eggplant in the bottom of a baking dish (I used my 26cm/9" Lodge skillet), then top with all the Filling.
  • Top with remaining eggplant, then pour over the Béchamel Sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs. 
  • Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

1. Meat - lamb is traditional, beef is equally delicious!
2. Beef stock - or use hot water plus 1 extra bouillon stock cube (or 1 tsp of powder)
3. Cheese - Traditionally this is made with grated Kefalotiri Cheese which is actually sold in some large supermarkets in Australia nowadays. But I've been making this with parmesan for years.
4. Stock powder - I like using Vegeta or chicken or vegetable stock powder to flavour the white sauce because it adds more flavour than plain salt and there's a LOT of sauce! But plain salt will do just fine too. (I would probably add a bit more cheese!)
5. Panko - Panko is totally not Greek, it's Japanese breadcrumbs. But I practically always use panko instead of normal breadcrumbs because the pieces are bigger so you get way better CRUNCH! Normal breadcrumbs totally ok. 
6. Eggplant - the salting removes excess liquid so the eggplant doesn't become soggy and make the moussaka watery once assembled. Also sometimes eggplant can be bitter and this removes the bitterness.
Some recipes fry, I prefer to bake because you use far less oil. But the quickest way to cook a big load of eggplant like in this recipe is on the BBQ - no need to salt if you do this, just brush with oil and cook on medium high 3 minutes or so on each side until softened!
7. FREEZING: Cook per recipe, then allow to cool. Cover tightly with cling wrap then freeze. To reheat, thaw then reheat at 180C/350F for 25 minutes uncovered or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out hot.
8. Nutrition per serving. Far lower carbs than Lasagna!!

Nutrition

Serving: 587g | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 1317mg | Potassium: 894mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Vitamin C: 6.9mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 4.1mg