Traditional Greek Eggplant Moussaka
This traditional Greek recipe is soon to be your favorite meal! This moussaka made of layers or beef, eggplants, and béchamel sauce is really irresistible!
Start with cutting the eggplants to thick slices. Season them with salt and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Rinse the eggplants, pat them dry and fry in oil. If you're not a fan of fried food you can place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet drizzle them with olive oil and bake them at 400F/200C until golden.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the meat and cook until browned. Drain off any excess fat.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce has thickened.
- Meanwhile prepare the béchamel sauce. In a pan over medium-low heat melt the butter. Add the flour while whisking continuously until it forms a paste. Slowly add the milk. Keep whisking in order to prevent lumps.
Remove the sauce from the stove and stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, and parmesan (save a little bit to sprinkle on top).
- To assemble the moussaka, spread half of the eggplant slices in a layer in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Top with the meat sauce. Add a second layer of eggplant, top with the béchamel sauce. Smooth it out and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Bake your moussaka in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for about 1 hour or until golden.
Wait for the moussaka to cool down a bit before cutting into pieces.
Serve warm and enjoy!
- Use good quality eggplants. The eggplants should be firm and free of blemishes.
- You can garnish the moussaka with chopped parsley or mint.
- If you are using ground beef, you can brown it in a separate skillet before adding it to the tomato sauce. This will help to prevent the moussaka from being too greasy.
- You can add other vegetables to the meat sauce, such as carrots, celery, or peppers.
- For a richer flavor, you can add a splash of red wine to the meat sauce.
- You can make the moussaka ahead of time and freeze it, assemble the moussaka but do not bake it. Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake it, leave it ne the fridge overnight and then bake it according to the recipe instructions.
- Moussaka is a labor of love that requires some time and effort. Take your time to layer the ingredients and ensure each component is well-prepared for the best results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Moussaka is a classic Mediterranean dish with layers of eggplant (aubergine), often with ground meat (usually beef or lamb), tomatoes, onions, and a creamy bechamel sauce. It's baked to perfection and is popular in Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Yes, there are vegetarian versions of Moussaka that omit the meat. Instead, they often use additional layers of vegetables or legumes like lentils to create a hearty, meatless dish.
Moussaka pairs well with a variety of side dishes, including Greek salads, tzatziki sauce, pita bread, or a simple cucumber and yogurt salad. These fresh and tangy accompaniments complement the richness of the dish.