Moussaka Recipe

Origin and Region:
Moussaka is a traditional dish that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, with variations found in countries like Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. It is especially popular in Greece, where it is considered a national dish and a staple of Greek cuisine.

Moussaka is a hearty and flavorful casserole dish made with layers of eggplant, spiced meat sauce, and creamy béchamel sauce. It is a comforting and satisfying meal that is perfect for family dinners and special occasions.

For the meat sauce:

  • 1 lb ground lamb or beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking

For the eggplant layers:

  • 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • Salt for sweating the eggplant

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Optional toppings:

  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Crumbled feta cheese


  • Choose firm and shiny eggplants for the best results.
  • Salting the eggplant slices before cooking helps remove excess moisture and bitterness.
  • Allow the moussaka to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving to allow the layers to set.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture, then pat dry with paper towels.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the ground lamb or beef to the skillet and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Drain any excess fat.
  5. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. While the meat sauce is simmering, make the béchamel sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Cook until the sauce has thickened, then remove from heat. Stir in the ground nutmeg, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon half of the meat sauce over the eggplant, then top with another layer of eggplant slices. Pour the remaining meat sauce over the eggplant.
  9. Pour the béchamel sauce over the top of the moussaka, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  10. Bake the moussaka in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
  11. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
  12. Garnish the moussaka with chopped fresh parsley and crumbled feta cheese, if desired, before serving.

Moussaka is a classic Mediterranean dish that features layers of eggplant, spiced meat sauce, and creamy béchamel sauce. It is hearty, flavorful, and comforting, making it a favorite in Greek cuisine and beyond. This traditional recipe captures the essence of Moussaka with its rich layers of flavor and satisfying texture.

Nutritional Information:

  • Serving size: 1 slice (about 1/8 of the moussaka)
  • Calories: 320
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 460mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 18g

(Nutritional information is approximate and may vary based on ingredients used and serving size.)

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