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This easy Eggplant Moussaka recipe is quick to prep and makes a tasty weeknight meal. This simple recipe is packed full of authentic flavors and is made with a handful of simple ingredients. This healthy Greek moussaka recipe is low carb and low in calories and fat.
Eggplant moussaka is a hearty, delicious and unique dish that that’s great for a family! I love that the recipe uses very staple ingredients, but the flavorful is very unique!
What is eggplant moussaka
Moussaka is 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 that I make is without potatoes to keep it low carb, keto-friendly, and simplify the recipe.
Whatever variation of moussaka you make, the layers of eggplant, meat sauce and the bechamel sauce that covers it all is truly something unique and delicious. In a way, it reminds me of Shepard’s pie and has a very Mediterranean flavor to it. Yet the ingredients you’ll need to make it are very common and simple.
How to make eggplant moussaka
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 basically something I make all the time. It’s Lebanese hashweh, which is made of ground beef, onions, garlic and All Spice seasoning. Cook everything together, then 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 ⅓ of the eggplant, followed by half the meat mixture. Then, add another ⅓ 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.
The top layer is the eggplant, followed by the bechamel sauce and shredded parmesan cheese. My baking dish was 8×8, and I really should have used 9×9 or even 9×13 to avoid anything spilling over.
Then it’s time to bake the eggplant moussaka. You’ll want to bake it uncovered for about 20-25 minutes. All the 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.
When you remove it from the oven, let it rest for half an hour before you slice into it. You’ll enjoy it that much more and it won’t fall apart that way when you serve it.
Tips to make best Eggplant Moussaka recipe
- Peel the skin off the eggplant. The skin on the eggplants can very tough and chewy, making it hard to cut through. It can also taste pretty bitter and take away from the dish. So if you’re serving it to kids or want an overall more cohesive appearance, I would recommend peeling off the skin.
- Sweat the eggplant. Sweating the eggplant is very important when baking it in a casserole because it holds a lot of water, which can ultimately ruin the moussaka. To prevent the moussaka from being watery, make sure to lay the eggplant on a paper towel, sprinkle lightly with salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. You’ll notice small beads of moisture all over the eggplant . After half an hour, you can use a paper towel to wipe off the moisture.
- Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for best flavor. While the meat mixture is made up for only a few ingredients, using broth really dials up the flavor of those few ingredients. It adds an extra dimension without adding additional vegetable prep.
- Leave the moussaka to rest before serving. I recommend half an hour. That way, the pieces stay together better when you cut and serve them. It’s similar to lasagna in that way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Moussaka is a hearty dish that is full of flavor, so I like to keep it simple and serve it with a fresh side salad. If you are looking for a fuller meal, a side of Mediterranean Tomato Brown Rice Pilaf or Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice would work really well!
Lasagna and moussaka definitely have their similarities with the layers of ground meat, bechamel sauce and tomatoes. The main difference is that eggplant replaces pasta sheets which changes the texture of the dish and makes it low carb.
If you have any leftovers, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container and they will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze the moussaka for up to 3 months. Freeze it cut up into slices or all together in the baking dish. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through.
Yes, you can make this moussaka ahead of time! Simply assemble fully and cover in the fridge until ready to bake. Add 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.
If this eggplant moussaka brings back memories of a time you’ve eaten before, I hope you try my quicker version of the recipe. And if this recipe sounds interesting for you to try, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
If you love eggplant, be sure to check out my grilled eggplant recipe.
For more mediterranean recipes, check out:
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Easy Eggplant Moussaka recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Easy Eggplant Moussaka
For the bechamel sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk heated
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Dash ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture. Then place on a baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- In a large skillet, heat olive over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and All Spice seasoning. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until beef is browned, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the excess liquid from the beef. Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered, or until the mixture thickens.
- To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until it bubbles. Lower heat; gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly until it thickens. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Arrange ⅓ of the eggplant in a greased 9×9 inch baking dish. Cover eggplant with half of the meat mixture. Add another layer of ⅓ of the eggplant, followed by the remaining meat mixture. Cover with remaining eggplant. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top, and sprinkle with shredded cheese and the nutmeg.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden and bubbly. Allow to cool for half hour before slicing and serving.
- Instead of ground beef, you can use ground turkey. But traditionally this is made with ground lamb.
- Use fresh tomatoes along tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes if you prefer
- Instead of 1 teaspoon of allspice, you can use ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, and a pinch of ground nutmeg
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.