Easy Eggplant Moussaka

4.97 from 122 votes

This Easy Eggplant Moussaka recipe is a quick version of the Greek dish made with layers of eggplant and spiced ground beef and topped with a bechamel sauce

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This easy Eggplant Moussaka recipe is quick to prep and makes a tasty weeknight meal. This hearty eggplant recipe is packed full of authentic Greek flavors. Made with tender slices of roasted eggplant, a rich and flavorful meat sauce, and a creamy and nutty bechamel sauce, this simple eggplant moussaka recipe is a true celebration of Mediterranean flavors.

Baked eggplant moussaka with a serving removed on a plate nearby and a spatula lifting up another serving.

Table of Contents

  1. What is eggplant moussaka?
  2. Why you’ll love this Simple EggPlant Moussaka
  3. Ingredients to make Eggplant MoussakA
  4. How to make eggplant moussaka
  5. Tips For making The best Eggplant Moussaka recipe
  6. Popular Substitutions & Additions
  7. How to store & reheat
  8. Can I freeze Eggplant Moussaka?
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. For more Mediterranean recipes, check out:
  11. Easy Eggplant Moussaka Recipe

Whether you’re serving this moussaka for a special occasion or just for a cozy weeknight dinner, this easy eggplant casserole is guaranteed to impress your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied and content. So, preheat your oven, gather your ingredients, and let’s get started on this delicious journey!

What is eggplant moussaka?

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 that I make is without potatoes to keep it low-carb 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.

Why you’ll love this Simple EggPlant Moussaka

  • Easy to make: Even with its impressive flavor and presentation, this moussaka is surprisingly easy to make, with simple and straightforward steps that will have you enjoying a delicious meal in no time.
  • It’s versatile: You can customize this recipe to your liking by using different meats, adjusting the spices, or adding your favorite veggies.
  • Crowd-pleaser: Whether you’re serving this moussaka for a special occasion, a dinner party, or just for a weeknight meal, this recipe is sure to be a hit with everyone. Its flavors and textures are sure to please even the pickiest eaters.
  • Healthier casserole option: Made with simple, wholesome ingredients like eggplant, beef, and milk, this moussaka is a healthier option compared to other comfort food dishes.

Ingredients to make Eggplant MoussakA

The ingredient list may look long, but it’s really mostly made up of pantry staples. It is truly easy to make!

Ingredients for the Meat Sauce:

  • Olive Oil: Used as a base for cooking the onions, ground beef, and garlic, adding richness and flavor to the sauce.
  • Onion: Chopped and sautéed in the olive oil, adding sweetness and depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Ground Beef: Browned and crumbled in the skillet, adding richness, protein, and texture to the sauce.
  • Garlic: Minced and added to the skillet, adding a pungent and aromatic flavor to the sauce.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Added to the skillet, adding a tangy and juicy flavor to the sauce.
  • Spices: Oregano, cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper give the moussaka a wonderful flavor. (No, the cinnamon is not a typo – it’s a key ingredient and gives the meat sauce amazing flavor!)

Ingredients for the Bechamel Sauce:

  • Butter: Melted in a saucepan, adding richness and creaminess to the sauce.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Whisked into the melted butter, helping to thicken the sauce.
  • Milk: Gradually poured into the saucepan and whisked into the flour and butter mixture, adding creaminess and smoothness to the sauce.
  • Nutmeg: Sprinkled into the sauce, adding a warm and nutty flavor.
  • Eggs: Beaten in a small bowl, then whisked into the bechamel sauce to set the sauce and add richness.

Ingredients for the Casserole:

  • Eggplant: Sliced lengthwise, salted, and roasted until tender, creating the base of the casserole.
  • Salt and Pepper: Sprinkled on the eggplant slices, enhancing the flavors and seasoning the dish.
  • Olive Oil: Used for brushing the eggplant slices, adding richness and flavor.
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese: Sprinkled on top of the casserole before baking, adding a touch of nutty and salty flavor.
Ingredients to make recipe: egg plants, herbs and spices, ground beef, onion, tomatoes, eggs, flour, garlic, butter, mikl, parmesan cheese, and oil.

How to make eggplant moussaka

Making Eggplant Moussaka is a breeze! The hardest part is waiting for it to finish baking, as the aroma of the dish will have your mouth watering and your stomach rumbling!

Prepare the eggplant

  1.  Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside to draw out the moisture.
  2. Pat the eggplant with a paper towel after it has sat.
  3. Brush both sides of the eggplant pieces with olive oil and season with black pepper.
  4. Place on a sheet pan and roast.
4 image collage preparing eggplant layer: 1- planks on a paper towel, 2- patting dry, 3- seasoned on a baking sheet before roasting, 4- after roasting.

Cook the meat sauce

  1. In a large skillet, add olive oil, onions, ground beef, and garlic. Season with oregano, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, with a wooden spoon until beef is browned and crumbled.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, and reduce the heat.
  4. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
4 image collage preparing beef layer: 1- onions, ground beef, and garlic in a skillet seasoned with oregano, cinnamon salt and pepper before cooking, 2- ground beef mixture after cooking, 3-diced tomatoes added, 4- sauce after thickening.

Make the bechamel sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and sprinkle the flour in.
  2. Whisk the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles.
  3. Gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly until it thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and nutmeg.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Then whisk in some of the bechamel sauce into the eggs to temper them.
  6. Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the bechamel sauce and whisk again until the egg mixture is fully incorporated.
6 image collage making bechamel sauce: 1- flour sprinkled into a skillet with melted butter, 2- roux after cooking, 3-whisking in milk, 4- sauce after combined with nutmeg sprinkled on top, 5- egg whisked in a bowl, 6- egg cooked into sauce.

Layer the moussaka ingredients

  1. Start with some of the eggplant, making sure to cover the entire bottom of the baking dish.
  2. Next, add the meat mixture and use the back of a wooden spoon to really pat down everything so it’s nice and compact.
  3. Repeat another round of layers between the eggplant and meat mixture and then pour the bechamel sauce on top, followed by the parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake it uncovered. 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.
4 image collage assembling recipe in a rectangle baking dish: 1- roasted eggplant plants layered in bottom of dish, 2- meat mixture spread evenly over top, 3- after another layer of eggplant is added with bechamel over top and parmesan cheese added before baking, 4- after baking to show a browned cheese topping.

Tips For making The best Eggplant Moussaka recipe

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use warm milk for the bechamel sauce: When making the bechamel sauce, make sure to warm the milk before adding it to the saucepan. This will help the sauce to thicken more easily and result in a smoother and creamier sauce.
  4. 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.
  • Use chicken or vegetable broth for added 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.
  • Use another protein. Ground beef can be substituted with ground lamb, ground chicken, ground turkey, or a mixture of any of these.
  • Switch out the milk. It can be substituted with cream, half-and-half, or a non-dairy milk like almond or soy milk.
  • Add more vegetables: You can add a layer of sautéed or roasted vegetables like onion, zucchini, bell peppers, or mushrooms to the moussaka, adding more flavor, texture, and nutrition.
  • Experiment with herbs and spices: You can add fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or mint to the meat sauce or bechamel sauce, adding more fresh and aromatic flavors. You can also adjust the spices used in the recipe to your liking, adding more or less of the spices depending on your preferences.
Eggplant moussaka in a baking dish garnished with fresh parsley.

How to store & reheat

  • Store in the refrigerator: Allow the moussaka to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat in the oven: To reheat the moussaka, place it in an oven-safe dish and cover it with foil. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave.

HOw long will Eggplant Moussaka last in the fridge?

When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, Eggplant Moussaka will last for up to 4 days.

Can I freeze Eggplant Moussaka?

Yes, you can freeze Eggplant Moussaka since we sweat the eggplant, that makes it more freezer-friendly. Allow the moussaka to cool completely, then wrap it well with plastic wrap and foil. Label and date the moussaka, then freeze it for up to 3 months. To reheat, place the moussaka in the oven at 350°F, covered with foil, and bake until heated through, about 30-40 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is eggplant moussaka served with?

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!

What’s the difference between lasagna and moussaka?

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.

Can you make moussaka ahead of time?

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.

Serving of moussaka on a small plate showing layers of eggplant, beef, and bechamel with a cheesy top next to the baking dish and a fork resting nearby.

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

This Easy Eggplant Moussaka recipe is a quick version of the Greek dish made with layers of eggplant and spiced ground beef and topped with a bechamel sauce
5 from 122 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Calories 329
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

For the Eggplant Layer & assembly

  • 3 large eggplants sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

For the Meat Sauce

For the bechamel sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups milk warmed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Prepare the eggplant. Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside for 30 minutes to draw out the moisture. Pat dry, then brush both sides of the eggplant pieces with olive oil and season with black pepper. Place on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Make the meat sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, ground beef and garlic. Season with oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until beef is browned and crumbled, about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
  • Make the bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles. Gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly until it thickens. Bring the mixture to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and nutmeg. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Then whisk in 2 tablespoons of the bechamel sauce into the eggs to temper them. Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the bechamel sauce and whisk again until the egg mixture is fully incorporated.
  • Assemble the moussaka. Arrange half of the eggplant in an 8×11 baking dish. Add the meat sauce all over the eggplant and then layer the remaining eggplant on top. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
  • Bake. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the bechamel is set and golden, 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 minutes to set before slicing and serving.

Notes

Recipe: This  moussaka recipe adapted from The Guardian Life & Style.
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: 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.
Make Ahead Tips: 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.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • 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

Calories: 329kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 386mg, Potassium: 856mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 519IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 232mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Entree

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Comments

  1. Hii,

    I’m planning on making this for Christmas but how many grams of canned diced tomatoes is 1 15 ounces? And how many milliliters of bechamelsauce do I need?

    Hope you can help me out!

  2. Prep time 20 minutes??? I spent about 2 1/2 hours doing this and was working all the time. But despite that, it was very good and turned out fine following the directions. The only thing I added was chopped up radishes in the meat sauce, simply because I had them.

    1. Sorry for any confusion, the prep time refers to the time spent gathering and preparing the ingredients for cooking. You’ll see the total time of the recipe is listed as 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  3. Delicious! I used smaller eggplants from my garden, so I cut them into coins instead of sheets. Also, I decided to add potatoes to mine. To do this, I used the instant pot and cooked the potatoes the same way as for potato salad (four minutes on high pressure, with the potatoes resting on an inner rack. They were medium reds, peeled). They sliced up very easily this way and I layered them over the eggplant coins. There was a bump in the road when it came to the amount of salt in the béchamel sauce. At this time, there is no specific amount listed in the recipe segment for the sauce. I decided to use a half teaspoon since I figured the parmesan cheese would also add saltiness.

    My mother said this is the best eggplant dish that she has ever had. Everyone in the family tried it and loved it.

    1. Wow, thanks for letting me know about the addition of potatoes and how you prepared them, it sounds delicious! Also, thanks for the heads up about the salt in the béchamel sauce, I have updated it accordingly. So glad the whole family enjoyed this dish!

  4. Thank you Yumna, I’m looking forward to trying your delicious Recipe on my husband. Your Mousakka looks absolutely fabulous.

    1. You’re so welcome! You’ll have to come back and let me know what you guys think when you make it! Enjoy!

  5. Very delicious recipe! I added the potatoes and it was a hit! Took it to our friend’s house, and everyone loved it! Thanks Yumna!!!

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