Easy Eggplant Moussaka

4.96 from 42 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 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.

Final eggplant moussaka dish when it comes out of the oven

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.

Sliced eggplant ready to be baked

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.

Collage showing the beef mixture getting cooked

Now, add canned diced tomatoes and vegetable broth.and stir to combine until the sauce thickens.

Collage showing the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth going in the beef mixture

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.

Collage showing the layering of the moussaka dish between the eggplant and the beef mixture

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.

Collage showing the layering of the moussaka dish and the bechamel sauce on top

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

  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 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.
  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.

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.

How long does eggplant moussaka keep?

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.

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.

Eggplant moussaka with a slice removed

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 42 votes
Servings 9 servings
Course Entree
Calories 184
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

  • 2 eggplants peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon All Spice
  • 15 ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

For the bechamel sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk heated
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Dash ground nutmeg

Instructions

  • 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.

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
Nutritional Date: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 150mg, Potassium: 558mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 260IU, Vitamin C: 7.7mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 2mg

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Eggplant moussaka with a slice removed

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Comments

  1. I am about to make this mousakka recepie and I’m wondering if it has been updated with all the suggestions that you thought were relevant?
    Thank you

    1. That’s so exciting! Yes, it should be. For best results, don’t forget to read through the Tips, Frequently Asked Questions, and Notes.

  2. I found the eggplant put straight into the oven after drying was a bit strange. They kind of steamed rather than roasted. Was there no light coating of oil required? And there was no mention of seasoning them, but saw your picture later, so I found the eggplant looked and tasted bland. All else was good, though would do a double batch of bechamel next time and add a little amongst the layers for a bit of a boost.

    1. I see what you mean. There is so much flavor from the meat sauce and the bechamel sauce though so I left the eggplant alone aside from teh salt added to it in the drying process. Good tip though about the extra bechamel for next time!

  3. This is delicious. I made a couple of changes, I used 3/4 of a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes so eliminated the broth. I added those tiny mozzarella balls and extra parmesan between layers. I made a bit extra béchamel and used half milk, half “half n half” cream, I also added a bit more parmesan to it. I love this dish, I think it is the cloves that just makes it. My hubby who does not care for eggplant said “do not lose that recipe”.

    1. Aww that’s the best when the hubby approves so much!! I love substitute you made the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Hi, I’m excited to make this. In #2 you mention “7 spice seasoning,” but I don’t see that in the ingredients. What is it? Thanks!

      1. Can you USE the seven spice? I made some up for one of your other recipes and so I have it. Have not yet gone through your site enough to know where else to use it.

  5. I cook for about 10 people when college kids are home. The bizarre thing about this recipe is that EVERYBODY loved it, from 11 yrs old to 90. They ate it ALL. Every crumb. It was a little runny after the first slice, so I cheated and soaked most of it up with paper towels. I think if I had dried out the eggplant a little more, and let the dish set longer, it would have been perfect. Regardless, it was delicious!

    OH, and I added potato slices, because, well, BOYS. Undercooked them a little parboiling, but it was a great addition.

    1. Oh wow, from 11 to 90! That’s so awesome to hear…thanks so much for sharing! Yes, sometimes eggplant can get watery so letting it dry well will really help. Love the idea of adding potatoes to it!