Moussaka – the Greek lasagna
Moussaka is one of those dishes that I absolutely love. It’s perfect for this season as it is heart warming and the ultimate comfort food. This Greek classic does require a bit of work if you want to make a traditional version, but it is so worth it!
A real Greek moussaka consists of slices of potato, slices of eggplant with a meat sauce and a béchamel sauce (white sauce) on top. So the whole thing is quite a hearty dish, but so delicious! Really really good. To make it takes quite some time, because you have to cook both the potatoes and also the eggplant beforehand. You do that in a frying pan and since you need quite a bit, it does take up quite some time.
But like I said, it is worth it. While you’re frying the eggplant and potatoes, you can also make the meat sauce (if you can multi-task a little). In addition you need oregano, cinnamon and pepper and salt to season it.
A bit of work but worth it
The great thing about moussaka is that you can prepare it in advance and put it in the oven before eating it. It also freezes well so great to make for a meal prep Sunday, for example.
You further flavor the béchamel sauce that comes on top with a little nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir in cheese. Officially this needs to be a Greek cheese called kefalotyri cheese, but you can’t really find that anywhere. At least not here in the Netherlands. So any other nice cheese is fine to use. I tend to go for a really old cheese that I grate over the top of the moussaka and some inside.
Of course the moussaka is not complete without a crispy crust with the cheese. You can make that a little more crispy by sprinkling some panko on top. This is optional but delicious.
Making the moussaka
First thing you do is to make eggplant slices. Those then need to be grilled on medium-high heat. You can use either a grillpan or a regular frying pan or large skillet to do this. How you do it doesn’t matter, as long as you make sure the eggplant is cooked properly Nothing worse than uncooked eggplant. In terms of how to slice the eggplant, I would suggest not making the slices too long. Once cooked it will make it more difficult to cut the moussaka so round slices are the easiest.
For the layer of potatoes you can use the cheat version and use ready cooked potato slices. That does save a lot of time so definitely a good idea. For this you need firm potatoes, not the ones you would use in a potato mash.
Love Greek cooking?
Check out the below recipes as well:
Moussaka (Greek oven dish)
- Ovendish 20 x 30 cm
- 600 grams eggplant sliced
- 500 grams firm potato slices
- 1 red onion chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 400 grams minced beef lamb or veggie
- 400 grams canned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 40 grams butter
- 50 gram flour
- 450 ml milk
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch nutmeg
- 75 grams Kefalotyri cheese Parmesan or other hard, spicy cheese
- Olive oil
- Pepper and salt
- 10 grams panko
- Cut the eggplants into slices about 1 cm thick. Sprinkle with salt and drain in a colander for about 20 minutes.
- Peel the potatoes and also cut into 1 cm slices.
- Rinse the salt off the eggplants and dry the slices well. Heat a layer of olive oil in a pan and fry the eggplant slices brown and tender on 2 sides. Drain the slices on kitchen paper.
- Then fry the potato slices in the same way.
- Chop the onion and finely chop the garlic. In another pan, heat some olive oil and sauté onion gently. When the onion is translucent, add the minced meat along with cinnamon and oregano and fry until brown. Add the tomatoes, sugar and bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer gently over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oven to 180°C.
- Make the béchamel sauce by melting butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir well. Let cook for a few minutes until it slides through the pan like a cooked mass. Add the milk in 5 parts. Make sure it is well incorporated before adding the new amount. Keep stirring well so there are no lumps in the sauce. Simmer for a few more minutes until it is a thick sauce and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in nutmeg and 2/3 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Let cool for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolk.
- Grease a baking dish with oil. Lay the potato slices on the bottom with half of the eggplant on top. Pour the meat sauce on top, followed by the rest of the eggplant slices.
- Pour the béchamel sauce on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with panko and the rest of the cheese.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.
The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.