Easy Moussaka Greek Vegetable Bake is packed with eggplant and zucchini for a warming, nourishing and totally satisfying dinner. We’ve cut a few corners on this 300 year old recipe to bring you a simplified version, using our homemade pasta sauce and a quick and easy béchamel white sauce.
Okay so, we’ll fess up. It might have taken us a wee bit longer to cook AND shoot this recipe than we estimated.
Deciding to start a little later in the afternoon, our meek and clouded sun disappeared on us. FAST.
(Winter is definitely almost here in Australia!)
Instead of this moussaka basking in the natural light we’re used to, we had our very first shoot with artificial light – including our trusty super bright white LED bulb that we had made for us on our Chiang Mai travels.
So far Sarah prefers shooting in natural light, but we definitely want to play around with more artificial light so we don’t always have to bend to the rules of the weather.
To all you budding/avid photographers out there: Have you tried artificial light before? Do you like it/hate it? Or have any tips or tricks to share about shooting with artificial light?
Now, back to this gorgeous melty veggie-packed and oh so CHEESY moussaka.
We’ve been experimenting with Lorraine’s ‘Lazy Housewife Moussaka’ that she posted over at Not Quite Nigella. Its heritage spans at least 300 years and was passed down from generation to generation, to finally end up in Lorraine’s inbox via an email from her friend Dimitri.
“The recipes I have for you are from my grandmother who was taught how to cook these recipes from her mother who in turn got them from hers etc, etc. These recipes are at least 300 years old. They are very simple recipes but so tasty which makes it worth your while to try and replicate them for yourselves.”FINALLY! An easy moussaka that can be cooked during the week.Click To Tweet
Easy Moussaka Greek Vegetable Bake
Like Lorraine, we also made a few extra shortcuts to the recipe:
- We roasted the eggplant and zucchini slices instead of frying them. This not only helps to reduce cooking time and allow you to prepare other things while they’re in the oven, but it also reduces the amount of oil in the final dish.
- We substituted tinned/pureed tomatoes for our very own homemade pasta sauce because a) we had a huge batch on hand and b) we wanted to give it an extra spicy kick of paprika.
- Sarah’s got a knack when it comes to whipping up a quick and easy béchamel sauce. Unlike the 12 minute cooking time of an original béchamel , this sauce has only 6 ingredients and is ready in less than 6 minutes.
Easy Moussaka Greek Veggie Bake is such a warming dish for winter, and once assembled into layers of roasted eggplant, zucchini, potato, the beef sauce and white béchamel sauce, it’s so succulent you won’t even need a knife to eat it. Just tuck in with your fork or spoon!
Or if Italian fusion is more your style you might want to give our Smoky Beef & Bacon Bolognese a go.
Have you cooked moussaka before? Comment below and let us know how you go making this for a weeknight meal.
Easy Moussaka Greek Vegetable Bake
- 1 large eggplant sliced 1 cm thick
- 2 large zucchini sliced 1 cm thick
- 3 medium potatoes sliced 1/2 cm thick
- 500 g homemade pasta sauce or passata
- 350 g beef mince
- 1 large brown onion chopped
- 125 ml dry red wine shiraz or cabernet sauvignon
- 50 g feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the béchamel
- 100 g butter
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 3 cups full cream milk
- 1/3 cup parmesan
- 1 large handful tasty cheese grated
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
It's time to fire up that oven to 220 degrees celsius and get ready for a moussaka party.
Set up two baking trays with baking paper and pop on your eggplant and zucchini slices. Dab them all with a little olive oil and get them into the oven for 15 minutes. Take 'em out, flip 'em over and dab with a little more olive oil before sending 'em back into the heat for another 15 minutes. Once they're done, pull them out and turn down the heat to 180 degrees celsius.
Okay, now set yourself a nice saucepan over a med-high heat and drizzle in 2 tbsp olive oil. Sizzle the onion until translucent, then add the beef mince and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook away until that beef is browned and any liquid is outta there.
Next you'll need a separate frying pan (sorry for the dishes). Drop in a splash of olive oil and fry those potato slices on both sides over a medium heat, until they're lightly browned and delicious. Set aside.
Yay! Now it's time to add the homemade pasta sauce or passata and a good glug (ie 125 ml) of red wine to your beef and onion and cook away until the saucy mix thickens nicely.
Now for the fun part. Layer up a nice large baking dish with half the potatoes, then half the beef sauce, then eggplant, then remaining potatoes, zucchini and finally the rest of the beef sauce. MM MMM.
Crumble that salty feta over the top.
For the béchamel
Okay, let's get this cheesy ball rolling. Melt your butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once it's melted away, add that flour and stir through (quickly, quickly!) with a wooden spoon. (This baby is going to thicken real quick. If it gets too thick, take it off the heat to cool and work those lumps out with a wooden spoon.)
Slowly pour in a a cup of milk, and mix mix mix until nice and smooth. Once it thickens again, add another cup, repeat, then another cup and repeat. Yes yes.
Alright now take that luscious white sauce off the heat and add in your nutmeg, salt, pepper, tasty cheese and parmesan and mix once more until smooth and cheesy.
Pop it back on the heat for another 10-20 seconds or so, then pour it all over your moussaka base. Top with a few more sprinkles of grated cheese (you KNOW you want to) then pop it back the oven. Let it bubble away for another 20 or 30 minutes, or until that cheesy top is a glorious golden brown. Oh yeah.
All you need to do now is pop it on a plate and get stuck in.
NotesThis recipe has been adapted from Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella.
If you want your moussaka to reach the table in nice and neat squares, try letting it cool down for a little while before serving. That will help the cheesy top settle in nicely. (Assuming you can resist long enough!) 😉