Easy Greek Moussaka Bake is filled with layers of baked eggplant, zucchini and fried potato and melted together with red-wine infused mince and topped with a bechamel golden cheesy crust. We’ve cut a few corners on this 300 year old recipe to bring you a simplified version, using our homemade pasta sauce (or passata) and a shortcut way to cook the bechamel 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!)
Last time we cooked this, we ended up using artificial light to complete the shoot, but this time we were aimed and ready with our tripod and a long exposure to capture as much light and detail as we could on the moussaka. Say hello to the saucy, cheesy goodness!
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
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In this post, we’ll quickly go through:
- Can Greek Moussaka be made in advance?
- What to serve with Greek Moussaka
- What wine to use in Greek Moussaka
Can Greek Moussaka be made in advance?
Yes, it can! Our last batch we made was to take away to our best friend’s 30th in the country.
We made it the night before, cooking it in the oven until the cheese was just starting to brown before letting it cool and placing it in the fridge overnight.
We then popped it back in the oven the next night while we were away, and cooked it for around an hour until it was completely heated through and the cheese has browned more on top.
You can also take it out of the fridge an hour or two before re-heating to cut down on oven time.
What to serve with Greek Moussaka
There’s nothing better than a fresh loaf of bread, such as lapinja, sliced and buttered to dip into the moussaka’s sauces that end up on the bottom of the plate.
You can also serve moussaka with a simple Greek salad to lighten the heaviness of the dish and make sure your guests have a drink to wash everything down.
What wine to use in Greek Moussaka
Laura and I love using a strong, dry red in our moussaka, so we used a Shiraz in ours. You could also try a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Tempernillo if you have one in the cupboard.
Easy Greek Moussaka 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 Greek Moussaka 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.
- 2x baking trays (lined with baking paper)
- Frying pan
- Deep baking dish
- 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
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese grated
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 220˚celsius (428˚F) and get ready for a moussaka party.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper and layer with eggplant and zucchini slices. Dab with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Take 'em out, flip 'em over and dab with a little more olive oil, then bake again for a further 15 minutes. Once they're done, pull them out and turn down the heat to 180˚C (356˚F).
- Setup a 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 the beef is browned and any liquid is reduced.
- Next you'll need a separate frying pan (sorry for the dishes). Drop in a splash of olive oil and fry the 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 with 125 ml of red wine in with the beef and onion and cook away until the saucy mix reduces 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 the salty feta over the top.
For the bechamel
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, flour and milk. Stir constantly and thoroughly with a small whisk to keep it smooth. This step goes against most bechamel recipes, but it hasn't failed us once! It will start to thicken after around 5 minutes.
- Remove the white sauce from the heat and add in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, shredded cheese and parmesan. Mix once more until smooth and cheesy.
- Pour the white sauce all over your moussaka base. Top with a few more sprinkles of grated cheese if you like (you KNOW you want to) then pop it in the oven. Let it bubble away for another 20 or 30 minutes, or until that cheesy top is a glorious golden brown. Oh yeah.
- Roast the eggplant and zucchini slices instead of frying them. This not only helps 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.
- If you're feeling extra creative and looking for a flavour zing, why not substitute tinned/pureed tomatoes for homemade pasta sauce
- Can Greek Moussaka be made in advance? Yes, it can! You can easily cook this the night before, baking in the oven until the cheese was just starting to brown before letting it cool and placing it in the fridge overnight. The next day, cook for around an hour or so until completely heated through. You can also take it out of the fridge an hour or two before re-heating to cut down on oven time.
- What to serve with Greek Moussaka? There’s nothing better than a fresh loaf of bread, such as lapinja, sliced and buttered to dip into the moussaka’s sauces that end up on the bottom of the plate. You can also serve moussaka with a simple Greek salad to lighten the heaviness of the dish and make sure your guests have a drink to wash everything down.
- What wine to use in Greek Moussaka? We love using a strong, dry red such as Shiraz in our moussaka. You could also try a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Tempranillo if you have one in the cupboard, otherwise any red wine will do the trick.