Baking/ Dinner/ European/ Recipes

Easy Greek Moussaka Bake

04/06/2020 (Last Updated: 06/08/2020)
 

Filled with layers of baked eggplant, zucchini and fried potato, this Easy Greek Moussaka is infused with a beef and red-wine sauce, topped with a béchamel golden cheesy crust. This simplified version uses our homemade pasta sauce (or sub with passata) plus an easy-mode béchamel white sauce!

Why We Love This Recipe

This easy Greek Moussaka vegetable bake is such a warming dish for winter. Once assembled into layers of roasted eggplant, zucchini, potato, red wine infused beef sauce and white béchamel, it’s so succulent you won’t even need a knife to eat it. Just tuck in with your fork or spoon! 

We’ve perfected our simple béchamel white sauce method, so you’ll never need to worry about lumpy white sauce again!

It also makes for a super handy batch recipe, whether your feeding a heap of hungry people at your table or freezing a few portions for a later lunch or dinner.

 

Slice of Greek moussaka ready to eat.

What is Greek Moussaka?

Hailing from Greece, this baked dish consists of layers of sautéed veggies layered with a rich, tomato-based sauce, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and cheese. Traditionally the sauce is made with lamb mince, but these days it’s often made with beef mince instead. It’s quite similar to lasagne, but much healthier since it’s made with layers of vegetables instead of pasta!

What You’ll Need

Eggplant, zucchini, onions and potatoes are the key veggies you’ll need on hand for this dish. For the sauce, you can use your own homemade tomato sauce, or substitute with passata or diced tomatoes. 

How to make Greek Moussaka:

For the moussaka base

Preheat the oven to 220˚celsius (428˚F). 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).

Tray of zucchini slices ready to bake.

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.

Cooking mince in a frying pan with onion.

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.

Frying potato slices.

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.

Stirring passata into beef mince.

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.

Crumbling feta over sauce for moussaka.

For the simple béchamel white sauce

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 béchamel 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.

Adding cheese and spices to white sauce.

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. 

Adding final layer of bechamel to moussaka bake.

 

Cook’s Tips

  • If you can’t source one of the veggies, such as the eggplants or zucchini, you can leave them out and increase the quantity for the other veggies to round it out. 
  • To make this dish more filling, you can also add a layer or two of cooked pasta to the bake. You’ll probably need an extra large baking dish or split it across two baking dishes if you do!
  • Using homemade tomato sauce will give you the best, richest flavour, especially if you use ripe, in season tomatoes. However, the dish will still taste delicious even if you use passata or canned tomatoes. 

FAQs

Can this be made in advance?

Yes, it can! We made our last batch to take to our best friend’s 30th birthday party 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. Then, we 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 should you 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 salad like Greek Haloumi & Mint or Italian Fennel & Orange to lighten the heaviness of the dish and make sure your guests have a drink to wash everything down.

What wine is best to use in 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 Tempranillo if you have one in the cupboard.

Variations & Substitutes

  • If you don’t like eggplants or zucchini you can leave them out, just up the amount of the other veggies to round it out. 
  • Roasting the eggplant and zucchini slices instead of frying them helps to reduce cooking time and allow you to prepare other things while they’re in the oven. This also reduces the amount of oil in the final dish.
  • To speed up the prep time even further you can skip the baking and frying step and use fresh veggies instead. Keep in mind that this will increase the cooking time to give the potatoes enough time to soften. 
  • 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 white sauce recipe, our version has only 6 ingredients and is ready in less than 6 minutes.

Close up of layers in a Greek moussaka bake.

Want more hearty recipes? These are some of our favourites:

 

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

 

Close up of Greek moussaka with all the juicy layers.

Easy Greek Moussaka Bake

Filled with layers of baked eggplant, zucchini and fried potato, this Easy Greek Moussaka is infused with a beef and red-wine sauce, topped with a béchamel golden cheesy crust. This simplified version uses our homemade pasta sauce (or sub with passata) plus an easy-mode béchamel white sauce!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 451kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10-$15

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant sliced 1 cm thick
  • 2 large zucchini sliced 1 cm thick
  • 3 medium potatoes sliced 1/2 cm thick
  • 500 g passata
  • 350 g beef mince
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 125 ml dry red wine shiraz or cabernet sauvignon
  • 50 g feta cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Recipe Notes

Cook's Tips
  • If you can't source one of the veggies, such as the eggplants or zucchini, you can leave them out and increase the quantity for the other veggies to round it out. 
  • To make this dish more filling, you can also add a layer or two of cooked pasta to the bake. You'll probably need an extra large baking dish or split it across two baking dishes if you do!
  • Using homemade tomato sauce will give you the best, richest flavour, especially if you use ripe, in season tomatoes. However, the dish will still taste delicious even if you use passata or canned tomatoes. 
FAQs
  • Can this be made in advance? Yes, it can! We made our last batch to take to our best friend's 30th birthday party 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 should you 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 salad like Greek Haloumi & Mint or Italian Fennel & Orange to lighten the heaviness of the dish and make sure your guests have a drink to wash everything down.
  • What wine is best to use in 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 Tempranillo if you have one in the cupboard.
Variations & Substitutes
  • If you don't like eggplants or zucchini you can leave them out, just up the amount of the other veggies to round it out. 
  • Roasting the eggplant and zucchini slices instead of frying them helps to reduce cooking time and allow you to prepare other things while they're in the oven. This also reduces the amount of oil in the final dish.
  • To speed up the prep time even further you can skip the baking and frying step and use fresh veggies instead. Keep in mind that this will increase the cooking time to give the potatoes enough time to soften. 
  • 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 white sauce recipe, our version has only 6 ingredients and is ready in less than 6 minutes.
This recipe has been adapted from Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella.

Nutrition

Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 1136mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 997IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 281mg | Iron: 5mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Easy Greek Moussaka Bake

13 Comments

  • Reply
    Mirjana Vipotnik
    24/06/2020 at 4:14 am

    5 stars
    This is a best moussaka I ever made

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    11/05/2016 at 10:12 pm

    This looks wonderful. I will schedule it to pin…and also put on my “to make” list. Yum!!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      13/05/2016 at 11:00 am

      Awesome, thanks Gloria, hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Champagne Tastes
    11/05/2016 at 10:01 pm

    Oh man.. this sounds so delicious!! Can I just say that I’ve been meaning to try moussaka ever since “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when she packed it for her lunch, and the snobby girls called it ‘mousse ka ka’ lol. This seems easy, and I’m not sure why I haven’t tried it yet!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      13/05/2016 at 11:00 am

      Oh gawd we love that movie! Plus we all know that windex will fix anything 😛

      We find that with heaps of recipes – they look hard then you get stuck into it and find it was a breeze! This moussaka may take a little time to cook, but it’s mostly hands-off and waiting for the magic to happen haha. Totally worth it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Roy (at Poc)
    11/05/2016 at 7:09 pm

    4 stars
    I have never tried something like this. I am going to bookmark and try this soon.
    i love your photography.. so crisp. great job!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/05/2016 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks Roy, much appreciated. Hope you enjoy the recipe, let us know how you go!:)

  • Reply
    Jemma
    11/05/2016 at 6:46 pm

    5 stars
    When I went to Greece I ate moussaka a lot! This looks lovely!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/05/2016 at 7:18 pm

      Yum, that sounds like the perfect visit to Greece! 😀

  • Reply
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    11/05/2016 at 5:21 pm

    5 stars
    I do have artificial light but have never used it well yet. You guys managed it though. Lovely recipe.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      11/05/2016 at 5:29 pm

      Thanks Bintu! We’re loving the challenge! Good luck with your artificial-light adventures. 🙂

  • Reply
    Martin @ The Why Chef
    05/05/2016 at 6:14 pm

    I swear we have the exact same taste buds – moussaka is one of my favourite dinners EVER! I never get to make it though as Emma refuses to eat aubergine! But there is an awesome food market near where I work that do it so I have it for cheeky lunch every so often. When I get time I’ll cook up a big batch of this and freeze it – I thought my last one actually tasted better when reheated the next day!

    Living in bright sunny England and working a 9-5, I’m almost never at home during our 10 minutes of sunshine each week, so most of my photography is under artificial light. But then my photos need a lot more work anyway – I need to start making an effort at the weekends while at home!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      05/05/2016 at 8:53 pm

      Totally agree Martin! Next day for lunch is a-mazing!!! Perhaps Emma could try it with only the zucchini and potato?

      Hey we all start somewhere right! Let us know how you go in the natural light and what you think of the difference. 🙂

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