Baking/ Dinner/ European/ Recipes

Easy Greek Moussaka Recipe

18/05/2022

The ultimate comfort food dish to feed the whole family! This easy Greek moussaka recipe is filled with nourishing eggplant, zucchini and potato, with an amazing moussaka meat sauce and our simple no-lumps bechamel white sauce.

A slice of moussaka on a plate showing the veggie and meat layers.

Why We Love This

Eggplant moussaka is so nourishing and warming, perfect on a cold winter’s night. With the classic moussaka layers of roasted veggies, beef sauce and cheesy bechamel, it’s so soft and melty you won’t even need a knife to eat it. Just tuck in with your fork or spoon! 

Bechamel white sauce often gets a bad wrap for being tricky to make, but Sarah’s crafted the perfect stress-free no-lumps white sauce method! Unlike the 12 minute cooking time of an original béchamel sauce recipe, our version has only 6 ingredients and is ready in less than 6 minutes!

This recipe is generous enough to feed a crowd or have plenty of leftovers to freeze for an easy dinner another time. 

Related:Turkish Stuffed EggplantsBurmese Eggplant Curry

Slice of Greek moussaka ready to eat.

What is Moussaka?

Moussaka, sometimes written as musaka, is a beef (or more traditionally lamb) and vegetable bake from Greece. It’s usually made with layers of eggplant slices, zucchini and potato with a rich beef, tomato and red wine sauce, topped with a creamy béchamel cheese. 

It’s similar in appearance to an Italian lasagne, but somewhat healthier since it’s made with layers of vegetables instead of pasta!

What You’ll Need

  • Vegetables – Eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and onion for the beef sauce. If you can’t source (or don’t particularly like) one of the veggies, leave it out and increase the quantity of the other veggies to compensate.
  • Meat – We use ground beef, but you can sub with lamb for a more traditional Greek moussaka. 
  • Tomato Sauce – Use homemade tomato sauce or sub with passata or diced tomatoes with a tbsp of tomato paste. It’s also a great way to use up leftover bolognese or ragu sauce!
  • Red Wine – We love a good splash of shiraz or cab sav to add richness to the sauce. You can leave this out if you prefer.
  • Feta –  Adds a delicious saltiness to the finished moussaka.
  • Bechamel Sauce – You’ll need easy staples including butter, flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar or tasty cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

How to make Greek Moussaka:

For the moussaka base

  1. Preheat the oven to 220˚celsius (428˚F). Line two baking trays with baking paper and spread out the eggplant and zucchini slices on top. Dab with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip them 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 reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C (356˚F).
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over a medium high heat. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes until translucent, then add the beef mince and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef has browned and any liquid is reduced.
  3. In a separate frying pan, heat another 1-2tbsp of oil over medium heat and fry the potato slices on both sides until lightly browned.
  1. Add the homemade pasta sauce (or sub with passata, or a can of diced tomatoes + 1 tbsp tomato paste) in with the beef and onion, along with the red wine. Simmer until sauce reduces and thickens.
  2. Assemble the moussaka layers in a large baking dish in the following order: half of the potatoes, half of the meat sauce, eggplant, then remaining potatoes, zucchini and  remaining beef sauce. Crumble feta over the top..

Béchamel white sauce + assembling the moussaka:

  1. 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. Note: 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 saucepan from the heat and add in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, shredded cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese has melted and sauce texture is smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the white sauce all over the moussaka base. Top with more grated cheese if you like then pop it in the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cheesy top is golden brown.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Vegetables – Roasting the eggplant and zucchini slices in the oven first helps to bring out their flavour and reduce moisture to leave you with a more firmly set moussaka. It also frees you up to prep other parts of the dish while they’re cooking!
  • Sauce – Make sure to cook it down until it’s nice and thick. This will give your moussaka more structure and help it hold its shape when serving.

FAQs

Can I make moussaka in advance?

Yes, you can make it 1-2 days before, and it will taste even better if you do! 

To prep, just follow the recipe and cook it in the oven until the cheese has only just started to brown, then let it cool and place it in the fridge. 

On the day you want to serve it, you can pop it straight from the fridge into a preheated oven to bake for around 1 hour until the moussaka has heated completely through and the cheese has finished browning on top. 

To make this faster, take it out of the fridge to rest on the bench for an hour or two before reheating.

Can I freeze moussaka?

Yep, it freezes really well. You can freeze it whole once it’s fully cooled down. Just cover with cling film and pop in the freezer. To reheat, thaw on the bench for a few hours then proceed as above. Otherwise, we recommend freezing in smaller portions to make it easier to reheat. 

What should I serve with it?

Moussaka is amazing with crusty bread and butter, which you can use to mop up every last bit of sauce on the bottom of the plate! A refreshing side salad of haloumi and mint, fennel and orange or even wafu salad will contrast nicely with the heartiness of the moussaka.

Variations

  • Speedier Prep – You could use fresh veggies instead of baking and frying them, however you will then need to increase the final baking time to ensure the potatoes cook through and soften nicely. 
  • Add Pasta – To make this dish more filling, add a layer or two of cooked pasta between the other veggie layers. If you do, you’ll probably need to use an extra large baking dish or split it across two baking dishes. 
  • Topping Ideas – Add a little extra texture and crunch by sprinkling the top with regular breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs or seasoned stuffing mix.
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 comment and a star rating below!
Close up of Greek moussaka with all the juicy layers.

Easy Greek Moussaka Recipe

The ultimate comfort food dish to feed the whole family! This easy Greek moussaka recipe is filled with nourishing eggplant, zucchini and potato, with an amazing moussaka meat sauce and our simple no-lumps bechamel.
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 or homemade pasta sauce
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 125 ml red wine shiraz or cab sav
  • 50 g feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the béchamel

  • 100 g butter
  • 1/2 cup plain flour / all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk full cream
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

For the moussaka base:

  • Preheat the oven to 220˚celsius (430˚F).
  • Line two baking trays with baking paper and spread out the eggplant and zucchini slices on top. Dab with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip them and dab with a little more olive oil, then bake again for a further 15 minutes. Once they’re done, pull them out and reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C (356˚F).
    1 large eggplant, 2 large zucchini
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over a medium high heat. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes until translucent, then add the beef mince and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef has browned and any liquid has reduced.
    350 g beef mince, 1 onion, olive oil, salt and pepper
  • In a separate frying pan, heat another 1-2tbsp olive oil over medium heat and fry the potato slices on both sides until lightly browned.
    olive oil, 3 medium potatoes
  • Add the homemade pasta sauce (or sub with passata, or a can of diced tomatoes + 1 tbsp tomato paste) in with the beef and onion, along with the red wine. Simmer until sauce reduces and thickens.
    125 ml red wine, 500 g passata
  • Assemble the moussaka layers in a large baking dish in the following order: half of the potatoes, half of the meat sauce, eggplant, then remaining potatoes, zucchini and remaining beef sauce. Crumble feta cheese over the top.
    50 g feta cheese

For the easy no-lumps 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. Note: This step goes against most béchamel recipes, but it hasn’t failed us once! It will start to thicken after around 5 minutes.
    100 g butter, 1/2 cup plain flour / all purpose flour, 3 cups milk
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, shredded cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese has melted and sauce texture is smooth and creamy.
    1/3 cup parmesan, salt and pepper, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 cup shredded cheese

To assemble:

  • Pour the white sauce all over the moussaka base. Top with more grated cheese if you like, then pop it in the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cheesy top is golden brown.
    1/2 cup shredded cheese

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Vegetables – Eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and onion for the beef sauce. If you can’t source (or don’t particularly like) one of the veggies, leave it out and increase the quantity of the other veggies to compensate. Roasting the eggplant and zucchini slices in the oven first helps to bring out their flavour and reduce moisture to leave you with a more firmly set moussaka. It also frees you up to prep other parts of the dish while they’re cooking!
  • Meat – We use ground beef, but you can sub with lamb for a more traditional Greek moussaka. 
  • Tomato Sauce – Use homemade tomato sauce or sub with passata or diced tomatoes with a tbsp of tomato paste. It’s also a great way to use up leftover bolognese or ragu sauce!
  • Red Wine – We love a good splash of shiraz or cab sav to add richness to the sauce. You can leave this out if you prefer.
  • Feta –  Adds a delicious saltiness to the finished moussaka.
  • Bechamel Sauce – You’ll need easy staples including butter, flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar or tasty cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Cooking the SauceMake sure to cook it down until it’s nice and thick. This will give your moussaka more structure and help it hold its shape when serving.
  • Speedier Prep – You could use fresh veggies instead of baking and frying them, however you will then need to increase the final baking time to ensure the potatoes cook through and soften nicely. 
  • Add Pasta – To make this dish more filling, you could add a layer or two of cooked pasta between the other veggie layers. If you do, you’ll probably need to use an extra large baking dish or split it across two baking dishes.
  • Topping Ideas – Add a little extra texture and crunch by sprinkling the top with regular breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs or seasoned stuffing mix.
This recipe has been adapted from Not Quite Nigella.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Greek Moussaka Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
451
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
26
g
40
%
Saturated Fat
 
14
g
88
%
Cholesterol
 
81
mg
27
%
Sodium
 
374
mg
16
%
Potassium
 
1136
mg
32
%
Carbohydrates
 
33
g
11
%
Fiber
 
6
g
25
%
Sugar
 
12
g
13
%
Protein
 
20
g
40
%
Vitamin A
 
997
IU
20
%
Vitamin C
 
27
mg
33
%
Calcium
 
281
mg
28
%
Iron
 
5
mg
28
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Easy Greek Moussaka Recipe

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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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