Moussaka is a traditional and flavorful dish that originates from the Mediterranean region, particularly Greece and the Middle East. It is a delicious and hearty casserole-style dish that features layers of eggplant, ground meat, and a rich tomato-based sauce, all topped with a creamy béchamel sauce.

Moussaka is a versatile dish, allowing for variations and adaptations based on personal preferences and regional traditions. Some versions may include additional layers of zucchini or potatoes, while others might incorporate grated cheese or herbs for added complexity.

Baked moussaka

When served, moussaka is a true crowd-pleaser, showcasing a harmony of flavors from the tender eggplant, savory meat sauce, and creamy béchamel. It is often enjoyed as a main course, accompanied by a fresh salad or crusty bread, making it a satisfying and comforting meal.

With its rich history and delightful combination of flavors, moussaka has become a beloved dish enjoyed by many around the world. Whether enjoyed at home or in a Greek taverna, this classic casserole offers a taste of the Mediterranean that is sure to delight the senses and leave a lasting impression.

I combined three recipes to get to this one: The first one is by Felicity Cloake which she published here in The Guardian. The second one is by Nagi of RecipeTin Eats, which she published here. The third recipe, I got from ChatGPT.

The recipe consists roughly out of four parts: 1) Preparing the eggplant 2) the meat sauce 3) the white or Béchamel sauce 4) putting it all together.


The eggplant

  • 3 large eggplants / aubergines (± 1kg), sliced lengthways ± 0.75mm thick
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

The meat sauce

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 700g lamb mince
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 50g tomato paste
  • 125ml dry red wine
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 400g canned diced tomatoes
  • 250ml quality beef / mutton / lamb stock
  • 2 tsp salt
Ingredients for the meat sauce

The Béchamel sauce

  • 60g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 75g Parmesan or Kefalotiri cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vegetable or chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

Putting it together

  • 25g Panko breadcrumbs (or other breadcrumbs)


The eggplant

Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and arrange them in a large colander. Repeat this process with the remaining eggplant slices.
Preheat your oven to 240°C.
Allow the eggplant to sweat in the colander for 30 minutes. While the eggplant is sweating, prepare the meat sauce and Béchamel sauce.
Pat the eggplant slices dry using a paper towel, ensuring to remove any excess salt. Place the eggplant slices on baking trays lined with parchment paper.

Prepping the eggplant

Lightly brush the eggplant slices with oil to coat them.
Bake the eggplant slices in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and softened.
Remove the baked eggplant from the oven and let it cool slightly.

The meat sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onion in the heated oil until it becomes soft.
Add the garlic, cinnamon, pepper, oregano and basil to the pan and cook for an additional couple of minutes.

Adding the spices

Add the lamb into the mixture and stir well.
Increase the heat slightly and brown the lamb well, ensuring that the mixture becomes quite dry.
Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, stock, sugar and salt, bringing the mixture to a simmer.

Meat and sauces added

Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 30-40 minutes, allowing most of the liquid to evaporate.
Season the mixture further if necessary.

The Béchamel sauce

In a saucepan, bring the milk to just below boiling point.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in another saucepan.
Stir the flour into the melted butter and cook for a couple of minutes.
Gradually whisk in the hot milk to create a smooth mixture.
Cook the mixture until it thickens and becomes a sauce.
Stir in the cheese, nutmeg, stock powder, and pepper. Keep stirring until the cheese melts completely.

The béchamel sauce

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Whisk in the eggs.
Add salt to taste.

Putting it together

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
If the dish is normal-sized, arrange a third of the eggplant in the base of an oven dish. (If the dish is larger than normal, it is acceptable to use 2 layers of eggplant)
Top the eggplant with half of the meat.
Repeat the layers, alternating eggplant and meat.
Finish off with a final layer eggplant.
Top the dish with the sauce and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

Layering the moussaka

Bake the dish for approximately 45 minutes until it is well browned.
Allow the dish to cool for half an hour before serving.

We enjoyed this with a fresh Greek salad and an Altydgedacht Barbera 2022. Here are the tasting notes: