This version is cooked entirely in a skillet, making it convenient and delicious.
If you love Greek food, you will adore this easy and delicious recipe. Moussaka is a classic Greek dish that is like a lasagna but with eggplant instead of pasta. It has layers of juicy eggplant and hearty ground meat topped with a rich, creamy white sauce. It is baked until it is golden and bubbly and then served hot with a fresh salad or some warm crusty bread. It is a perfect meal for a cozy night in with your family or friends.
Moussaka has a long and interesting history that dates back to ancient times. It is said that the ancient Greeks loved to cook with eggplant, which they called melitzana. They would slice, fry, and layer it with meat, cheese, and honey. They would also add spices which they got from trading with other cultures.
Our recipe uses eggplant and other readily available ingredients such as ground beef or lamb, canned tomatoes, grated cheese, and spices such as allspice, cinnamon, dried oregano, and bay leaf.
To start things off, the eggplant is peeled to look like “pajamas.” Then it’s sliced into discs and salted for 20 minutes. The salting (or curing) helps remove excess moisture and bitterness from the eggplant, which is then browned in a skillet and set aside. Using the same skillet, a savory meat sauce is simmered with onions, garlic, tomato, herbs, and spices for approximately 30 minutes. It’s ready when the oil separates from the meat and the sauce is thickened.
For the final touch, the eggplant is layered on top of the meat and the dish is topped with a creamy cheese sauce. We added coarse breadcrumbs on top for extra texture, however, this step is optional as the dish comes out amazing even without the breadcrumbs.
Finally, the whole skillet is baked in a preheated oven until the top turns golden and bubbly. The end result? A mouthwatering, comforting dish that will make you feel like you are in a cozy Greek taverna!
30m prep time
1h cook time
- 4 medium eggplants (approximately 13 oz each)
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 1 pounds ground beef or lamb
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can (14 oz) chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅔ cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons coarse breadcrumbs (optional)
For the topping:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 250g firm ricotta (about 9 ounces)
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Peel the eggplants lengthways in strips, leaving about 1 ½ inches between each strip. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch discs and set them in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of salt and mix well, making sure to coat the eggplant evenly. Set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse off the salt and pat them dry.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the eggplant in batches and set them on paper towels. Leave aside.
- Using the same skillet, add the ground beef or lamb, onions, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until they start to brown then stir in the chopped tomatoes, allspice, ground cinnamon, dried oregano, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Add the beef or chicken stock, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the oil separates and sauce is thickened.
- Preheat the oven to 370°F.
- Prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, firm ricotta, ground nutmeg, and the beaten egg until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the meat sauce is ready, layer the browned eggplant discs on top of the meat. Spread the topping evenly over the eggplant and sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese and coarse breadcrumbs (optional) over the top.
- Bake for approximately 6 - 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.