mousakka

Moussaka is a Middle Eastern dish, the main ingredients of which are Eggplant, and Beef. The meat sauce isn’t too far removed from a fairly typical Bolognese, but its unique range of spices really bring it into its own.

Recipe: Moussaka

Yield: 6 - 8 Serves

Cooking Time: ~2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 Brown Onion
  • 8 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 Eggplants
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 200g Diced Tomato
  • 200 - 300g Tomato Paste
  • 500g Ground Beef
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine
  • 8 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan

Moussaka is a Middle Eastern dish, the main ingredients of which are Eggplant, and Beef. The meat sauce isn’t too far removed from a fairly typical Bolognese, but its unique range of spices really bring it into its own. I originally read about it on Rebel with a Spatula, and it isn’t particularly clear, so it’s very difficult to say how long it would take if executed efficiently.

The Three Elements

There are three core elements to the Moussaka,

  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Cheese Sauce

They all need to be prepared individually and pulled together before baking.

Step 1: Vegetable Prep

Finely dice the brown onion, and set aside. Peel the eggplant and zucchini, and set that aside too.

Peeled Eggplant and Zucchini, and Diced Onion

Step 2: Eggplant and Zucchini

Cut these into 1.5cm slices, and salt thoroughly. Set aside in a colander for future convenience.

Step 3: Onion, Garlic, and Beef

Bring a large pan to a low heat, and melt about two tablespoons of butter. Place the onion in and mix vigorously to coat it in the butter.

Onion mixed with butter

If you have the time, keep it on a very low heat, and it will slowly start to brown. This photo is at about 20 minutes in.

Onion starting to brown

And eventually it will go a beautiful brown color. When it does, add the garlic in, and allow it to slowly cook for another ~10 minutes.

Browned Onion and Garlic

Then, add the 500g Ground Beef in, mix very thoroughly to ensure the Garlic and Onion are through the Beef, and allow it to cook through on the same low heat.

After there’s no pink left in the Beef, add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and bring it to heat. Next, add cinnamon, allspice, oregano, tomato, tomato paste, wine, salt and pepper pepper, keep it on a low heat and allow it to gently simmer.

Step 4: Back to the Eggplant and Zucchini

The salted vegetables need to be washed, so rinse them under cold water, which is a breeze if you’ve already got them in a colander.

Add a little oil to a pan and bring it to a medium heat, lightly fry the Eggplant and Zucchini on both sides, then start to layer in an oven safe dish.

Fried Eggplant and Zucchini forming the base

Step 5: Layering

Using the meat sauce and vegetables, make two to three layers of each.

Layers. Onions have layers.

Step 6: Cheese Sauce

Melt the butter in small pot, add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir thoroughly so the cheese melts well. When you’re satisfied with how melted it is, add in the cream and nutmeg, and keep on stirring until it’s nice and smooth. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool considerably.

While it’s cooling, whisk two eggs together. After it’s at a temperature where you could stick a finger in without pain, mix the eggs through the butter, cheese, and cream.

Pour this over the top of your last layer.

Step 7: Baking

Heat your oven to 180º C and place the dish in on the top shelf. It will take about half an hour for the top to crust up nicely, but really, it’s best to check it every 10 to 15 minutes to make sure. It should look like this when ready

This is how it should look

It needs to cool considerably before serving, and it’s about the same temperature of a volcano inside.

Step 8: Serving

If you decide you can’t wait to eat, this is how it will look.

If you don't let the Mousakka rest you're gonna have a messy time

And if you have great patience, you will be aesthetically rewarded.

The Final Product

This is easily one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. Between a friend and I, it didn’t last more than about 30 hours. If you try cooking anything, make it this.

11 Comments on Moussaka

It looks SO awesome, but I’m not good at guessing at seasoning amounts –

How much of each seasoning do you use in the meat mixture?
“Next, add cinnamon, allspice, oregano, tomato, tomato paste, wine, salt and pepper pepper”

And how much nutmeg in the top mixture?

by shelleyD on August 3, 2012 Reply

    For the meat mixture I use a rough one or two teaspoons. It’s not something you’d want to overdo, but it’s not important that it’s super accurate either. For the nutmeg in the cheese sauce, about a teaspoon as well.

    Let me know how it goes!

    by Aaron on August 3, 2012 Reply

I made a traditional Greek version of this last Friday night. It took 4 hours!! Your recipe looks much easier/better so I’ll be trying it next time. Although I will probably use lamb mince again.

by Amy Savva on August 8, 2012 Reply

I just want to let you know how much I love this dish. I’m about to make it for a 5th time tonight since reading about it here! It’s pretty time consuming to make – it usually takes me about 4 hours from start to finish (caramelizing onions takes time!). But man, the payoff is so worth it. Thanks for this recipe. Oh- btw – pan frying the eggplant in coconut oil makes it extra delicious.

by Kerry on February 4, 2013 Reply

    Wow, you’ve made it more than I have now! It is time consuming but it’s worth it. I’m going to have to start making it bigger because it goes pretty fast.

    Cool tip on the coconut oil, too, I’ll definitely give it a shot next time :)

    by Aaron on February 4, 2013 Reply

Hi Aaron – I made this last night – this recipe is amazing! Thank you for sharing it! I’m day 5 into my keto attempt and am scouring the internet for tasty keto dishes – this one is my number one so far :)

I live alone so this dish is going to feed me for a few days, which is always handy.

I did a couple of alterations – mainly that I used 400g of chopped tomatoes (ie one full size can) and about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (as that was all I had available), and also, I added a good amount of “milled flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds” (Linwoods brand) into the meat mixture (unmeasured, but I would say it was about half to one cup). I also overdid it on the cinnamon (my hand slipped when I was shaking it in) and I omitted the wine. But it was all good – it turned out fantastic!

by RA79 on April 22, 2013 Reply

*salivating* moussaka was one of my favourite things to eat when I was in Greece this year. Will definitely try this dish out!

by Olivia on November 27, 2013 Reply

For the meat portion
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Allspice
1 tablespoon Oregano

For cheese top
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
6 tablespoons Butter

by JLS on January 22, 2014 Reply

Looks fabulous. My recipe (posting next week) uses natural yogurt, feta and eggs for the cheese sauce. I can never make mine stack together once cut, like your s does. Loving your site. Libby

by Libby @ ditchthecarbs.com on March 19, 2014 Reply

Is that – a can of diced tomatoes, or fresh? This will be my first kito recipe, would have been great to see spices and measurements up in the ‘ingredients’ part. It’s easier to meal plan when the ingredients are all listed together, especially when you’re planning a few meals at a time for the week.

by Desiree on April 28, 2014 Reply

    I just used canned because cooking for keto consumes so much time already. As for the spices I’ve never really measures them, ever. I tend to go on what flavours I like to see, which is what I think most people should do, that way you’ll make something you enjoy

    by Aaron on July 18, 2014 Reply

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