Our classic Moussaka recipe is so easy to make at home. If you’ve ever eaten in a Greek restaurant or better still, in Greece itself, then you’ll know just how mouth-watering a good moussaka can be. If you’ve never tried it before, then starting with this classic Greek recipe if you want to make the dish at home is a good idea.
Classic moussaka recipes are made with layers of tender aubergine, flavoured minced lamb or beef, potatoes and white sauce. It’s a little like a Greek version of lasagne. For a slightly lower fat version, slice the aubergines and place on non-stick baking paper. Brush with a little olive oil and roast until golden. This recipe serves 4 people and will take around 1hr and 20 mins to prepare and make. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days once cooled completely. Make sure its piping hot before serving again. Perfect for winter or summer serve with a tasty Greek salad and enjoy!
How to make vegetarian moussaka
If you want to turn your moussaka into a vegetarian version, swap the minced beef or lamb for a concoction of seasoned vegetables instead. Mushrooms, peppers and courgettes make a good option.
- 3 medium aubergines, thinly sliced
- 1tbsp salt
- 4 potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
- 6tbsp olive oil plus a little extra for frying
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 500g minced beef or lamb
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 large ripe tomatoes
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- 75ml red wine
- A small handful fresh chopped parsley
- For the topping:
- 40g butter
- 40g plain flour
- 300ml milk
- 75g grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
Layer up the aubergines, sprinkling with salt as you do in a colander. Place over a bowl and leave whilst preparing the moussaka (see that’s good to know).
Place a large pan of salt water on to boil. When boiling add the sliced potatoes. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 4-5 mins until just tender but still holding their shape. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Meanwhile heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, cover and cook gently for 5 mins, stirring once or twice until soft. Add the minced beef or lamb and cook, stirring regularly for a further 5-6 minutes until mince is brown. If using lamb mince, carefully drain off any excess fat.
Sprinkle over the cinnamon and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Meanwhile chop 2 of the tomatoes. Add to the pan with the tomato puree and the red wine. Cover the pan and simmer, stirring regularly for 10 mins. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Meanwhile make the topping: Slice the remaining tomatoes thinly. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to make a paste. Cook, stirring for 1 minute then remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the milk and season to taste. Return to the heat and bring up to the boil, stirring until thickened. Cover with wetted cling film or greaseproof paper to prevent a skin forming.
Rinse the aubergines and pat dry. Heat half of the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry half of the aubergine slices in an even layer, turning over once until softened and golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Repeat the process using the remaining oil and aubergines. (If your frying pan is not large enough then cook more batches – see That’s good to know).
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/350°F. Place the potatoes in an even layer over the base of a large ovenproof dish. Next, layer up the aubergines and minced beef, ending with a layer of aubergines. Spread half of the white sauce over the top of the aubergines. Top with the sliced tomatoes then spread over the remaining white sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Bake for 35-45 mins until golden and bubbling. Serve hot.
Top tip for making Classic Moussaka
Traditionally aubergines were salted and left to draw out the bitter juices (de-gorging) but now they are grown in a way that means the process is no longer necessary. However, salting the aubergines also removes excess moisture and softens them slightly. So although it’s not essential, for this recipe it’s easy to do whilst preparing the rest of the dish.