I absolutely love Greek food and Moussaka is the perfect go-to comfort food. Moussaka is a Greek Eggplant Casserole that is traditionally made with ground lamb or beef, but soy crumbles can also be used for a vegetarian alternative. Since it does take a bit more time to prepare than most of my go-to dinner dishes, I don’t make it as often as I’d like, but thoroughly indulge when I do.
Moussaka (Greek Eggplant Casserole)
- 3 medium eggplant
- 3/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
For Meat Sauce (or Vegetarian Option):
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or beef (or 1 package frozen soy crumbles)
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano)
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
For Bechamel Sauce:
- 4 tbsp butter
- 6 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 tsp salt
- white pepper to taste
For Moussaka Assembly:
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Peel and slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil, and bake in a single layer for 10 minutes on each side. They will be golden browned. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- For meat sauce, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cook about 15 minutes or until translucent; add and ground meat (or Frozen Soy Crumbles) to the pan and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the meat is browned or the Soy Crumbles have thawn completely. Add the remaining meat sauce ingredients, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until moisture has evaporated. Set this mixture aside.
- For Bechamel sauce, melt butter under low heat in a medium saute pan, add flour and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes. This will be a white sauce, so don't allow it to brown at this point. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue stiring until mixture is thickened and smooth, about an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Set sauce aside.
- To assemble moussaka, place one layer of eggplant slices on bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, overlapping slices. Spread the eggplant with 1/3 of the meat sauce, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Add two more layers of eggplant, meat sauce, and cheese. Cover the layers with the Bechamel sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Bake Moussake for about 1 hour, or until mixture is bubbly and golden browned on top. Let sit for about 20 minutes after removing from oven, cut and serve.