I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes that can be made in bulk and frozen for later use (like when a new baby is born and cooking is difficult for a while). This moussaka recipe isn’t the quickest to prepare up-front, but it freezes really well and can be made in bulk.
What’s more, it’s hearty, filling comfort food packed with meat and veggies to feed a hungry family!
A Meaty Moussaka Recipe
Moussaka is a layered Eastern Mediterranean casserole dish made with eggplant or potato, a ground meat sauce, and a Greek yogurt and egg layer on top. It has rich flavors of herbs and spices with the subtle undertones of cinnamon and red wine frequently found in Greek food.
This eggplant moussaka recipe also is a great dinner to bring to friends who are ill or moms who have just had babies! (Think lasagna but much healthier and more creative!) I often make several of these at a time and freeze for this purpose. (Just add the yogurt and egg topping later when serving.)
I love to make this recipe especially in August-October when fresh eggplant is found at farmers markets or in the garden.
A Note on Cooking With Eggplant
One important note with this recipe: it is important to allow for time to remove much of the moisture from the eggplants. If you don’t your casserole will be runny.
About an hour before you begin cooking (or even the day before), slice the eggplants, put them in a strainer in the sink, and sprinkle them generously with salt. The salt helps to pull the water out. After about an hour, rinse the eggplant slices well and pat them dry.
If your eggplant is young and small, try leaving the peel on for extra nutrients! I peel larger eggplants to avoid any bitter taste.
More Eggplant Recipes to Try
Thanks to the eggplant, this moussaka recipe is full of fiber and phytonutrients. Studies show phytonutrients can help prevent free radical damage and balance blood cholesterol.
I’m still expanding my eggplant repertoire (other than my grain-free eggplant parmesan), but I’ve been planning to try grilled eggplant as well.
If you have winning eggplant recipes, I’d love to hear about them!
Greek-Style Moussaka Recipe (Eggplant Casserole)
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 TBSP butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion
- 8 oz white button mushrooms
- 1 small bunch kale
- ½ cup red wine (or beef broth)
- 24 oz diced tomatoes (drained)
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp parsley
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
- 4 cloves garlic (minced, or 2 tsp garlic powder)
- At least an hour before cooking or up to a day before, peel the eggplant if desired (recommended for large eggplant as the peel may be bitter) and slice into ¼ inch rounds or slices.
- Place in a colander over the sink and salt liberally.
- Put a heavy plate on top to create pressure and leave for an hour.
- Rinse eggplant well and pat dry.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Heat butter or coconut oil in a pan and cook the eggplant pieces for 2-3 minutes per side until starting to soften. Optionally, you can oil a large baking sheet and place all the eggplant on it and bake in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes instead.
- Brown the meat in a large skillet.
- Dice the onions, mushrooms, and kale and add them to the pan when meat is cooked.
- Saute another 5-7 minutes until all the vegetables are softening and starting to become translucent.
- Add the red wine or beef broth to deglaze the pan and then add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the spices except the garlic/garlic powder.
- Simmer about 15 minutes to let flavors incorporate.
- Grease the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Layer the eggplant slices and meat sauce in the baking dish and repeat until both are used up.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, Greek yogurt, and garlic powder.
- Spread evenly on top of the casserole.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Let set 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy!
Ever tried moussaka? What is your favorite Greek food? Share below!
Discussion (21 Comments)
When is the tomato sauce and paste added? The instructions only mentioned when NOT to add those.
Thanks for that catch! Added the details in now 🙂
I’m defined going to try this! My husband is Greek from Athens. I’m curious what he will think. I like the addition of the mushrooms and kale! Traditionally the bechemel sauce has a pinch of nutmeg in it. I would suggest adding that to the yogurt/egg topping for a more traditional flavor. I also love to add cinnamon and allspice to my meat sauces. In Greece they often “sweeten” meat dishes with spices and it is to die for. I will post after I make it and let you know what he thought. ????
What do you use to make sandwiches other than bread full of grains. Is there a healthy recipe for making bread. thanks.
I found this bread recipe. Really simple to make https://againstallgrain.com/2012/05/21/grain-free-white-bread-paleo-and-scd/
I just made this tonight and it was delicious! I improvised just a little and started with my own spaghetti sauce. But the egg and yogurt sauce and the cinnamon really added to the taste. Definitely will make it often. Thanks.
We lived in Turkey for 2 months and Moussaka was my favorite dish that I tried while living there 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait to enjoy the flavors of Turkey again.
Looks delicious – we don’t eat meat, so I’d simply substitute veggie grounds for the beef. What are the directions for heating it up after it is frozen? I like the idea of making several at one time. Thanks so much!
Hi! Can you recommend a sub for the yogurt? Thanks
I use a can of coconut milk instead of the yogurt and it works out just fine! have done it this way a few times. You can barely tell it’s in there.
Just curious, but what do you think about the theory that animal protiens are linked to cancer and heart disease and such? Have you heard of the China Study? I am currently a meat eater, but have been seeing tons of stuff about this. But for every study, there is another one to disprove it, so it’s hard to know what to believe.
Did the studies you are referring to use grass fed meat? I believe the problems with our meat has to do with how the animals are raised and fed. Steer for instance has around a 21 to 1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 1 where as grass fed is 3 to 1. Huge difference! Poultry has the same problem. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the animals are eating something their bodies are not supposed to eat or that the food is GM but either way we are changing our food for the worst 🙁 .
Amy Heffernan Webb
Please see the website http://www.rawfoodsos.com for a thorough refutation of the science & data that formed the China Study. very informative.
Google “Denise Minger China Study” for a great explanation of the problems with the way it was researched. In general, I think there are a lot of problems with factory farmed meat, but when talking about organically raised, pastured meats, it is a completely different (and nutritionally necessary) part of a diet.
Harmony McPherson Suess
Thanks so much for sharing your make-ahead meal! We have been trying some of the recipes from the freezer crockpot meals cookbook you recommended a while back and we always need more options for when we don’t have time to cook! I’d like to try this one.
I’ve only ever had moussaka as lamb mince, not ground beef. In fact, it’s the only way I liked lamb! I’d be willing to try yours 🙂