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A classic Greek comfort food recipe that is reminiscent of lasagna; a spiced ground beef mixture is layered with eggplant, potatoes, and cheese, all smothered in a rich bechamel sauce.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep 1 hour
Cook 50 minutes
resting time 1 hour
Total 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 451 kcal
Author Michelle


  • pounds eggplant peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion grated
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 16 ounces tomato puree
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg white lightly beaten
  • 5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds

For the White Sauce:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks lightly beaten


  1. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and let drain in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse, squeeze out any excess water and pat dry.
  2. Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook, turning occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned on both sides (if you don't have a pan big enough, do this in two batches). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Increase the heat to medium, add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon, for about 10 minutes, or until browned. Add the tomato puree, allspice, and sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool, then fold in the egg white and parsley.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce. Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to barely a boil, then remove from the heat. Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Return the sauce to medium heat and simmer, whisking constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10x15-inch lasagna pan with butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Cover the base of the dish with the potato slices, overlapping them slightly. Spread half of the meat mixture on top and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of the remaining bread crumbs. Cover with the eggplant slices, overlapping them slightly. Spread the remaining meat mixture on top, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the remaining breadcrumbs. (At this point, the dish may be covered and frozen. Thaw before baking.)
  6. Whisk the cream and egg yolks into the white sauce and spread it evenly over the surface of the dish. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Potatoes and Eggplant: I use a combination in this recipe, but you can use all potatoes or all eggplant. You can also substitute zucchini or carrots.
  • Serving Suggestions: Add garlic bread or a side salad to round this out as the main course.
  • Make-Ahead: Assemble the moussaka, cover, and refrigerator for up to 1 day, but store the bechamel sauce stored separately in the refrigerator. Whisk the bechamel sauce vigorously; if it is too thick to pour, reheat in a saucepan over low heat until it reaches a pouring consistency. Pour over the prepared moussaka and bake as directed.
  • Freezing: Because the white sauce does not freeze especially well, make and layer the eggplant, potatoes, and meat mixture, then cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then make the bechamel, add it to the top, and bake as directed.
  • Storing Leftovers: The moussaka can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Recipe adapted from Vefa's Kitchen

Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 125mg42%
Sodium 261mg11%
Potassium 1112mg32%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 768IU15%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 217mg22%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.