Categories

yummy recipes for busy people

Eggplant Moussaka with Lamb [Aubergine Moussaka]

This Eggplant Moussaka is an easy dinner filled with veggies, ground beef or lamb and topped with melted cheese. This version is made without potatoes and Bechamel sauce, but with extra aubergine – for an authentic Mediterranean dish that’s healthy, delicious and simple to make.

moussaka with a golden cheese crust in an oven tray, with some tomatoes in the background
Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy something through one of them, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These links are always marked with *.

Did you think that moussaka had to be vegetarian? Or have potatoes? Think again!

This moussaka is the bare essentials version – but still, it’s the most delicious version I’ve had. Without wine, Bechamel sauce and – yes – even without potatoes, this is a simple moussaka that you can master quickly and make over and over again.

You don’t even have to fry the eggplant before cooking – just stick it in the oven pan and let it pre-bake. Less dishes, less trouble – already there it’s a winner in my book.

Why this is a great recipe

  • Full of delicious flavors from the lamb and tomatoes
  • A beautiful golden, cheesy crust on top of all that saucy flavor
  • A complete meal in itself – but perfect with a side of rice or bread to serve more people
  • Lots of veggies makes it easy to get your 5-a-day
  • Easy to make and most of the cook-time is hands off
  • Reheats gorgeously, and is a perfect dish to make ahead and bring along for a potluck or just for lunch

What you need to make this recipe

For this recipe you will need:

  • Eggplants that you peel, slice and pre-bake in the oven
  • Yellow onion – can be switched for red onion or shallots – finely chopped
  • Garlic that you chop as finely as you can
  • Bell pepper – I like red, but green or yellow will work great as well
  • Ground lamb or beef
  • Tomatoes that you chop and boil down with the meat to create the sauce. Peel them for extra points!
  • Butter for making the lamb sauce – can be switched for vegetable oil, for example olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • Olive oil for frying and for pre-baking the eggplant – can be switched for butter or another type of vegetable oil
  • Salt for seasoning
  • Ground black pepper for seasoning
  • Shredded cheese to top it all off

Expert tip 1: Peel the tomatoes if you have the time – it’s so nice not to have that peel in the sauce. However, this is optional and will not make or break your dish. If you want tips for how to peel your tomatoes head on over to this recipe for Acili Ezme where I show you how I do it.

Expert tip 2: All cheeses are not created equal! For this recipe, try to find a cheese that will melt and brown well. Shredded mozzarella will do the trick, and if you buy already shredded cheese you can usually find versions labelled “au gratin” or similarly indicated to be great for this purpose.

Great tools to have for making this recipe

To make this recipe you will need a deep oven pan that’s about 20×25 cm or 8×10”, a wide frying pan, a sharp knife and a chopping board as well as some measuring spoons. In the collage below, you will find some easy ways to grab these if you don’t already have them.

The links in the collage below are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy something through one of them, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

How to make this recipe

Start by chopping your onion, bell pepper and garlic and heat your oven to 200 C/400 F.

process collage showing how to peel and slice eggplant

Then start by peeling the eggplant. The easiest way to do this is by sliding a sharp knife lengthwise just under the dark skin of the eggplant. (1) Repeat until you’ve removed all of the skin. Then slice your eggplant in half lengthwise, set aside one of the halves, and slice the other in half again. (2) Next, slice the eggplant about 5 mm or 1/5” thick. (3-4)

Expert tip 3: If you are really in a hurry you can skip the peeling of the egg plants – but it is much tastier and nicer to eat if you do peel it.

Now bring out your deep and wide oven pan, and pour in the olive oil for pre-baking the eggplant. Then add in the slices of eggplant and season with salt. (6) Mix it up well (7) and then spread out the slices evenly. (8) Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until you are done with the sauce.

process collage showing how to fry onion, garlic and red bell pepper

While the eggplant is pre-baking, make the sauce. Start by melting the butter in a wide frying pan over medum-high heat, and then add in the olive oil (9). Place the chopped onion and garlic in the pan (10) and fry for a few minutes until softened (11). Add in the chopped bell pepper and mix (12).

process collage showing how to fry ground lamb and season it with salt and pepper

Fry the bell pepper for about a minute and then add in the ground lamb. (13) Cook on all sides (14) until browned and then season with black pepper (15) and salt (16).

process collage showing how to add tomatoes to fried ground lamb to make sauce before covering and leaving it to simmer

Add in the chopped tomatoes (17) and mix well (18). Cover, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes (19) or until it has become a bit saucy (20). Then taste test and adjust seasoning if needed.

process collage showing how to put eggplants and lamb and tomato sauce together to make moussaka as well as how it looks before baking, after 20 minutes of baking and after adding cheese

When the sauce is finished, bring out the pre-baked eggplant. (21) Cover the eggplant evenly with the lamb and tomato sauce (22) and then place back in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, bring it out from the oven (23) and raise the temperature to 225 C/440 F. Then spread out the cheese on top of the moussaka (24) and place the dish back in the oven.

finished eggplant moussaka with lamb with a golden crust of melted cheese

Bake for another 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted and browned. Bring it out and serve immediately.

Expert tips summarized

  1. Peel the tomatoes if you have the time and energy – it is worth it, but won’t make or break your dish.
  2. Use a cheese that will melt and brown well – for example shredded mozzarella, or store bought shredded cheese intended for “au gratin” use
  3. Peeling the eggplants makes a big difference, but you can skip it if you are super short on time.
a spoonful of moussaka being lifted out of the pan

FAQ

Can I reheat it?

Yes! Either reheat the whole dish in the oven, or use the microwave. If reheating in the oven, heat it to 150 C/300 F and place the entire pan in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.

Can I make it the day before?

This dish is still delicious the next day, and the day after that… to be honest, it’s probably even better on day 2-3. Which makes it perfect to make ahead and bring along to your next pot luck.

If you know you will have access to an oven just before serving, finish it up until the point when you would add the cheese. Then let it cool, chill overnight, and then 15 minutes before serving place in an oven heated to 150C/300 F for 10 minutes. Then take it out, raise the temperature to 225 C/440 F, add the cheese and place the pan back in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, and then you will have the best of both worlds – a moussaka that’s been allowed to set, with the flavors all maximized – but with a new, gooey, cheesy crust.

Can I make it with beef instead of lamb?

Yes, this recipe is delicious made with beef as well.

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Yes, just switch the lamb for a ground quorn or other vegetarian “meat” instead.

How long will it last in the fridge?

This dish will last for at least 3-4 days in the fridge.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, you can freeze it. It usually turns out a bit more watery when heated back up, but it is still delicious.

a plate with a piece of tortilla in front of a dish full of moussaka

How to serve moussaka

This moussaka really is a complete meal on its own, but if you want to add something I suggest making some rice, serving in a tortilla bread or with side of plain white bread. Perfect for mopping up all that delicious sauce!

That’s all for this recipe! What did you think of it? Let me know by leaving a comment and/or a rating below! As always, I love hearing from you!

Emmeline

moussaka with a golden cheese crust in an oven tray, with some tomatoes in the background

Eggplant Moussaka with Lamb [Aubergine Moussaka]

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: European, Mediterranean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 662kcal

Ingredients

Pre-baked eggplant

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggplants peeled and sliced 5 mm / ⅕'' thick.
  • ½ tsp salt

Lamb and Tomato Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 500 g minced lamb
  • 6 tomatoes chopped
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

For baking

  • 100 g shredded cheese

Instructions

Pre-baked Eggplant

  • Set the oven for 200°C/400°F and and bring out a deep oven dish that's about 20×25 cm or 8×10''.
  • Pour in the olive oil in the oven dish and follow with the sliced eggplant. Season with salt, mix well, and then spread out the eggplant slices evenly. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until your sauce is ready.

Lamb and Tomato Sauce

  • To start the sauce, place a frying pan over medium-high heat and add in the butter and the olive oil for the sauce. When hot and the butter is melted, add in the chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add in the red bell pepper, and fry for another minute. Then add in the meat and fry until browned.
  • Add in the tomatoes and season with ground black pepper and salt. Mix well, then cover and cook for 5-10 minutes until saucy.
  • When saucy, mix, taste test and adjust seasoning if needed.

To Bake the Moussaka

  • Bring out the eggplant from the oven and pour over the lamb & tomato sauce. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, raise the heat to 225°C/440°F and bring out the pan. Top with the shredded cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. Then bring out from the oven and serve as it is or with a side of bread or rice.

Notes

Expert tips

  1. Peel the tomatoes if you have the time and energy – it is worth it, but won’t make or break your dish.
  2. Use a cheese that will melt and brown well – for example shredded mozzarella, or store bought shredded cheese intended for “au gratin” use
  3. Peeling eggplants makes a big difference, but you can skip it if you are super short on time.

FAQ

Can I reheat it?
Yes! Either reheat the whole dish in the oven, or use the microwave. If reheating in the oven, heat it to 150 C/300 F and place the entire pan in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.
Can I make it the day before?
This dish is still delicious the next day, and the day after that… to be honest, it’s probably even better on day 2-3… Which makes it perfect to make ahead and bring along to your next pot luck.
If you know you will have access to an oven just before serving, finish it up until the point when you would add the cheese. Then let it cool, chill overnight, and then 15 minutes before serving place in an oven heated to 150C/300 F for 10 minutes. Then bring it out,raise the temperature to 225 C/440 F, add the cheese and place the pan back in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, and then you will have the best of both worlds – a moussaka that’s been allowed to set, with the flavors all maximized – but with a new, gooey, cheesy crust.
Can I make it with beef instead of lamb?
Yes, this recipe is delicious made with beef as well.
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Yes, just switch the lamb for a ground quorn or other vegetarian “meat” instead.
How long will it last in the fridge?
This dish will last for at least 3-4 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze it. It usually turns out a bit more watery when heated back up, but it is still delicious.
Nutrition Facts
Eggplant Moussaka with Lamb [Aubergine Moussaka]
Amount Per Serving
Calories 662 Calories from Fat 441
% Daily Value*
Fat 49g75%
Saturated Fat 19g119%
Cholesterol 119mg40%
Sodium 854mg37%
Potassium 1373mg39%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 2779IU56%
Vitamin C 71mg86%
Calcium 197mg20%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.

Did you make this?Tag @alwaysusebutter and use the hashtag #alwaysusebutter!


2 thoughts on “Eggplant Moussaka with Lamb [Aubergine Moussaka]”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.