Eggplant Moussaka is an easy dinner filled with veggies, ground beef or lamb and topped with melted cheese. This version is made without potatoes but with extra aubergine - for an authentic Mediterranean dish that's healthy, delicious and simple to make.
Set the oven for 200°C/400°F and and bring out a deep oven dish that's about 20x25 cm or 8x10''.
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.
Peel the tomatoes if you have the time and energy - it is worth it, but won't make or break your dish.
Use a cheese that will melt and brown well - for example shredded mozzarella, or store bought shredded cheese intended for "au gratin" use
Peeling eggplants makes a big difference, but you can skip it if you are super short on time.
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.