Eggplant Moussaka is a beloved dish in Mediterranean cuisine, known for its rich layers of eggplant, tomato sauce, and creamy bechamel. This hearty vegetarian dish is perfect for impressing guests or enjoying a cozy dinner at home. Let's take a culinary trip to the Mediterranean and learn how to make this classic dish.

Eggplant Moussaka

Introduction to Eggplant Moussaka

Brief History and Origins

Eggplant Moussaka has its roots in the Balkans and the Middle East, but it is the Greek version that has become widely popular. Traditionally, Moussaka includes layers of eggplant, minced meat, and bechamel sauce, but our vegetarian version substitutes the meat with a robust tomato sauce, maintaining all the rich flavors and textures.

Overview of the Dish

Moussaka is more than just a casserole. Its layers of tender eggplant, savory tomato sauce, and velvety bechamel create a symphony of flavors and textures that represent Mediterranean comfort food at its finest.

Ingredients and Tools


  • For the Eggplant Layer
  • 2 large eggplants
  • Salt (for sweating the eggplants)
  • Olive oil (for frying)
  • For the Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Bechamel Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Suggested Kitchen Tools

  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large skillet
  • Saucepan
  • Baking dish (9x13 inch)
  • Whisk
  • Large spoon
  • Oven

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Preparing the Eggplant

  1. Wash and cut the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  2. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let them sit for 30 minutes to sweat out the bitterness.
  3. Rinse the slices under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant slices until they are golden brown on both sides. Set aside on paper towels to drain any excess oil.

2. Making the Tomato Sauce

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.
  3. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  5. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens.

3. Creating the Bechamel Sauce

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is golden and bubbly.
  3. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  4. Continue to cook and whisk until the sauce thickens.
  5. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.

4. Assembling the Moussaka

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a baking dish, start with a layer of fried eggplant slices.
  3. Spread half of the tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant.
  4. Add another layer of eggplant slices, followed by the remaining tomato sauce.
  5. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top layer, spreading it evenly with a spoon.

5. Baking and Serving

  1. Bake the moussaka in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
  2. Allow the moussaka to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. This helps the layers set and makes it easier to slice.

Tips and Variations

Tips for Selecting and Preparing Eggplants

  • Choose firm, glossy eggplants with no soft spots or blemishes.
  • Sweating the eggplants with salt helps remove any bitterness and excess moisture, ensuring a better texture.

Ideas for Customizing the Dish

  • Add Protein: For a meatier texture, consider adding lentils or mushrooms to the tomato sauce.
  • Cheese Lovers: Sprinkle some feta or mozzarella cheese between the layers for extra richness.
  • Spice It Up: Add a pinch of chili flakes to the tomato sauce for a little heat.


Eggplant Moussaka is a delightful dish that brings the flavors of the Mediterranean right into your kitchen. With its layers of tender eggplant, savory tomato sauce, and creamy bechamel, it's sure to become a favorite. Give this recipe a try and immerse yourself in the rich culinary traditions of the Mediterranean.

We'd love to hear about your experience making Moussaka! Share your photos and thoughts with us in the comments below or on social media. Happy cooking!

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