The ultimate makeover: Moussaka

The ultimate makeover: Moussaka

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(40 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 5 mins

More effort

Serves 6
A light and healthy, but rich-tasting Greek-style dish

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal325
  • fat15g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs19g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre6g
  • protein28g
  • salt0.65g
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  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrot (350g total weight), diced



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 450g 5% fat minced beef
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped oregano leaves



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 2 good handfuls chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 3 aubergine (about 750g/1lb 10oz total weight), ends trimmed



    Although it's technically a fruit (a berry, to be exact), the aubergine is used as a…

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the topping

  • 2 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 300g 2% Greek yogurt
  • 50g Parmesan, grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

To serve

  • halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion and rocket salad


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large, wide sauté pan. Tip in the onion and garlic, then fry for 6-8 mins until turning golden. Add the carrots and fry for 2 mins more. Stir the meat into the pan, breaking it up as you stir. Cook and stir over a high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Pour in the wine and briefly cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice. Tip in the tomatoes, tomato purée and 1 tbsp water (mixed with any juices left in the can), then stir to break up the tomatoes. Season with some pepper, add all the oregano and half the parsley, cover, then simmer on a low heat for 50 mins, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Mix in the remaining parsley. Can be done a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.

  2. While the meat cooks (unless you are doing this a day ahead) prepare the aubergines. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/ gas 6. Brush a little of the remaining oil onto 2 large baking sheets. Mix the rest of the oil with the lemon juice. Slice the aubergines into 1cm thick lengthways slices, then lay them on the oiled baking sheets. Brush with the oil and lemon mix, then season with pepper. Bake for 20-25 mins until soft, then set aside. Lower oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

  3. Spread 2 big spoonfuls of the meat mixture on the bottom of an ovenproof dish (about 28 x 20 x 6cm deep). Lay the aubergine slices on top, slightly overlapping. Spoon the rest of the meat mixture on top. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Slacken the cornflour with a little of the yogurt, stir in the rest of the yogurt, then mix this into the eggs with half the cheese. Season with pepper. Pour and spread this over the meat to cover it. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, a little cinnamon and a grating of pepper. Bake for 50 mins-1 hr until bubbling and golden.

  4. Leave moussaka to settle for 8-10 mins, then scatter over some chopped parsley and cut into squares. Serve with a salad of tomato, red onion and rocket.

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Comments (49)

maartjevdm's picture

Great recipe! I have never had moussaka before so I can't compare it but its a really nice and filling dish. I used 300gr of organic lean beef mincemeat (in the Netherlands we label a bit differently and don't have all the same products), 2 aubergines, 180gr carrots, halved the amounts for the topping and used 0% Greek yoghurt and kept the other ingredients the same. Makes 3 generous portions no salad or anything else needed. I followed the advice of other readers. Left the meat sauce on the hob for 30 minutes ( In between I added a little extra water approximently 50 ml or so using the tomato tin) and I kept the whole thing in de oven for about 35 minutes. What are people's experiences with the leftovers and reheating without a microwave?

philippalakebaker's picture

I make up large quantities, freeze and then either microwave or simply defrost, put in the oven to heat, 170 fan oven for 30 mins. If it gets too brown loosely cover the top with foil.

nikkinor's picture

Made this recipe instead of my normal one and it was delicious. I did make some changes- I only used two aubergines but still had some left over. I didn't have fresh oregano or parsley so used dried instead and I used lamb mince instead of beef so it wasn't quite so healthy. Will definitely make this again.

cshobbs's picture

Very popular, even though my son wasn't mad about the aubergines.
I really enjoyed making it!
And an additional attraction was that it was gluten free.

jose81's picture

This is the first moussaka I've ever cooked - and it was absolutely delicious. I've never seen my three year old eat so much of his dinner - and he even went back to it after dessert! I used lamb mince, half the amount of cinnamon (as suggested) and mixed spice. I only had one medium sized aubergine and I think one large would do it. I probably had it cooking on the hob for 30mins and gave it 30 minutes in the oven - but with foil over it until the last ten minutes. The topping was like a soufflé and was divine. It fed two adults and a hungry pre schooler, with not much leftover. It was a bit of a faff to cook but definitely worth it, this will be going on our favourites list.

heather444's picture

Cooked this for the first time earlier this week and absolutely loved it! Will definitely cook it again. I followed the recipe to the letter and found it would feed 6 if served with salad and perhaps boiled potatoes. It's much easier to cook than the recipe would suggest too.

jeyleebean's picture

This turned out fabulous, made it with my favourite person and we both enjoyed it. Subbed the beef for lamb. I always think moussaka should be made with lamb anyway. Used just one large aubergine. Added cheddar to the topping and covered it with foil so it wouldn't burn. Used real tomatoes and omitted lemon juice and allspice.

Also cooked the mince for just 30 minutes. We figured it was going to get well cooked in the oven for 1 hour. I really enjoyed it. So yummy

dorothyd's picture

First time making moussaka and this was a truly excellent recipe. My guests all commented on how tasty it was and I was left with a completely empty dish, which to me, is a real sign of good food. I prepared the meat for the dish the day before and I think this helped with the deep flavour of the dish. Will be definitely be making this one again.

rokat's picture

Made this recipe to eat with friends. It was delicious ....not a morsel was left. Can't wait to Make it again.

rokat's picture

Made this recipe to eat with friends and it was a resounding success. Not a morsel was left. Will certainly make it again.

Angelica Mercieca Ciantar's picture

Been making this moussaka version for a while now. It's an excellent dish for when you're on a diet and my husband loves it too. I like having a serving for dinner and taking the other serving for lunch to work next day. I find that the cooking time on the meat sauce is rather extended and that it cooks well enough with 15-20mins. I sometimes swap white for red wine (depending on the availability in my fridge) and always use regular non-fat plain yogurt rather than greek yogurt, still turns out just fine. I sometimes use feta cheese to crumble on top rather than parmesan and I like to add some soya mince to my meat to reduce the calories. 2 aubergines are enough esp if they are rather big and to reduce the fat content further I sometimes like to cook my meat before and drain the fat before adding it to the sauce mix.

gemmaeyre's picture

Made this for some friends,never made moussaka before but will be making it again now. I changed the recipe slightly, as my husband doesn't like aubergine. I replaced it with slices of potato. Everyone said how nice it was. I served it with the suggested salad. Yum!

satutatu's picture

Chose this recipe to use up 3 aubergines. Used 600g meat, substituted passata & red wine and added 2 bay leaves. Cooked for much shorter so had a substantial sauce for over the aubergines. Added crumbled feta to the eggy yoghurt mix and more on top as well as more oregano & grana padano. It's in the oven now & smells divine! The topping has puffed right up so covered loosely with foil to avoid burning. Can't wait to try it!

cshobbs's picture

Tasted great! Certainly wasn't disappointed. Takes a while to prepare, the timings are accurate, other than the meat mixture was simmered for 30 mins as suggested by others. No harder than other moussakas I have tried in the past. Used red wine and halved the amount of cinnamon.
I didn't serve with a side salad, and would say that the recipe gave 4 good size portions.

ziggy1945's picture

My husband took one mouthful and said he hated the cinnamon taste! I shall leave it out next time and try again!

Stephy19's picture

Was lovely, but I followed to the letter, and found that it was a bit dry, and I hate far too much aubergine and not enough meat. I'd make it again, just tweak it a little!

jabrady91's picture

I've made this for my lunches this week and it's really nice especially when you want something comforting on a diet.
I cooked the mince for 20 mins, aubergine for 15 and put in the oven for 45. I like a darker topping for creamy mixtures as the texture is nicer but other people may not like this.
I had 600g of mince so added that and swapped parmesan for cheddar. Would definitely make again though.

welshden's picture

Gawjus! - reduced the cooking time to half an hour for both on the hob and in the oven and cinnamon to a half teaspoon as per the other comments on here - I didn't have any cornflour so omitted it from the topping and used grated cheddar instead of parmesan.

Was absolutely delicious served with a onion and radish salad and chilli pita crisps (recipe on here).

mamacharp's picture

I forgot to rate it: 4 out of 5- great taste, timings were misleading. I also thought that as described (due to timings) it didnt seem like an easy recipe...but in reality it is. In short, a great recipe but let down slightly by the description which makes it seem more effort than it is.

mamacharp's picture

I used low fat creme fraiche combined with fat free yoghurt (rather than 2% fat yoghurt)... Tasted great. My aubergine slices took 15 mind to bake (used fry light spray to grease pan). I fast cookef the meat mixture uncovered in a wok for less time than stated. The whole dish then only took 20mins to bake in oven. Don't be out off by long times listed in this recipe, they are overkill. I didn't think there was enough meat mixture for two layers. So mine was one layer of meat and one layer aubergines with white topping directly on top of aubergines. Worked fine. I added diced celery when I added the carrot and I added a teaspoon of garlic salt to the meat mixture toward the end.


Questions (2)

jez9121's picture

I am planning to make this tomorrow but wanted to make it in advance. Is it ok to do this and leave the topping on top of the meet for a few hours and then cook in the oven or should I do the meat part and then add the topping on prior to oven cooking?



goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Jen, thanks for getting in touch. We haven't tested preparing this ahead but can see no reason why you wouldn't be ok to prepare the whole thing, meat and topping, ready for baking and just store it in the fridge until you're ready to cook it. It should be fine in the fridge like that for 24 hours. Let us know how it goes. 

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