Traditional Moussaka with Eggplant and Potatoes

This traditional Moussaka is made with fried eggplant, potato, and zucchini then topped with a rich tomato meat sauce and a creamy cheesy bechamel sauce for the ultimate Greek comfort food.


For the vegetables:
2 russet potatoes, peeled sliced into 1/3″ thick rounds
2 zucchini sliced into 1/3″ thick strips
2 eggplants sliced into 1/3″ thick strips
2 cups vegetable or peanut oil
For the meat sauce:
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 white onion diced
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine like cabernet or pinot noir
1 cup tomato purée or sauce
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
For the bechamel sauce:
8 tbsp butter
8 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups shredded parmesan


Prepare vegetables:
Slice zucchini and eggplant into 1/3″ thick pieces, lengthwise. Peel potatoes and slice into 1/3″ thick rounds. Lay eggplant down in a flat even layer and cover with paper towels. Repeat with sliced zucchini and potatoes.
Heat 1.5-2 cups oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Starting with potatoes, transfer to hot oil in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Flip potatoes over to cook both sides until golden brown.
Repeat with zucchini and then eggplant. Place all fried vegetables on paper towels to soak up excess oil and set aside.
Prepare meat sauce:
While vegetables cook, prepare meat sauce. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a separate large pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
Add ground beef to the pan with onions and garlic. Cook, breaking meat into pieces until fully browned.
Add tomato paste and stir until fully combined with meat. Add red wine, tomato purée, beef stock, chopped thyme and 1/4 cup of the chopped parsley.
Add 2 bay leaves, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Mix well and let simmer while you make the bechamel sauce.
Prepare bechamel sauce:
In a medium size pot, melt 8 tbsp butter. Slowly whisk in 8 tbsp flour until combined. Add 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Slowly whisk in 4 cups milk until mixture thickens. Mix in 2 cup shredded parmesan until combined. Turn off heat and mix in 2 egg yolks until fully combined.
Assemble moussaka & bake:
Assemble Moussaka in 9×13 (or equivalent) baking dish. Place layer of fried potatoes on bottom, closing all gaps. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and shredded parmesan. Repeat with zucchini and then eggplant.
On top of the veggies, spread an even layer of the beef mixture. Then spread the bechamel sauce evenly over the top of the beef layer. Sprinkle the top with more shredded parmesan.
Bake at 350 F for 60 minutes or until golden brown on top. Sprinkle the top with fresh parsley and let sit for at least 30 minutes so moussaka can set.


Storing instructions: place pieces of cooked moussaka in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing instructions: wrap individual pieces of cooked moussaka and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Make ahead instructions: prepare moussaka per instructions but don’t bake. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge for up to 2 days until ready to bake.
Reheat instructions: remove cooked pieces of moussaka and bake at 350 F until warmed through.
Bake vegetables instead of fry: place sliced vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 F for 20-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Half the bechamel sauce for lighter option: this recipe has a very thick and rich layer of bechamel. If you want it to be a bit lighter, you can half the bechamel recipe and it will still yield enough for the top of the moussaka.
Let sit: with such a thick layer of bechamel, you need to let the moussaka sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour so the moussaka sets and doesn’t fall apart when serving.

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