Classic Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants

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A recipe for a Classic Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants (Greek lasagne)

I am passionate about Greek food and Mediterranean food in general and have wanted to make a classic Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants for the longest time. Moussaka is to the Greeks what lasagne is to the Italians and the dish is steeped in history and tradition. I have opted to use only eggplants in this dish vs adding potatoes. It’s a little lighter and deliciously lower in carbs.

My Greek friends insist that potatoes need to be added so I was rather nervous when I gave a sample of this dish to one of them to try. I was thrilled when she gave it the thumbs up and said it was delicious.

A slice of Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants recipe on a plate

How to make Moussaka

There are four 4 components to making a classic Greek lamb Moussaka:

  1. The Meat Sauce
  2. Cooking the eggplant
  3. Making a thick béchamel sauce (semi-set)
  4. Layering the moussaka (like a lasagne)

A close up of hte layers of a Classic Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants recipe

The meat sauce

I personally love the flavour lamb gives moussaka. It’s earthier which somehow feels right to me, but beef is often used and will work with this recipe too.

Whatever you choose, cook it as you would a traditional beef mince Bolognese but ensure that it is drier and thicker. Moussaka has distinct layers so you need to reduce the sauce enough so that it doesn’t run out when cut.

Step by step photos of how to make a Greek lamb moussaka recipe

I find having 3 layers of eggplants and meat helps to hold the dish together even though the meat layer is quite thin this way.

One of the hallmarks of a Moussaka’s meat sauce is the inclusion of cinnamon. This exotic spice plays a crucial role in imparting that unmistakable Moussaka flavour.

Step by step photos of how to make a Greek lamb moussaka recipe

Cooking the eggplant:

There is debate as to whether to fry or grill (or oven-bake) the eggplant slices. Whilst frying will give the eggplant a distinctive flavour, I only griddle fry or bake them. They are a sponge for oil and frying them makes the dish unnecessarily rich.

Lightly brush the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Eggplant for Greek lamb moussaka

Making a thick béchamel sauce

The crowning glory of moussaka is a thick layer of set creamy béchamel sauce. I have the perfect ratios to make this sauce set and have added one whole egg which helps with this.

The amount of sauce in this recipe works perfectly in a 26cm x 18cm oven dish (or similar). Make sure you don’t make this in a dish that is too big otherwise the sauce layer will not be thick enough.

Nutmeg is an important flavour component to the bechamel adding that hint of spice that compliments all the other flavours.

Parmesan cheese adds more flavour and richness and I allow this to cook into the béchamel sauce.

step by step photos of making how to make Greek lamb moussaka

Assembling the Greek moussaka in layers

Moussaka gets assembled in layers like a lasagne. Make sure to overlap the eggplants so that they form a solid layer.

I layered as follows: Eggplant + mince + eggplant + mince + eggplant plus mince. I divided the mince into 3 before layering. You can do this with 2 layers of eggplant and one layer of mince if you prefer or don’t have enough eggplant. 

The béchamel sauce always goes on top in a thick layer. It will firm up and set as it cools if you don’t bake this right away (which is good).

Greek lamb moussaka out the oven

What to Serve with Moussaka

Greek moussaka is a complete meal, but it pairs wonderfully with a few traditional side dishes that enhance the experience:

Greek Salad: A fresh and vibrant Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, and a bright dressing perfectly complements the richness of moussaka.

Tzatziki: This classic Greek yoghurt dip with cucumbers, garlic, and herbs adds a refreshing contrast to the hearty flavours of moussaka.

Pita Bread: Warm pita bread is the perfect accompaniment to scoop up all the saucy bits in a delicious moussaka.

Freezing Moussaka

Moussaka is an excellent dish for meal prepping and freezing. To freeze moussaka, prepare the dish as usual but refrain from baking it. Cover the unbaked moussaka tightly with plastic wrap and aluminium foil to prevent freezer burn. When ready to serve, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking it in the oven until heated through.

A slice of Greek lamb moussaka

Wine pairing with moussaka:

The moussaka paired perfectly with the Perdeberg Cellar THE DRY LAND COLLECTION Resolve Pinotage 2020

The Dry Land Collection Wines are made from grapes of dry land vineyards, which showcase the uniqueness of the wines grown in this testing terroir. The wine is made in a new world style, complex with ample fruit and structure.

The vineyard sourced grapes from two blocks in the Paarl area, aged 13 and 26 years, relying mainly on winter rainfall. The winemaking involves cold maceration for two days, fermentation in stainless steel tanks with pump-overs for five days, and 18 months of maturation in French and American oak barrels, with about 30% new oak.

The resulting Pinotage wine displays a deep purple colour, with a spicy aroma, hints of fresh cherries, and strawberry cordial. The palate offers abundant fruit, charisma, and a luscious tannin structure that will continue to evolve in taste and texture over time. 

A bottle of wine with a classic Greek lamb moussaka

A few other Greek-inspired recipes you might like:

Greek lamb souvlaki

Chicken kebabs with yoghurt, paprika and lemon

Spinach and 3-cheese phyllo pie with herbs (spanakopita)

Stuffed red peppers with mince & rice

Greek Panzanella salad

Halloumi saganaki with sultanas & pecans

Orzo salad with roast tomatoes, feta and olives

Recipe – serves 4


Classic Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants

A classic Greek lamb Moussaka with layers of roasted eggplant covered in velvety bechamel sauce.

  • Author: Sam Linsell
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Greek


2 large aubergines/brinjal, cut into medium slices (end bits discarded or repurposed) approx. 0.75cm or 1/3 of an inch
Olive oil for brushing

Meat sauce:
12 Tbsp olive oil
1 brown/white onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
500gms lamb mince or beef mince (ground beef or ground lamb)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 large bay leaf or 2 small
¼ cup /60ml red wine
½ cup lamb stock with 1 stock cube (or beef stock)
1 400gm tin chopped peeled tomatoes
1 ½ tsp sugar

70gms butter
70gms flour
2 cups milk
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
40gms Parmesan, grated
1 whole free-range egg
White pepper & salt if necessary


Time your cooking so that you are cooking the aubergines whilst your moussaka sauce is simmering. Prep them and preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

Brush the slices of aubergines with olive oil.

To make the sauce, heat the olive in a non-stick pan on medium and sauté the onion for about 3 – 4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the minced lamb and break it up into small pieces. Fry for about 10 minutes until it starts becoming golden brown all over. You really want to see this caramelization taking place.

Add the tomato paste, cinnamon and herbs and cook for a minute or two more.

Once browned, deglaze the pan with the red wine allowing this to evapourate. Add the stock and cook for a further few minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off.

Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Whilst your meat sauce is simmering, cook your eggplant. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Alternatively, fry them on a griddle pan until golden and cooked. Set aside.

Make your bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat and add the flour. Stir to form a thick roux. Slowly add the milk in parts using a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Add the nutmeg, grated Parmesan, and white pepper.

Once all the milk has been added, check the seasoning, and add a little salt if needed. Allow the sauce to cool to a tepid temperature before adding your whole egg and whisking vigorously to combine. Set aside.

When your meat sauce, bechamel and eggplant are cooked you can start layering your moussaka. I have done 3 x layers of eggplant and 3 thin layers of meat sauce, but you can totally just have one thicker bottom layer of eggplant, topped with all the meat, and then topped with a second layer of eggplant.

The bechamel sauce goes on top in one thick layer.

Turn the oven down to 180C/350F after cooking the eggplant and bake the moussaka for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown. If necessary, loosely cover with a piece of foil to prevent over-browning.

Allow the moussaka to rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Use a sharp knife to slice through the layers before serving it up.


You can make all the components ahead of time for convenience

Keywords: moussaka, Greek, classic, traditional, lamb, eggplant

*This post is proudly sponsored by Perdeberg Wines.




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