Simply Sophisticated Cooking | MoussakaAs you all know by now, the hubby and I have been reducing the amount of meat we eat in our diets in favor of a healthier lifestyle. This week I’m sharing a recipe for Homemade Moussaka that uses up the other half of the $3.99 a pound of ground organic turkey that went into last week’s recipe for Turkey and Barley Meatballs with Shishito Peppers, Cheesy Polenta, and Sriracha Sauce.

These recipes have so much in common. Both have loads of flavor, low in meat, high in delicious nutrition and easy on the wallet. And they both can be made in large batches and frozen to save you time on cooking.

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | MoussakaSome of you might be wondering what Moussaka is! It’s a traditional Mediterranean dish eaten throughout the Balkans, Middle East and Levant regions. Featuring layers of eggplant, potatoes or both covered with a tomatoey meat layer using ground lamb or beef and topped with a cheese layer, Moussaka is a very versatile dish. Family recipes vary from region to region and household to household. Every family cook has the secret family recipe. So there’s no “right” way to make your Moussaka which is fortunate because my Moussaka recipe is entirely different from the traditional ones.

My Moussaka recipe uses ground turkey in the place of the lamb or beef. I added grated carrots and zucchini, as well as red lentils to the meat layer and threw fresh chopped basil into the cheese topping. What was I thinking?! LOL. I love cooking dishes like Moussaka. You’re only limited by what your mind can envision in flavor.

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | MoussakaAnother great thing about this recipe is all the extra added veggies. Once mixed into the meat sauce, their meaty textures and flavors blend so well, that most people don’t even realize they aren’t eating all meat. It’s a great way to “hide” veggies from those who profess to hating them.

And if you want gluten-free, switch out the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free all-purpose. You can also get rid of the meat by adding more red lentils or using a grain such as barley or farro or use tofu for a vegetarian dish. And don’t forget to use a good dry red wine. It just enriches the flavor. Plus, you can drink the rest of the bottle with dinner.

Moussaka is a complete meal in itself, but I like to serve it up with a green salad. And if you want bread, it’s delicious with that as well. As for the leftovers, this is one dish that just keeps getting better with age. I liked it better on the third day because it had melded and developed such a yummy taste that I wanted to keep eating another slice even after my tummy was full.

Simply Sophisticated Cooking | MoussakaHubby declared my Moussaka recipe a keeper and reminded me to tell you that it’s even good for breakfast served with an over easy egg on top.

Oh and as far as cost, my Moussaka recipe cost $9.29 to make a 9″ x 13″ pan which figures out to $0.77 a serving. I have to admit that I’m a little amazed at when I do the math on some of these dishes because that’s very inexpensive for the amount of food, flavor, and nutrition you get for so little.

Enjoy! And please, share your Moussaka stories and recipes with me. I love hearing from you.

Print Recipe
Moussaka Yum
A spicy Moussaka made with thick slices of summer eggplant, a meaty layer of ground turkey, red lentils, tomatoes, zucchini and carrots, topped with sliced potatoes and a cheesy yogurt and basil topping, and flavored with saffron, red wine, cinnamon and fresh turmeric.
Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Moussaka
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 1/2 hours
Passive Time 15-20 minutes
Servings
12-16 servings
Ingredients
Eggplant Slices
Meat Layer
Cheesy Yogurt and Basil Topping
Potatoes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 1/2 hours
Passive Time 15-20 minutes
Servings
12-16 servings
Ingredients
Eggplant Slices
Meat Layer
Cheesy Yogurt and Basil Topping
Potatoes
Simply Sophisticated Cooking | Moussaka
Instructions
Eggplant Slices
  1. Slice eggplants and sprinkle liberally with salt. Place in a colander for at least half an hour, allowing water to drain away.
  2. Rinse extra salt from eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Broil eggplant under broiler until they are starting to brown and blacken slightly.
  4. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed during Moussaka assembly.
Meat Layer
  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat.
  2. Cook onion until soft before adding ground turkey, zucchini and carrots. Cook turkey through. Add red lentils and tomatoes.
  3. Toss in the garlic, turmeric and all spices, cooking until fragrant.
  4. Pour in the red wine and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed for assembly.
Cheesy Yogurt and Basil Topping
  1. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Pour in yogurt, cheeses, fresh ground black pepper and flour. Beat well. Store in the fridge until needed for assembly.
Moussaka Assembly
  1. Lightly oil a 9" x 13" casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Arrange cooked eggplant slices evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  3. Cover eggplant with meat layer and top with potato slices.
  4. Top potatoes with Cheesy Yogurt and Basil Topping.
  5. Bake Moussaka for 45 to 50 minutes until bubbly and top is golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow Moussaka to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

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Moussaka, Moussaka, Moussaka and More Moussaka:

Ground Beef Potato Moussaka from Balkan Lunch Box

Easy Moussaka Stuffed Eggplants from The Petite Cook

The Rustic Lamb and Rice Bake from The Cuillere

Welsh Lamb Moussaka Burgers from Fab Food 4 All

Turkish Moussaka from A Kitchen in Istanbul

Moussaka from Nutrizonia

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