Eggplant Moussaka

It’s around this time of year that I look forward to the comfort foods that have been perfected around the globe. Eggplant Moussaka is no exception and it’s a dish that is well deserving of a place around the holiday table.

This is a Turkish rendition of the Greek classic that most of us are familiar with: a Béchamel-free version with layers of fried eggplant and a rich, tomato and ground beef sauce, topped with slices of fresh tomato and cayenne peppers. (Although I have to insert my politically-correct statement here: Turks believe Moussaka originated with them, and the Greeks think that it originated in Greece. I’m just a cook, people! It’s all love and good eating where I’m sitting.)

Making Eggplant Moussaka is pretty simple, and I based this recipe from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook. I doubled it and changed it somewhat to suit my own taste, but you can go with whichever recipe you like! Make it your own: adjust seasoning, add something, take something away.

Start by cutting strips from the skin of your eggplant and then cut it into large chunks. Also, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Make a water bath of cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Soak the eggplant in the salt water solution for approximately 10 minutes.


Squeeze the eggplant and drain in a colander. Fry the eggplant chunks in canola oil and allow them to drain on paper towels. Be sure to not fully cook the eggplant here. It will cook longer in the oven.

Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of canola oil in a saucepan and saute the onions on medium heat until translucent, about three minutes. Add the garlic for approximately 15 seconds and add the ground beef. Saute until it browns. Add the salt, pepper, paprika and oregano. Then add the can of tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.


Arrange the eggplant in a 2 quart baking dish. Chop some fresh parsley and add it to the sauce after it has been removed from the heat and spoon the mixture on top of the eggplant. Cut a tomato in half and slice it. Cut a cayenne pepper into long pieces. Arrange on the top of the meat mixture.


Bake for about 25-30 minutes and serve with Turkish-style rice. Want to make it a bit more authentic? Enjoy with some plain, unflavored yogurt and have a tea after!

Eggplant Moussaka
Serves 6

  • Canola oil for frying plus one tablespoon
  • 2 oriental eggplants
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 3/4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
  • small bunch parsley
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 1 cayenne pepper

Start by cutting strips from the skin of your eggplant and then cut it into large chunks- and go ahead and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Make a water bath of cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Soak the eggplant in the salt water solution for approximately 10 minutes.
Squeeze the eggplant and drain the water. Fry the eggplant chunks in canola oil and drain on paper towels. Be sure to not fully cook the eggplant here. It will cook longer in the oven.
Meanwhile, add about a tablespoon of canola oil in a saucepan and saute the onions on medium heat until translucent, about three minutes. Add the garlic for about 15 seconds and add the ground beef. Saute until ground beef browns. Add the salt, pepper, paprika and oregano. Then add the can of tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
Arrange the eggplant in a 2 quart baking dish. Chop some fresh parsley and add it to the sauce after it has been removed from the heat and spoon the mixture on top of the eggplant. Cut a tomato in half and slice it. Cut a cayenne pepper into long pieces. Arrange on the top of the meat mixture.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until slightly browned. Serve warm, with rice.

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