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Quick Moussaka

Our take on this classic Greek casserole uses a mixture of ricotta and feta cheeses instead of the conventional white sauce, which is made from butter, flour, and milk.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Quick Moussaka

Source: Everyday Food, March/April 2003


  • Butter, for baking dish
  • 1 large eggplant (2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (9 ounces) ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) feta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter a 4-quart ovenproof dish. On a baking sheet, toss eggplant with 6 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer, and roast in the oven until soft and golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer eggplant to prepared dish, spreading in an even layer.

  2. In a large saucepan, warm remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ground meat; cook, stirring to prevent sticking, until meat is browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, crushing tomatoes with the edge of a spoon, 15 minutes. Spread the mixture evenly over the eggplant.

  3. Heat broiler. In a small bowl, mix ricotta, feta, egg, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture over the casserole, and spread evenly to the edges. Broil until topping is browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Reviews (30)

  • Selini 11 Feb, 2014

    Well Martha, you can hardly call this dish "Mousaka" can you?? First .. what business does ricotta cheese have in a Greek dish especially this one … and you use it in lieu of the "White Creme Sauce" (Crema) which is a basic must in this classic Greek dish. And, Martha, where are
    the potato slices which are also part and parcel of the Classic Mousaka ??? Good god, you've stripped everything Greek from it…but still managed to get an Italian ingredient in where it does not belong!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • judithlind 3 Sep, 2012

    My husband loves this dish, and so do I. I used turkey sausage and drained some of the fat. I also added fresh Greek oregano and basil to the tomato mixture. I'll make this again while I still have eggplants growing in the garden. Delish!

  • pamela joy 23 Aug, 2012

    Also, double the amount of the topping...

  • pamela joy 23 Aug, 2012

    Ok, first of all you can accomplish this dish in a 13x9 which is a 3 at dish. Second you can reduce at by using non-fat ricotta and feta. I also used potatoes instead of meat and subbed allspice instead of cinnamon and just used a pich of cinnamon. It was amazing and plenty with a 2 pound eggplant. Enjoy!

  • pamela joy 15 Aug, 2012

    I too plan to cut WAY back on the fat AND meat by eliminating it altogether and adding in potatoes. Also you absolutely HAVE to add nutmeg to the sauce. It's tradition and makes the dish soooo moussaka. I have several eggplant freshly picked from my garden that I plan to use. Can't wait!

  • PaulaNC 5 Jul, 2012

    Totally agreed with bburd. Just use your head here and cut down on the fat content of the beef, ricotta, feta, and substitute the squash/zucchini as mentioned before and you'll cut bunches of fat. Do you really need to be told? If you want to learn to cook, you do need to think!

  • bburd 18 Feb, 2012

    Delicious!! I slimmed it down by using reduced fat cheeses, very lean meat... and most of all cutting down the serving size! It served 6, with no side dish. It would definitely serve 8 if served with a side salad or other veggie. I will definitely be making this again.

    You can see my review of the recipe, (with photos!) @

  • cheyenna73 22 Oct, 2011

    this is delicious I slimmed it down using turkey sausage and drained the fat. I also subbed skim ricotta cheese and reduced fat fetta cheese. I like the suggestion of cutting the servings in half and adding a cold salad on the side. This was amazing and I will make again!

  • josalvin 9 Sep, 2011

    I like the idea of using ricotta and feta instead of the white sauce. My suggestion for lightening it up is to use the dish to serve 8 instead of 4! That cuts everything in half. Add a green salad and some steamed or sauteed veggies and you have a filling meal. Moussaka is VERY filling anyway. End the meal with fresh fruit.

  • lilbearstudley 11 Mar, 2011

    Knowledge is power, friends! I'm not sure how this dish could be considered "healthy". Just because it uses quality ingredients does not mean it is good to eat! At 4 servings, here are the nutrition stats:
    Calories: 808
    Total fat: 59g (a whole days worth!)
    sat. fat: 20g (again, your whole days worth!)
    Sodium: 872 mg
    Carbs: 26.2 g
    Fiber: 7g
    Protein: 44g

    So much fat, Martha, can we not find a way to slim this down a little? Yeesh!

  • suzima 20 Nov, 2010

    In Greece they certainly do use meat in moussaka unless you were eating in a vegetarian place! I have greek friends here in the states and they use either ground lamb or beef.

  • suzima 20 Nov, 2010

    In Greece they certainly do use meat in moussaka unless you were eating in a vegetarian place! I have greek friends here in the states and they use either ground lamb or beef.

  • Sarah46 10 Aug, 2010

    Can this be made in a 9x13 dish. I would like to make for a pot luck dinner?

  • foodie72 20 Feb, 2009

    My family really enjoyed this recipe. I would suggest ensuring the meat, onion and garlic mixture is drained before adding the other ingredients.

  • Florafolia 19 Feb, 2009

    Could this dish be frozen (then defrosted) before broiling?

  • Supersparkle 12 Feb, 2009

    Alos,nutmeg is traditionally added to the bechamel for moussaka. this dish sounds more like a variation on papoutsakia!

  • Supersparkle 12 Feb, 2009

    sounds like an interesting dish - not like the moussaka I've grown up on. My Greek family always added sliced potatoes (Greek fries) and bechamel sauce with kefalotiri

  • lovinmartha 12 Feb, 2009

    Also, you might be able to find frozen eggplant at a grocery store like Trader Joe's. I buy frozen squash and zucchini and the best part is that it is already sliced, so I don't have to do any prep work.

  • lovinmartha 12 Feb, 2009

    If you don't like eggplant I have made a very similar recipe for a long time with summer squash and zucchini. I think it tastes awesome and the recipe was given to me by my step-dad who is Mediterranean.

  • pmmsf 11 Feb, 2009

    Uh, Florida is the country's largest producer of eggplant - and it is grown year 'round. So, it IS in season, technically. If you live where it is snowing, NOTHING is in season where you live.

  • busybee629 11 Feb, 2009

    Sounds very tasty and nice for the cool months

  • mimi311 11 Feb, 2009

    I agree with the comment of "eggplant in winter". Should you not be seasonal Martha?

  • RunrGurl26 11 Feb, 2009

    To make it lighter, use Pam or light cooking spray in place of butter, try using ground turkey meat or chicken, low fat ricotta (made w/part skim milk) and low fat feta, and egg substitute for the egg.

  • francejaime 11 Feb, 2009

    Eggplant in February? Where would it be coming from and how old would it be? I am trying to eat seasonally.

  • Canalgirl 11 Feb, 2009

    Moussaka is eggplant - if you are not a fan of eggplant - Moussaka is not for you.

  • celestearielle 11 Feb, 2009

    can this be made a little lighter? Perhaps less oil? Ground turkey perhaps and any other ideas? We are on a clean eating plan... thanks!

  • Lisaaronson 11 Feb, 2009

    Has anyone tried this recipe with ground turkey?

  • ztagrl 11 Feb, 2009

    I don't like eggplant. Is there something I can substitute?

  • krisx2 25 Jun, 2008

    According to my husband, this recipe is "out of this world!" I highly recommend it!

  • mmsrjs 24 Nov, 2007

    Since living in Athens a few months, I can't wait to try this recipe. They did not use any meat in their Moussaka. But will try it as is before making any changes.

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