weeknight moussaka

6    |   
Prep Time:
35 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
40 minutes

print this page

You know how you reach into the closet and pull out a forgotten sweater or shirt from two years ago and wear it again and feel like you got a new piece of clothing for free? I’m this way with standbys in my recipe file. I make them over and over, then forget about them, then make them again and wonder why I never make them. So it was with this moussaka, which I brought to a dinner gathering this week. I originally posted this in the early days of Tuesday Recipe but I haven’t made it in at least a year. Being the kitchen tinkerer that I am, I couldn’t completely leave it alone, so I added beef to the sauce and swapped out some feta for Asiago cheese to make it less salty. But I didn’t fool with the core technique: the eggplant is roasted rather fried so this moussaka is lighter, quicker, and easy to do at the end of a long day. If you’ve made this recipe before, rediscover it. If you never have, consider it your new favorite menu accessory, especially if paired with fattoush.


2 large eggplants
olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 pound ground lamb
3/4 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup red or white wine
28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
freshly ground pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded Asiago or parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 375°F. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Slice the eggplants about 1/2-inch thick. Brush both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast on parchment-lined baking sheets (do not overlap) in oven until lightly browned on top (15 to 20 minutes). Turn eggplant slices over and continue roasting until browned on both sides and soft in the center. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan or Dutch oven add the onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is softened (3 to 4 minutes). Crumble in the meats and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink; drain off fat. Stir in the oregano, cinnamon, wine, and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until wine has evaporated, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and honey, stirring well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with pepper. Meanwhile in a bowl, stir together feta and Asiago cheese.

Brush the bottom and sides of a 9×13–inch baking dish with olive oil, then layer half the roasted eggplant slices, meat sauce, and combined cheeses in the dish. Repeat the layers, ending with cheese on top. Bake until bubbly and browned at the edges, about 40 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers reheat beautifully the next day.