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Moussaka with Lemony Parsley Salad

Greek comfort food at its finest, this layered, baked casserole of meat, eggplant, and béchamel sauce was popularized by chef Nikolas Tselementes in the 1920s. Chef Tselementes studied cooking in Austria and used French and Western European influences (like béchamel) to modernize Greek cuisine to what we know it is today. In Greek, the word “Tselementes” is used as a synonym for cookbook. In the U.S. it’s hard to find a Greek restaurant that doesn’t have this fabulous dish on the menu.

Moussaka with Lemony Parsley Salad ingredients
On the Cutting Board
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Oregano
  • 1 Large Bunch Parsley
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 10 Ounces Ground Beef & Lamb Mix
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Pinch Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Lemon
Prepare your ingredients:
1 Prepare your ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and slice the garlic. Pick off the oregano leaves then finely chop them, discarding the stems. Pick off the parsley leaves and discard the stems. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick planks. Medium dice the green pepper. Peel and small dice the onion.
Roast the eggplant slices:
2 Roast the eggplant slices:
Place the eggplant slices on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant then season it with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 16 to 18 minutes, or until browned and pliable.
Cook the filling:
3 Cook the filling:
While the eggplant roasts, heat some olive oil in a medium pot on high until hot. Add the onion, garlic, and green pepper. Season with salt and pepper, and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the beef and lamb, breaking it up with a spoon; season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oregano, canned tomatoes, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and discard the bay leaves.
Make the béchamel:
4 Make the béchamel:
Wipe out the pot used for the filling. Add the butter and melt it on mediumhigh. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir about 30 seconds, or until combined and the flour smells toasted. Gradually whisk in the milk, and season with salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook about 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg, then remove the sauce from the heat.
Assemble the moussaka & bake:
5 Assemble the moussaka & bake:
Spoon a layer of the meat filling in the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Place a few slices of eggplant over the top, then more filling and more eggplant, until you run out of filling and eggplant. Drizzle the béchamel sauce over the top of the dish. Bake in the oven 5 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top. Allow the moussaka to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Make the parsley salad:
6 Make the parsley salad:
While the moussaka bakes, combine the parsley, the juice of half the lemon, a little olive oil, and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl, tossing to coat. Serve the moussaka with the lemony parsley salad. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare your ingredients:
1 Prepare your ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and slice the garlic. Pick off the oregano leaves then finely chop them, discarding the stems. Pick off the parsley leaves and discard the stems. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick planks. Medium dice the green pepper. Peel and small dice the onion.
2 Roast the eggplant slices:
Place the eggplant slices on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant then season it with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 16 to 18 minutes, or until browned and pliable.
Roast the eggplant slices:
Cook the filling:
3 Cook the filling:
While the eggplant roasts, heat some olive oil in a medium pot on high until hot. Add the onion, garlic, and green pepper. Season with salt and pepper, and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the beef and lamb, breaking it up with a spoon; season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oregano, canned tomatoes, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until thickened. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and discard the bay leaves.
4 Make the béchamel:
Wipe out the pot used for the filling. Add the butter and melt it on mediumhigh. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir about 30 seconds, or until combined and the flour smells toasted. Gradually whisk in the milk, and season with salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook about 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and nutmeg, then remove the sauce from the heat.
Make the béchamel:
Assemble the moussaka & bake:
5 Assemble the moussaka & bake:
Spoon a layer of the meat filling in the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Place a few slices of eggplant over the top, then more filling and more eggplant, until you run out of filling and eggplant. Drizzle the béchamel sauce over the top of the dish. Bake in the oven 5 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top. Allow the moussaka to cool for a few minutes before serving.
6 Make the parsley salad:
While the moussaka bakes, combine the parsley, the juice of half the lemon, a little olive oil, and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl, tossing to coat. Serve the moussaka with the lemony parsley salad. Enjoy!
Make the parsley salad: