Moussaka with Mock Béchamel Sauce

For this version of moussaka, we use yogurt and cream in place of the traditional béchamel sauce. You can use ground lamb in place of the beef.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 1 hour 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 8 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1⁄2-inch rounds
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3⁄4 cup light cream


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a large ovenproof casserole dish with a tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to an ovenproof Dutch oven and bring to temperature over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant slices and brown them for 2 minutes on each side; remove and drain on paper towels. Season the eggplant with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the same Dutch oven and bring it to temperature over medium heat; add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, or until transparent. Add the ground beef, garlic, 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt, and 1⁄4 pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and tomatoes; simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Transfer cooked meat mixture to a bowl.
  • Wipe out the Dutch oven, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and bring it to temperature over medium heat. Add the potato slices and brown them for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through; spread the potatoes in an even layer across the bottom of the pan. Lightly season with remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper.
  • To assemble the Moussaka, spread the potatoes over the bottom of the prepared casserole dish; add the meat sauce; a layer of the eggplant; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, and cream. Pour over the filled casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes, to settle.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.