I·ATE Food Term of The Week: Moussaka


What is Moussaka?

Moussaka is a traditional Greek baked dish made with vegetables and meat.

The best known version of Moussaka is made with layers of eggplant slices, cheese, and a meat sauce, topped with a thick layer of béchamel sauce; however, today some local versions replace the aubergines with zucchini or some other vegetables.

More recently, due to the new nutritional needs, a vegetarian (meatless) version has also become widely available.

Although considered a traditional dish, the history of Moussaka is relatively recent, as it is the creation of Nikolaos Tselementes, the “father” of modern Greek gastronomy.

In fact, until the early 1900s, Moussaka was a simpler dish, as it was made only with vegetables and meats.


After a training in France, chef Nikolaos combined the ingredients of moussaka with béchamel sauce, and this newer version quickly became a favourite in Greece.

Nevertheless, even if the Greek version is the best known, it is not the only variant!

There are two other famous Moussaka versions from Turkey and Bulgaria.

The Turkish version is closer to the Greek one, but simpler. It is made of equal parts of minced meat, aubergine and tomato sauce.

Turkish Moussaka is best eaten with a side of rice or bulgur pilaf, and, in some cases, also bread, great for mopping up the sauce.

Instead, Bulgarian Moussaka contains neither aubergines nor tomato sauce. It is actually made with potatoes, ground beef and vegetables like carrot, red bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, onion, and garlic.

If you liked this article, we recommend you to read also the one of Mish-Mash .


The Spruce eat. 2020. What Is Moussaka?, [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-moussaka-1705732  [Accessed 21 October 2021].

A Kitchen in Instabul. 2021. Turkish moussaka (Musakka), [ONLINE] Available at: https://vidarbergum.com/recipe/turkish-moussaka-patlican-musakka/  [Accessed 21 October 2021].

Delicious meets Healthy. 2021. Bulgarian Moussaka Recipe, [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.deliciousmeetshealthy.com/simple-moussaka-recipe/ [Accessed 21 October 2021].

written by Giulia Battisti

Giulia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Languages for translating and interpretation and a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing and Global Markets. She is now combining the two careers as a Communication Trainee in the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.