If ever there was a dish that embodied the Greeks, moussaka is surely it: a classic dish that also invites innovation and ingenuity. Moussaka might be layered and complex, but it’s ultimately approachable and undeniably satisfying to create. Try one of these spins on the Greek icon and you’re guaranteed to feel as good as it tastes.
Peter Conistis, the acclaimed chef at Alpha Restaurant, is the master of contemporary Greek cooking. This seafood take on a traditional moussaka is an inspired example of fusion cooking, with the creamy scallops and eggplant melting into a sharp tomato saltsa layered with a classic taramasalata.
This tasty moussaka twist shouldn’t only be reserved by carb-avoiders. The cauliflower sauce is a revelation all on its own, adding the same amount of creaminess that a traditional béchamel delivers, but with a deep, earthy flavour. There are plenty of other ‘hidden’ veggies in this easy-to-make version too, so it’s a nutritious treat for a mid-week dinner.
Matthew Evans’ rich, indulgent moussaka is classically spiced with cinnamon, but covered in creamy ricotta and kefalograviera instead of the usual béchamel sauce. The perfect dish for a warming winter feast.
With the whole eggplant taking centre-stage, this recipe (another Peter Conistis creation, this time for The Chefs’ Line) is a theatrical addition to the moussaka family. Lamb necks are braised in a pressure cooker until they are meltingly soft, the eggplant flesh is smoked then creamed, and a baked ricotta hat adds the final layer.
When Greek meets Italian, this moussaka happily comes to the table. Hot Italian salami is added to the meat layer and eggplant done schnitzel-style (frittelle di melanzane) adds to the party. This tempting recipe is from home cook Sophia Kokkolis for The Chefs’ Line.
A vegetarian dish so hearty and packed with flavour that even the most ardent-carnivore probably won’t even notice the absence of meat. A whisked ricotta and Greek yoghurt mix take the place of the usual béchamel.
George Calombaris passed this moussaka recipe onto Poh Ling Yeow, so you know it’s going to be good. The recipe uses a mix of minced pork and lamb to add richness to the meat sauce. The addition of a smoky eggplant and chargrilled capsicum take things up a further notch.
All the flavours of moussaka captured in a dairy-free, vegan recipe. It’s made with new potatoes instead of meat, and coconut oil, spelt flour and almond milk combine to add the creamy layer.
We couldn’t round up the best moussakas without pulling one apart. Home cook Pete Dingey created a deconstructed version of the classic for season 1 of The Chefs’ Line. The requisite layers are all here: stacks of eggplant and roasted lamb rump, covered with a spiced tomato-based sauce and topped with a velvety béchamel.