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Easy Israeli Style Moussaka

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Easy Israeli Style Moussaka is a delicious dairy free dish. Layers of flavorful ground beef filling in between slices of eggplant and topped with slices of fresh tomato.

Israeli Style Moussaka with ground beef covered with tomato slices in a clear square baking dish

Moussaka is predominantly a Middle Eastern dish, each country with its own unique recipe and flavor. Easy Israeli Style Moussaka is so simple to make and will surely become a favorite dish!

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A little of my cooking background

I really wanted to title this blog “If I can make it, anyone can”, because – honestly – if I can make it, anyone can.

I never really liked cooking and when I was single, a meal for me meant grilled cheese, eggs, tuna, or something else that didn’t require effort or time.

When my kids were young, I was still able to get away with preparing only a small variety of easy meals, but the older they got, the more dishes I learned to make at their request.

Still, I insisted on keeping it simple.

Honestly, I never understood why some cooks unnecessarily complicate meals. I have seen recipes that have several ingredients that don’t really seem to add much, if anything, to the dish. So, why bother?

It has always been important to me that whoever eats at my table will have plenty to enjoy and that includes my kids (I never agreed with the “You will eat what is served or you won’t eat” ideology) and, because I keep it simple, I can prepare a variety of dishes in a relatively short period of time.

I have a philosophy regarding being a great cook: Prepare food according to the tastes of those who will be eating it and they will love your cooking!

As far as I am concerned, start with the basic ingredients that make the dish what it is, adapt according to taste, and voila! you are an amazing cook!

The bottom line is that while there are certainly delicate recipes out there for specialty dishes, making delicious meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It’s not difficult to impress – just make sure it tastes good.

While some of the recipes on my blog are more time-consuming than others, they are all tried and true easy-shmeezy!

Of course, one always has to consider the conditions under which they cook. Weather (humidity, heat, cold), different types of ovens, different quality of pots, etc. – all of which can affect your cooking and baking.

Nevertheless, as I said, if I can do it, anyone can!

Everyday pantry essentials (suggested)

As I learned to prepare more and more recipes, I also learned which basics and seasonings are good to have on hand to have the ability to make a dish on short notice and not have to run out to the store or borrow from a neighbor.

While I will admit that I am not always prepared when one of my kids will ask for eggplant parmesan or lasagna at the drop of a hat (which they have done), I dislike having to postpone making something just because the ingredients needed to make a reasonable meal were not readily available.

So, I maintain selection of what I consider “pantry essentials” in my refrigerator and on my shelves at all times.

Initially, many of the herbs and spices were useful to me only on occasion (having been purchased for a particular recipe) and I usually just had them around as leftovers. However, as I began to cook more of a variety, I was really glad to have them (hey, look, I already have that !) and that is how my list began.

While, of course, most of the essentials will not be needed just for any one recipe, at least some of them are needed for most recipes, and you would be surprised how many recipes be made just with this list. So, if you keep whatever you use regularly on hand, it can really save you time and effort.

Everyone has their favorite recipes, preferred seasoning, and just whatever they like to use to cook. Your own list should certainly reflect your own cooking tastes and style.

Just to give you an idea, the list below is a comprehensive list of what I normally keep on hand (this does not necessarily include what I keep for baking and there may be some overlap between the two lists as some items are used for both, such a brown sugar) and, of course, it reflects the meals and desserts that I like to make for my own family and guests.

Seasoning and flavoring:

  • salt (my receipes use regular table salt)
  • ground black or white pepper
  • granulated garlic or garlic powder (I prefer granulated)
  • onion powder
  • sweet paprika and/or sweet pepper flakes (paprika is ground dried red pepper, pepper flakes are crushed dried red pepper)
  • hot paprika, hot pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper (moderately spicy dried ground chili pepper) for those occasional spicy dishes
  • ground turmeric
  • ground cumin
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground Cloves (for pumpkin flavors)
  • sugar (granulated)
  • brown sugar
  • chicken consomme powder / beef bullion powder (regular or vegetarian)
  • onion soup mix
  • onion flakes (substitute for fresh onion – 3 tablespoons for 1 medium onion).
  • various herbs
  • additional spices to adapt taste to preference


  • oil / margarine / butter / cooking spray
  • coconut cream as a dairy free cream substitute
  • corn starch as a thickening agent
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • bread crumbs or Corn Flake crumbs (you can make these with your blender or food processor) for coating
  • condiments – such as ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce
  • tomato sauce/tomato paste/canned tomatoes – diced or crushed/pasta sauce
  • soy sauce
  • ready made pie crusts and dough (to just add filling)

We always have eggs in the fridge and onions, rice, and potatoes on our shelves as well as pasta.

In addition, having some fresh vegetables in the fridge, such as carrots, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers (red, green, etc), etc. can be very useful when putting together a quick, but delicious meal.

It is also a good idea to have some ground meat or chicken (breast, ground, or in parts), in the freezer for anyone who likes meat dishes in a snap.

Weather can have an affect on some of the spices and on the chicken consommé powder, so I keep as many of the seasonings in the refrigerator or freezer as I can and I keep everything tightly closed in containers (you will be surprised to know just how determined moths are at getting into sealed bags and how hot red pepper powder can attract little black bugs – YUCK!).

Therefore, store your items well.

Why are these pantry essentials beneficial to have on hand?

Personally, having the above ingredients in my kitchen is very advantageous, as I make a variety of dishes and use most of the items on the list regularly enough to warrant storing them. However, I do not store items for dishes that I make seasonally or only on rare occasions or those that spoil easily.

Whether or not it is workable for you depends on your cooking style, the space you have to store, and whether or not you mind running out to the store as needed. Of course, the more you cook and the more varied your recipes, the more you will use, and the more you will need.

Just think about it…if you kept these items in your pantry, you would have almost everything you need to make Easy Israeli Style Moussaka already right in your kitchen!

A litte aboutAbout Moussaka

Moussaka is an eggplant dish that is made in various places in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

The most well-known type of moussaka internationally is the Greek version, which normally includes 3 layers. The bottom layer is made up of slices of eggplant fried in olive oil, the middle layer is ground lamb (or beef) with onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, herbs and spices, and the top layer is cheese in Greek bechamel sauce. The layers are place in a greased baking pan or dish, and baked until the top is a golden brown (which doesn’t take long at all as the bottom two layers were already cooked).

Other Mediterranean countries use different sauces or may sprinkle grated cheese or breadcrumbs.

The Turkish version includes fried eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and ground beef and is not served in layers.

There are also versions that use zucchini, carrots, and potatoes. In fact, in places such as Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, and others, potatoes are used instead of eggplant.

In Arab countries, moussaka is a cooked salad with the main ingredients being eggplant and tomatoes and is mostly served cold as an appetizer (moussaka = chilled).

Those are generalities and everyone kind of does there own thing when preparing this dish. This particularly holds true in Israel were one can find recipes that vary in ingredients (include various herbs and spices and may include both eggplant and potatoes).

Easy Dairy-Free Israeli Style Moussaka is one of the simplest non-dairy versions…

A little about eggplants

The eggplant is native to India and Asia, where it can be found growing wild and it is believed that eggplants were brought to Europe sometime during the 7th or 8th century.

Australians and Americans call the vegetable eggplant, while in England it is called a aubergine from the French word for this vegetable.

Because of it’s meaty texture, eggplant is used instead of meat in some vegetarian versions of meat recipes.

While there are a variety of types of eggplants, the one for this recipe is the large egg-shaped (or teardrop-shaped) blackish purple one with the meaty inside.

Eggplants have health benefits as they contain antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which help protect your cells against damage and are low in calories.

About cooking eggplant

Eggplants can be roasted, baked, steamed, deep fried, or sautéd.

Before cooking an eggplant, cut off the top part where the green is (called a calyx). The bottom tip should also be removed, but this is not imperative. The skin is perfectly fine to eat, but it must be cooked well, otherwise it may come out chewy.

This recipe can use either peeled eggplants or with the skin (having the skin on will not ruin the recipe).

Eggplant is naturally a little bitter. If you find that to be the case, you can draw out the bitterness by sprinkling it with salt and let it sit a while. If you are using slices or pieces, slightly salt after cutting. I have personally never found this to be a problem when cooking with eggplants

Using salt before cooking can help prevent the eggplant from absorbing too much oil and becoming greasy if using oil with the eggplant recipe (I normally just pat the pieces with a paper towel if need be).

If you do use salt, MAKE SURE to rinse it off before cooking the eggplant or the salt will become a part of your dish!

Personally, I have never salted my eggplants before using them (and I have used eggplants in two countries) and have never had any problem with bitterness, but if you have any concern, please do.

If a recipe calls for frying, but you prefer not to do so because of the calories the oil will add to the recipe, you can spray with cooking oil and bake instead.

Yield: 9

Easy Israeli Style Moussaka

Israeli Style Moussaka with ground beef covered with tomato slices in a clear square baking dish

A dairy free ground beef and eggplant dish.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 medium eggplants (approximately 9 inches long)
  • 1 medium onion dice or chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks diced or chopped very small
  • 1 - 28oz can diced tomatoes or equivalent, drained
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or other ground meat)
  • 2 tbsp chicken consomme powder or beef bullion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 - 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • oil for frying



  1. Cut of the ends of the eggplant and then slice lengthwise into 6 slices each (you should have a total of 12 slices).
  2. Place evenly on baking sheet covered with baking paper and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  3. Place in a preheated oven at 400° F for 20-30 minutes (or lightly fry) until slices have softened, slightly dehydrated, and browned a little.
  4. Let cool.

Meat Mixture

  1. Pour enough oil into a large saucepan to just cover the bottom.
  2. On medium heat, saute diced onions and celery until mostly clear.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, ground beef, chicken consomme powder, tomato paste, and pepper.
  4. Mix well and cook on medium heat until meat and tomatoes are thoroughly cooked.
  5. Add breadcrumbs a little at a time and mix until the liquid has completely soaked up.

Prepring the dish

  1. Lay three slices of eggplant on the bottom of a 9" x 9" baking pan
  2. Cover with a layer of the meat mixture, then another layer of eggplant. Repeat until the eggplant and meat mixture are done (if you use 3 slices of eggplant per layer, then you will use 1/4 of the meat mixture in between each layer and if you use 4 slices of eggplant per layer, then you will use 1/3 of the meat mixture in between each layer.
  3. Cover the top with slices of tomato and sprinkle a little breadcrumbs on top (optional).
  4. Bake at 400° for approximately 20 - 30 minutes or until the tomato on top is cooked.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 277mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 25g

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