If the eggplants you are using are not that fresh, they can be a bit bitter. You can remove this bitterness by salting the slices or cubes and letting them rest for 5 minutes or so before frying them. You can either rinse away the salt or dab it away with a paper towel so you do not get all the salt into the dish. Salting eggplant is also a way to tenderise it so it has an even better mouthfeel in the lamb moussaka pasta bake.
Lamb moussaka is a popular dish with minced lamb and eggplant. Though it is most common in the cuisines of Greece, the Balkans, and the Middle East, it is known throughout most of the world. Traditionally made by layering sliced potatoes, fried eggplant slices, and a minced lamb and tomato sauce with a cheesy, white sauce, it can also be made as a pasta bake with the same aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cloves, thyme, basil, and rosemary layered with eggplant, lamb mince, and cheesy béchamel sauce.
To make a minced lamb moussaka pasta bake, start by frying the eggplant slices and set aside. Cook the lamb with onions, garlic, and spices. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Assemble the moussaka: Start with a layer of lamb (about half) and top with half of the pasta as well a third of the béchamel sauce. Finish the layering with the remaining meat, pasta, and sauce and finish with shredded mozzarella. Bake the lamb moussaka until it is golden brown and serve it while it is still warm.
Though it looks reminiscent of an Italian lasagne, a traditional lamb moussaka with eggplant is usually made with potatoes and does not have pasta in it. However, pasta is perfect with these flavours, and no one can resist a deliciously cheesy pasta bake. So, our version is a lamb moussaka with pasta where we replace potatoes with perfectly cooked penne pasta. This combination makes for a very family-friendly iftar meal that is sure to be a hit with the family and guests of all ages.
You can freeze leftover lamb moussaka for up to 3 months. Let it cool completely – this may take up to 1 hour – before either freezing individual portions in airtight containers or wrapping the entire dish, first with a layer of aluminium foil and then a cling film layer if it is freezer-safe. When you are ready to enjoy the rest, let it thaw overnight in the fridge. When reheating the frozen lamb moussaka pasta bake in either the oven or microwave, add a bit of additional shredded cheese to make it extra gooey.
Our eggplant and lamb moussaka is so tasty with all its incredible Middle Eastern spices. The combination of spiced, succulent lamb mince with onion and garlic and the mild, fried eggplant is both aromatic and irresistible. The rich meat plays well with fragrant spices which is why pairing it with warming spices like cinnamon and cumin makes for such a delicious union. The flavours of a classic lamb moussaka work well with mild-tasting, chewy pasta and, as such, make for an amazing moussaka pasta bake.
In case you are looking for other dishes that feature some of the same delicious ingredients, check out our recipes for one pot lasagne, Middle Eastern eggplant bolognese, and eggplant rollatini with tomato sauce.
Without the potatoes known from a traditional Greek lamb moussaka, you can cut down the cooking time considerably. This makes it perfect for busy weeknights or special occasions like Ramadan where you are spending many hours in the kitchen cooking. The addition of pasta, and, of course, the delightful amount of cheesy goodness, also makes this dish quite popular with children and adults alike.
With a pre-made, easy béchamel sauce for lamb moussaka, it is easy to get the right, cheesy, and creamy consistency. The thick, white sauce is creamy, savoury, and flavoured with nutmeg. This makes béchamel sauce with cheese perfect for moussaka as it beautifully ties together the spiced lamb, fried eggplant, and penne pasta.
Since you do not have to spend time making it from scratch, you have time to focus on other dishes while your quick lamb moussaka bakes. As it does, the gooey layer of melted cheese becomes beautifully golden brown. The mild, buttery mozzarella increases the dish's richness and makes it irresistible in combination with the cheesy goodness in the sauce, too.
The best lamb moussaka recipe, of course, features warm spices and aromatics. To deepen the delicious flavour of cumin, cinnamon, and rosemary, make sure to season it well with salt and plenty of freshly churned black pepper.
To play up the flavour of the béchamel sauce, add a bit more nutmeg to bring additional warmth to this pasta bake. To make the moussaka pasta bake cheesier, add a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella in between each layer of lamb mince and béchamel sauce instead of only on the top.
An authentic lamb moussaka recipe from the Mediterranean usually has tomatoes in it. As such, an easy way to vary our recipe is to add either fresh or canned diced tomatoes for a colourful, sweet-tangy addition.