Traditional Bulgarian Moussaka Recipe

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This traditional Bulgarian moussaka is loaded with mouthwatering ground meat, tons of spices and an airy yogurt based topping.

It’s made without any eggplant which lets the flavor of the meat and potatoes to shine. Serve it with a spoonful of yogurt for optimum flavor.

A serving of Bulgarian moussaka

Traditional Bulgarian Moussaka Recipe

Traditional Bulgarian moussaka is typically made with a ground meat mix of pork and beef which distinguishes it from Greek moussaka.

It also has a yogurt-egg topping that has a slightly denser texture than the Bechamel sauce that’s used in Greek moussaka.

These characteristics along with the fact that the eggplant is subbed with potatoes lead to a distinct dish that’s loaded with tons of protein.

Ingredients

for the Moussaka

  • Potatoes – Moussaka turns out the best when it’s made with starchy potatoes such as Russet potatoes or Yukon golds.
  • Ground meat – You’ll need to get a ground meat mix with a ratio of 60% ground pork to 40% ground beef.
  • Tomatoes – Tomatoes add a savory flavor which balances the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Seasonings – The seasonings you’ll need for this recipe are fresh parsley, paprika, cumin, thyme, savory, black pepper and of course salt.

for the topping

  • Eggs – Eggs will add an additional layer of flavor and enrich the taste of the moussaka.
  • Yogurt – The chemical properties of yogurt help make the topping light and fluffy. If you manage to get and make it with Bulgarian yogurt you’ll get even closer to the authentic ‘Moussaka experience’! 🙂
  • Baking soda – Baking soda will increase the volume of the topping and make it more airy.

Ingredients for Bulgarian moussaka

How to prepare

Check out the recipe card at the end of this article for detailed, step-by-step instructions.

Start by sauteing the finely chopped onion in some vegetable oil. Once the onion becomes translucent, add the ground meat to the pan and keep cooking until it browns.

Stir in the shredded tomatoes along with the seasonings and let the meat absorb the flavor of the spices for a few minutes.

Add the diced potatoes and finely chopped parsley, then simmer all of the ingredients for about five minutes.

pan-frying ground meat and sauteed onions and then adding the potatoes and diced tomatoes

Next, transfer the mixture into a baking pan, pour the hot water over and bake in an oven preheated to 360°F (180°C).

transferring the meat, potatoes, onions and tomatoes in a baking pan and pouring hot water over them

While the moussaka is baking, beat the yogurt in a small bowl and mix in the baking soda.

Combine the yogurt with the whipped eggs and add the flour.

Once the moussaka hits the 40 minute mark, pour the mixture over it and cook until it turns golden brown.

beating eggs, yogurt and baking soda for the topping and then covering the Moussaka in the baking pan with the topping mixture

Tips and Variations

  • Keep the potatoes in cold water – If you leave the potatoes after dicing them, they’ll turn brown. Even though this isn’t a deal breaker, it will slightly alter their texture and flavor.
  • Use Bechamel sauce instead – You can try this recipe out with a thick creamy Bechamel sauce instead of the yogurt based topping.
  • Make sure the meat and potatoes are evenly combined – Stir the meat and potatoes after you transfer them to the baking pan so they’re evenly combined.

A serving of Bulgarian moussaka next to a baking pan with moussaka

Storage

Even though moussaka is best enjoyed hot, you can stash any leftovers you might have in the fridge.

When stored in the refrigerator, moussaka will stay good for about 3 days before it spoils. Make sure you store it in an airtight container so you can keep it fresh for longer.

This dish is very reheat-friendly.

Try these next

If you’re just discovering Bulgarian cuisine but like where this relationship is going I recommend checking out my other authentic Bulgarian recipes:

a slice of traditional bulgarian moussaka on a plate

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Traditional Bulgarian Moussaka Recipe

This traditional Bulgarian moussaka is loaded with mouthwatering ground meat, tons of spices and an airy yogurt based topping.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
by: Aya
Servings: 6
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Balkan, bulgarian

Ingredients

for the Moussaka:

  • 1 lbs ground meat mix 60% pork, 40% beef
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tomatoes large
  • 2 onions
  • 1/4 cup parsley fresh
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme fresh
  • 1 tsp savory
  • 3/4 cup water hot

for the topping:

  • 7 oz plain yogurt 200 grams or 3/4 cup
  • 3 eggs
  • salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 360°F (180°C).
  • Grate the tomatoes into large pieces, then finely chop the onions and parsley.
  • Dice the potatoes and set them aside.
  • Saute the onion in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil until it becomes translucent.
  • Add the ground meat and keep cooking until it browns and breaks into small pieces.
  • Add the shredded tomatoes, salt, paprika, black pepper, cumin, savory, and thyme, and stir for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the diced potatoes and parsley. Let everything simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and transfer the mixture into a baking pan.
  • Pour in the hot water and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Whisk the eggs in a small bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the yogurt and add in the baking soda.
  • Add the yogurt mixture to the eggs and mix everything together until well combined.
  • Mix in the flour and salt.
  • Pour the mixture over the moussaka and bake until golden brown. It took mine 15 minutes.
  • Let the moussaka cool off and serve.

Notes

Serve the hot Moussake with a cup of yogurt for the best experience. The way you'd want to eat it is you just take a scoop from the yogurt and top your slice of Moussaka. And then the magic happens!

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Nutrition

Calories: 459kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 972mg | Potassium: 1136mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1308IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg

I do my best to provide you with the nutritional information for recipes but I'm not a certified nutritionist. The nutritional information provided should only be treated as an estimate since it will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

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Traditional Bulgarian Moussaka Recipe

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