Potato Moussaka Recipe

4.78 from 9 votes

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My lazy deconstructed Bulgarian Potato Moussaka recipe is one of my favorite comfort foods. This dish is not to be confused with the beautiful layered Greek moussaka. Greek moussaka is completely different so please be mindful that this is a faster, weeknight version of traditional Bulgarian moussaka.

Traditional Bulgarian potato and meat moussaka is actually made with a delicious bechamel sauce on top and baked in the oven. When I was small, I was always picking off the top bechamel layer, so my mom eventually gave up and started making my great grandmother’s version, which is what you see here. This recipe is comfort food at its finest.

This dish is home for me and it reminds me of my upbringing. I can eat comforting cozy meals like this all season long. Potatoes, ground meat, onions, garlic, and all the delicious flavors of moussaka made into a dip-able one pot wonder.

This recipe takes approximately 45 minutes from start to finish. What I love most about this one-skillet lunch or dinner is that you can grab a fresh loaf of bread and dip away.

Variations and Substitutions

There are so many ways to mix up the flavors and ingredients in this dish:

  • Add finely chopped zucchini and/or eggplant along with the potatoes and carrots.
  • Coat the dish with a thin layer of bechamel sauce and pop it under the oven broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until spotted brown all over.
  • Try making this with ground beef, pork, lamb or a combination of 1 or 2 ground meats.

Best served with

Common Questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

Although fresh is best, this meal can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and reheated in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat. You may want to add a bit of water to loosen up and rehydrate the leftovers.

What kind of meat can I use and can this be vegan?

You can use any kind of ground meat, including beef, pork, lamb, veal, or turkey. You can also use a vegan ground meat substitute.

Potato Moussaka Recipe

This Moussaka is a simple comfort food made with minimal effort. I encourage you to add your own seasonings or veggies if you want to make it Greek style. You can add chopped zucchini and eggplant and adjust the seasonings if you want a more traditional Greek taste.
4.78 from 9 votes
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 grams ground meat, pork, beef, or lamb
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 4 large yellow potatoes, finely cubed (about 1 pound or 5 cups)
  • 1 carrot, diced (optional)
  • 3 ½ cups water or vegetable broth
  • fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • plain yogurt, for serving (optional)

Instructions 

  • In a big pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and the ground meat of choice. Let cook, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into smaller pieces, until the liquid has fully evaporated and the meat is brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onions and garlic and stir. Add the paprika and oregano and season with salt and pepper and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the tomato sauce and stir. I want you to stir in between each ingredient.
  • Add the potatoes and carrots, if using, and stir. Add water or broth. Make sure the meat and potatoes are just covered with liquid. Let the contents come to a slight boil.
  • Once bubbling, reduce the heat and let simmer on medium-low heat for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked. Be sure to taste and adjust for salt. Garnish with parsley and enjoy with fresh bread.
  • In Bulgaria we love adding yogurt on top or eating it with plain yogurt on the side as it’s extremely refreshing but feel free to enjoy it as is if you wish.

Video

Notes

Please note that in Bulgaria we actually use summer savoury which we call “chubritza” as a seasoning but I replaced it with oregano for those that are unfamiliar with it.
You can absolutely use any seasonings you enjoy or even use jalapeños to make it a spicier stew.
I haven’t tried freezing this meal but I don’t see why it wouldn’t freeze well. If you try freezing it, try with a smaller portion to see how you like it reheated.
Feel free to use any ground meat of choice, I have made this with ground turkey before and it was absolutely delicious.
The tomato sauce I added in is our homemade Italian tomato sauce, which is only made with tomatoes, salt and basil, so please choose a good quality jar of sauce or Passata that is clean in ingredients.
You can definitely make this dish vegan by using a plant-based ground meat.
If you want to throw a bay leaf into the moussaka as it cooks, you are more than welcome to.
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My family absolutely LOVES this dish. It has become a staple over the last year. We make it almost once a month. Makes delicious leftovers!

    This recipe is delicious as it’s written, but I’ve made it so many times (I have it memorized by now lol) that I’ve started to make a few additions that our family loves:
    1. I double the meat and do 2 pounds. We have weightlifters in our family so we need lots of protein.
    2. I always add the optional carrot, and I also add a diced zucchini to sneak in some extra fiber. You can’t even tell it’s in there. (To offset the added water content of the veggies I sometimes add a little corn starch slurry at the end to thicken.)
    3. To add a spicy kick, I blend up a can of crushed tomatoes with habaneros and use that instead of plain tomato sauce.

    Thank you Modern Nonna for this recipe! ❤️

    1. Oh my goodness, Naomi, you are SO SWEET!! Thank you so much. This truly warms my heart. And I LOVE the changes/additions you’ve made!

  2. I really love your recipes I have tried so many of them .. but I find it impossible to see or follow recipes on the site there are so many pop ups and advertisements it’s frustrating to navigate thru and when you try to (X) out it brings you to the add anyway and than I need to start over .. I’m I navigating this incorrectly or is this just how it is ?

    1. Hi Kenneth, so sorry to hear. Sounds frustrating. You may have a pop-up setting on your web browser that could help.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I’ve made it a few times now and my husband and I enjoy taking it for lunch. I add a teaspoon of cinnamon and always add spinach or kale as well.

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I have made this a couple times now and love it! Super easy to tweak. We have tried it with ground turkey, pork or just veggies and have enjoyed it every time. Thanks for sharing great recipes!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this recipe tonight with a side of homemade focaccia bread! It was easy and very tasty. Perfect savory hearty meal for the fall and winter. I’m sure kids and husbands alike will love this! Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight and it was wonderful! Hearty and full of taste. I added zucchini and the suggestion of having sour cream on the side was great.