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Simple Moussaka

I’ve been wanting to try moussaka for a long time, but knew that I couldn’t pull it off for under $5. I used the recipe from Joy of Cooking and simplified it quite a bit. I did not use any Greek yogurts or cheeses. Yes, I know those are the KEY ingredients to the dish, but I’m trying to keep it frugal and simple here.

Also, this seems to be “How to” week at $5 Dinners! From the split chicken breasts to the mangoes and now eggplant. I have always “feared” eggplant because I didn’t know what to do with it. Have that same problem? Fear no more. I’ve got step by step directions with photos below!

Simple Moussaka

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 90 minutes


  • 1 large eggplant ($2.08)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb ground beef ($.75) Purchased marked down
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes ($.24) Used $1 off coupon
  • 1 can organic tomato paste (Free!) Bought when on sale with $1 coupon
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($.05)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped ($.20)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.02)
  • 1 tsp sugar ($.02)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($.02)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika ($.02)
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 egg ($.12)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese ($.75)
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) pasta ($1) I used whole wheat penne for use and rice elbow noddles of the boys
  • 2 cups organic frozen green beans ($.50) Bought on sale with $1 coupon
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  • Slice top and bottom off of eggplant so it will stand up. Slice lengthwise in 1/3 inch slices.
  • Lay eggplants slices out on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • In skillet add 2 Tbsp olive oil, chopped onion, crushed garlic and ground beef. Brown ground beef and drain. Return meat mixture to skillet and add diced tomatoes with their juices, can of tomato paste plus about 1/2 cup of water. Add cinnamon, sugar, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Cook meat mixture for about 10-15 minutes, until sauce thickens. Let sauce cool for a few minutes and then mix in 1 beaten egg.
  • After a half hour, little water beads will have formed on the eggplant. The salt draws out the water so that the eggplant will cook better.
  • Rinse and pat dry eggplants.
  • Place on olive oil greased cookie sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until eggplants are soft and slightly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 350.
  • In 8×8 glass baking dish, line bottom with 2-3 eggplant slices, top with 1/3-1/2 meat mixture. Top meat with eggplant slices, and then again with meat mixture. Place last 2-3 eggplant slices on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Then top with provolone cheese (Omit if GFCFSF) and bake another 15-20 minutes.
  • (This is where I simplified the recipe. I did not top with the Greek cheese and yogurt mixture.)
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Serve with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Cook green beans according to package instructions.
  • Serve moussaka with side of pasta and green beans.

Cost $5.80 Little Splurge, but totally worth it 🙂