Lebanese Moussaka? Hmmm, I never knew that there was such thing. When I hear the word “Moussaka”, I imagine a Greek dish made with eggplant, chopped beef or lamb, a béchamel sauce layered in a casserole! That is the Greek version of Moussaka but definitely not the Lebanese version.
A few weeks ago my husband and I dined at a local Lebanese restaurant that we like, and one of the appetizers on their menu is Moussaka. We were wondering what it could be, as I mentioned above, I have never heard of Moussaka in Lebanese cuisine. I read the description and it called for eggplant, chickpeas, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and mint. All of my favorite ingredients! This dish was absolutely delicious and for anyone that loves eggplant and all the other wonderful ingredients, you will totally fall in love!! The Greek Moussaka is very good this is nothing like it, as the only similarities between these two dishes are the eggplant, garlic, olive oil, onions and tomatoes! The Lebanese version is more like a hearty stew. There is no dairy or meat and is totally vegan! After I ate it, I said to my husband that I need to find out more about it, so I did a Google search for “Lebanese Moussaka” and it came up with links for Maghmour, Lebanese Moussaka. And, in my humble opinion, it is much better! The Lebanese name is Maghmour but they call it Moussaka, the word “moussaka” originally comes from the Greek word mousakás which is derived from the Turkish word musakka, which actually came from Arabic word musaqqa‘ah which means “chilled”. I think the bottom line is that several countries in the Middle East make their own version! Then I asked my friend Hadia from Hadia’s Lebanese Cuisine about it and she pointed me in the direction of her mother’s Moussaka. If you have never been to Hadia’s website, I recommend that you do because it’s wonderful. Hadia’s mom uses fresh chickpeas, and while fresh is always better, I didn’t have the time to soak, cook and peel them but this dish is still great with canned chickpeas. My Moussaka (Maghmour) is not exactly the same as Hadia’s mom as I bake my eggplant instead of frying it, and made it a little differently, but let me tell you, it came out amazing!!!
So to see how I made mine, please keep reading!
- 2 large eggplants, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (leave the skin on)
- 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes, including juice
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. good quality Paprika
- 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp dried mint
- 1-2 cups water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay non stick foil onto a baking sheet
- To a large bowl add the cut eggplant and add in half of the olive oil. Mix with your hands to coat. Lay on the baking sheets and roast until done, about 20-30 minutes. Turning half way through. When done, remove from the oven and set aside.
- To a large Dutch oven over low heat add the rest of your oil. Add the onions and cook until they become transparent, about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste and then add your garlic. Stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the eggplant cubes, drained chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, liquid smoke, paprika and about half of the water. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water, if the mixture gets dry. Serve and enjoy!