Almost Turkish Recipes

Zucchini Mousakka with Garbanzo Beans (Nohutlu Kabak Musakka)

There is something special about moussaka recipes; they always turn out great. Although moussaka, the term Arabic in origin, does not resemble the Arabic dish which is a kind of cold eggplant appetizer; although moussaka means a different dish in a lot of countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Turkey; and although the moussaka dish has numerous versions even in one country, a moussaka dish is always delicious. In Turkish cuisine moussaka is usually prepared
with fried eggplant, tomato, peppers, and ground meat.

This zucchini musakka recipe comes from
Musa Dağdeviren, the owner and chef of famous Çiya Restaurant in İstanbul. I had also tried his mualle recipe before. This is not well-known or traditional recipe since it uses garbanzo beans. I replaced ground lamb with ground beef and it is still delicious. If you want to try it with ground lamb, you can find the original recipe here.

4 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup ground meat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

3-4 tomatoes, diced or 1 can of petite diced tomato
1 cup of cooked garbanzo beans
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp red pepper paste or chile sauce
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint or 1 tbsp dried mint flakes
ground pepper

-Prepare a bowl of salty water and soak sliced zucchini for half an hour.
-Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a broad deep pan. Add ground meat and cook until browned and all the juice is gone. 

-Add garlic and onion, cook for approximately 5 more minutes.
-Add tomato paste and pepper paste (or chile sauce). Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
-Stir in diced tomato. Cook for they change color, ~5 minutes.
-Add zucchini slices. Stir and then let simmer on low to medium heat, until tender.
-Stir in garbanzo beans. Cook for a couple of minutes.
-Season with salt and pepper. Transfer zucchini musakka into a bowl. Sprinkle with mint and parsley.
-Musakkas are always good with wh
ite rice, crusty bread, and yogurt.


  1. I like the addition of chickpeas. An interesting take on the traditional dish.

  2. thanks for this wonderful recipe, dear burcu. it's a great use of TVP.

  3. Anonymous4:13 AM

    What is TVP?

  4. leavesleft- TVP, textured vegetable protein, or TSP, textured soy protein , is defatted soy flour. It's high in protein and a great substitute for meat. You can find it at markets in the bulk section or prepacked.

  5. Wow, this is great. Looks delicious. I'll try it this weekend. I've wnted to try TVP for a while so I think this is a very good introduction to using it. Thanks!


  6. I'm quite sure I would enjoy this version of mousakka Burcu:D

  7. This looks soooo good. I just saw it on the round-up over at Jugalbandi.

  8. Sounds really good. My mother used to cook with TVP when I was a kid (long before it became rather trendy!) I bet it's delicious in this. And I do approve of the parsley!

  9. How do you do.
    I hope to see blog.
    Please link to this site.

  10. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Returning from Istanbul, I thought I must try to cook some turkish dishes. I have tried & loved a couple of your recipes. TVP? I must try this one as well...

  11. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Great recipe. Thanks.... I tried it yesterday, and add it to my blog.
    If you want to see the photo, here it is...

  12. Anonymous2:47 PM

    wow this sounds absolutely gorgeous... sigh....

  13. Thanks for the great explanation and very good style of aegean musakka.

    People here just think that food in Turkey meat and kebap but in turkey especially in western region we just eat lots of vegetables and low amount of meat.

  14. Anonymous6:56 AM

    Hi, I'm making this now but I think the pepper and tomatoe paste is too much. I get village made 'salca' and it's salty. I've had to add lots of water because it was much too salty.


  15. Anonymous1:52 AM

    i make a similar version of this dish often but i find it gets too saucy if cooked fully covered, do mean cook uncovered when you say cook stirring? or just open the lid and stir now and then?

    1. Do you add water to the dish? With no extra water it shouldn't be too juicy