Did you know, "Moussaka is an eggplant- and/or potato-based dish, often including ground meat, which is common in the Balkans and the Middle East, with many local and regional variations. The best-known version in Europe and the Americas is the Greek variant created in the 1920s by Nikolaos Tselementes."
All I know is that it is a comfort food that has many levels of taste sensations to have you wanting to dance and yell "OPA!" If you are watching your sodium and fat intake, my variant is layers of healthful deliciousness without any of the guilt.
Many recipes have lots of butter, fried potatoes, fried eggplants, and added oil. Here we use grass fed beef. You can use any kind of ground meat or poultry that works for you. We also bake the potatoes and eggplant with very little added oil.
The recipe for the béchamel or cream sauce, that crowns the layers, is lightened up by using 1% milk with only 1/3 cup of flour. So less carbs and little fat.
This may look like a time consuming recipe with a long list of ingredients. It's not and comes together in no time at all.
The good news is, if you portion the dish into 6 pieces, one piece has only about 429 calories. You'll never miss those guilty ingredients. This light moussaka is full flavour with healthful garlic, onions and sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. MMMM...YUM!
Moussaka Light and Delicious
Serves 4 large servings to 6 medium
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for each part of the recipe.
For the Potatoes and Eggplant
2 good sized potatoes, I used yellow sliced lengthwise.
On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, take 1 teaspoon of olive oil and pour it onto the parchment.
With your fingers, take a tiny bit of the oil and rub the potato slices on each side, very lightly
Lay the baking sheet with the potatoes in a single layer.
Using another large parchment lined baking sheet, take one teaspoon olive oil and one medium to large purple eggplant and do the same process.
Bake each sheet with the potatoes and the eggplant until just soft and slightly golden. About 20 minutes. Take out of the oven when done, and set aside.
For the Beef
1 teaspoon organic extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound grass fed ground beef
28 fluid ounce whole tomatoes, squished with your hands to chunky consistency
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground, add more if desired
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
pinch of nutmeg, use a whole nutmeg and grate on a microplane or fine grater
1 teaspoon honey
Freshly ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, to your taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
While the potatoes and eggplant are baking...
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and fry the onions until just soft, in a cast iron or non stick skillet.
Add the ground grass fed beef and fry until just cooked.
Add the garlic and the squished tomatoes with the spices.
Add the honey
Simmer until the beef is cooked through and the potatoes and eggplants of soft from baking in the oven.
1 large minced garlic clove
1/4 cup organic purpose flour (any flour including gluten free flour may be used)
1 1/2 cup milk (750 ml)
Himalayan Pink sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan.
Add the garlic for a few seconds, just to infuse the oil but not to brown.
Add the flour. Stir until flour is coated with the oil to make a the roux. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the milk.
Continue to whisk until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. It's ok if it's a bit lumpy.
Season with salt, pepper and add nutmeg.
In a small bowl or ramekin, beat the egg.
By tablespoon add a bit of hot milk mixture, about 3 tablespoons, to temper, or bring the eggs to warm temperature.
Add the warm egg milk mixture back into the rest of the milk mixture.
Cover and set aside until ready to assemble the Mousakka.
Take 1 teaspoon olive oil and grease a pyrex or other non stick 9 x 9 baking pan.
Place one layer of potatoes into the greased baking pan.
Place a layer of eggplant on the potatoes.
Pour half the beef mixture into the first potato eggplant layer.
Place the 2nd layer of half the potatoes on top of the beef.
Place a 2nd layer of half the eggplant on top of the potatoes.
Pour the rest of the meat mixture on top of the potatoes.
Top with the béchamel sauce. You may have a bit left over.
Once assembled, bake in the 400 degree F oven for about 45 minute or until golden and bubbling. When baked, let sit for about 15 minutes for easier cutting and serving. Serve with a nice green salad full of veggies.