Seriously Easy Moussaka
had never really thought about moussaka until a few years ago when I was craving lasagne but wanting a low carb alternative.
So happy I was inspired to make a simple version of the Greek classic.
Such a brilliant comforting do ahead dinner.
And I’m happy to report that Maria, one of my Simple Meal Plans members with Greek ancestry gave this recipe the thumbs up.
The only downside is that like lasagne this is a bit time consuming but I’ve kept it as simple as possible!
enough for 3-4
takes an hour
3 medium eggplant
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef or lamb
700g (3cups) tomato passata (puree NOT concentrated tomato paste)
300g (1 1/4cups) sour cream
2 handfuls grated parmesan
baby spinach or salad leaves, to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Slice eggplant about 1/2 inch (1cm) thick. Place on an oven tray and drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
2. Roast eggplant until really soft – about 30 minutes, turning about half way.
3. Meanwhile, brown meat in a hot pan with a little oil. Then add the tomato and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Taste and season with salt if needed.
4. Cover the base of an oven proof dish with the meat (mine was 22cmx28cm / 8inx11in but it doesn’t need to be exact). Layer over the cooked eggplant and top with remaining meat.
5. Mix sour cream and Parmesan then spread carefully over the top. Depending on the size of your dish it may not completely cover so I leave some space around the edges (see photo).
6. Bake 200C for about 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and browned on top. Serve with salad on the side.
vegetarian – replace beef with cooked lentils or beans.
dairy-free / paleo – replace the sour cream and parmesan with a few handfuls almond meal or soft bread crumbs. Scatter over the top to give a lovely crust. Or try using cashew ‘sour cream’ as the topping.
vegan – combine the vegetarian and dairy-free options.
more veg – feel free to layer in other cooked veg like roast zucchini, capsicum (bell peppers) or mushrooms.
carb lovers – add in a few layers of lasagne sheets and expect to cook for longer or serve with cooked pasta.
more substantial (low carb) -serve larger serves.
short on time – use grilled eggplant from the deli, or roast eggplant at 250C (480F) for 15-20 minutes. Skip the layering and baking and just serve meat sauce on top of roast eggplant with sour cream and cheese on top.
keto / ultra low carb – reduce tomato passata to 1/2C and reduce simmering time.
pantry-friendly – sour cream = extra parmesan + almond meal. Eggplant = sweet potato. Serve with steamed frozen greens.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt. A splash of hot sauce will liven things up!
too dry – next time use meat with more fat. For now a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil will help.
no oven – pan fry eggplant slices in a little oil. Cook meat as per the recipe. Then pile the eggplant and meat onto individual plates and top with a dollop of sour cream and lashings of grated parmesan.
tough / chewy eggplant – oh no! Undercooked eggplant is the worst. Just cover the finished dish with foil so it doesn’t burn and pop back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes or longer if needed. Next time roast the eggplant slices until they are really soft before layering.
too oily – it all comes down to the fattiness of your meat and personal preference. Next time use leaner meat or drain off some of the oil after browning the meat.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
eggplant – will keep for a few weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. For longer, sliced and rub with oil and grill until soft and browned. Can be frozen if needed.
minced (ground) beef or lamb – freeze it.
tomato passata – keep it in the pantry.
sour cream – keeps for weeks in the fridge.
parmesan – wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and store in the fridge in a sealed paper bag or airtight container. Will keep for months. Can be frozen if you’re going away.
baby spinach or salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they wont go slimey.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the baby spinach / salad separately. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, allow to defrost then warm in the oven (250C / 480F) for 10-15 minutes or until hot.