Garden Harvest Moussaka
A hearty, meaty, comforting layered casserole with enticing spices, Moussaka is the Greek version of lasagna. I lighten mine up and make it a little easier to make as well by using yogurt whisked with some eggs to make the bechamel sauce for the top.
Moussaka tastes like home to me … it’s a dish my dad used to make us when we were children. Back then, we didn’t like eggplant so we’d beg him to make it for us with zucchini. (So if you’re not a fan of eggplant, substitute zucchini!)
I made this moussaka with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant. The meat I used was some ground elk that my mom and dad got on their fabulous elk hunt–and I often make it with ground venison–but you can use ground beef or even ground chicken or turkey if you prefer that.
Yes, it takes a little effort to make it, but oh man is it worth it! I could totally eat moussaka for every meal. In fact, I ate it for breakfast almost all of last week!
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (or other salt-free seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 lb. very lean ground beef (or other lean meat such as venison, elk or lamb)
- 1 large onion, peeled & chopped
- 4 - 6 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 10 - 15 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups, with juices)
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 medium red or golden potato
- 3/4 cup whole wheat (or gluten free) breadcrumbs
- 1 2/3 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Spray a large flat pan with sides (or saucepan) with cooking spray, then add olive oil. Heat the oil over medium heat till the pan is hot, then add the spices and stir, allowing them to “toast” briefly in the pan. Add the meat and cook until brown. Remove the meat from the pan, leaving a thin layer of fat in the bottom of the pan. (If there isn't any, add a teaspoon of oil.)
- Next, put the onion, garlic and bell pepper in the pan and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the wine in and let it cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine is evaporated, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, peel and thinly slice the eggplant (I usually slice it vertically) and the potato. The eggplant should be no more than 1/4 inch thick.
- Spray 2 cookie sheets with cooking oil and place the eggplant in a single layer on the sheet, the potatoes on the other. Spray the veggies with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 5 minutes or until just lightly golden brown on top, then flip and cook for about 5 minutes on the other side, until the eggplant and potato slices are soft.
- To assemble the Moussaka: Spray a 13x9x2 inch pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs over the bottom of the pan. Spread half the meat sauce over the breadcrumbs, then a layer of eggplant slices, then the potato slices, then the rest of the meat sauce.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the white sauce ingredients. Pour this over the rest and sprinkle the top with parmesan and the rest of the breadcrumbs.
- Bake at 400 F for 45 - 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and set. Let sit for about 15 - 20 minutes before serving.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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