Moussaka (Greek Lasagna)

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moussaka

 

moussaka

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moussaka

 

I prepared this one Sunday afternoon and froze it before baking it. The other day, I knew I was going to be too busy to prepare a meal when I got home, so I took the frozen Moussaka out of the freezer and placed it in my oven on a “delay timer.” I had the Moussaka finish baking about 30 minutes before dinner so it could “set”…most people cut lasagna and such too early, which will make it runny. If you like Greek food, you will love this!

MOUSSAKA

EGGPLANT LAYER:
3 large eggplants
Pinch of Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Coconut oil or butter
MEAT LAYER:
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon, sliced in thin circles
1 handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or grass fed beef
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 (16-ounce) Tomato Sauce
CHEESE SAUCE:
4 TBS Butter
1/2 cup beef broth
2 eggs, separated
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 to 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
Pinch of nutmeg

To prepare the eggplants: Cut off the stems, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season all the pieces of eggplant with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat a large skillet with oil and heat over medium flame. Fry the eggplant in a single layer, turning once, until brown on both sides. Drain the eggplant as they cook on a paper towel-lined platter. OR Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices, lay on greased cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until soft.

Meat Layer: Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the onion, garlic, lemon slices, oregano, and parsley. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb and mushrooms (this will “lighten” the dish) stirring to break up the meat; season with salt and pepper, and toss in the cinnamon stick. Stir in the tomato sauce. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

In a saucepan, combine 4 TBS butter and broth; cook over low heat. Beat egg yolks, and combine with cheese and nutmeg; add to saucepan. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into sauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with 1/3 of the eggplant slices; they should completely cover the bottom. Spread 1/2 of the meat sauce over the eggplant, evening it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Repeat the layers again, ending with a final layer of eggplant. Cover the top with a nice even layer of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving) =
Traditional Moussaka = 416 calories, 24g fat, 13g protein, 37g carbs, 9g fiber (28g effective carbs)
“Healthified” Moussaka = 421 calories, 23.3g fat, 37.6g protein, 16.9g carbs, 7.5g fiber (9.4g effective carbs)

33 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    This dish is so good! my family begs for me to make this. It is a bit time consuming, but worth the trouble. Make a double batch and freeze one….so worth it 🙂

  • Megan Napier says:

    Wow this is a labor intensive dish, but it smells really good. I have it in the oven right now. I kind of messed up and mixed the cheese and meat mixture together before putting it on top of the eggplants. Hopefully, it will still taste good 🙂
    I am glad it makes a huge portion b/c I will freeze the rest of it in individual portions for quick meals.

  • Megan Napier says:

    OMG this recipe is amazing. It is so worth the time it took to make it. The flavor is so rich. Thank you for another awesome recipe.

  • Heather says:

    Hi Maria,
    This recipe sounds great! I can’t wait to try it.
    I also have a recipe from a friend for her famous lasagna. I was planning on using grilled zucchini in place of noodles. I was unsure of which substitute flour to use for the Bechamel sauce. She uses 3T flour and I was wondering which flour you would recommend. In my home I always have on hand, garbanzo, almond and coconut flour. Her sauce also uses shredded parm, ricotta, whole milk, butter, chicken broth, baby portobello mushrooms, parsley, basil, salt, and garlic. Any suggestions?
    Thanks again for your amazing blog and books! I’m in the process of collecting all of your books!
    Heather 😉

    • Thanks! I would sub a small amount of psyllium for the sauce. It works great as a thickener. Then just sub the milk for almond or coconut milk. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I am really looking forward to making this. I didn’t have Contadina Thick and Zesty Tomato Sauce so I looked up what was in it and found: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Citric Acid, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Red Pepper, Oregano were the ingredients. I know Modified Corn Starch is something I’m not suppose to have per Dr. Davis so I saw that as a red flag. What’s your thoughts on that? The cans are now 15 oz. also. Do you think I could make my own? … I have a 12 oz can of tomato paste, 4 oz. of water (wasn’t sure if this would be too thick and should have a lower ratio of paste with more water?), 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp oregano. What do you think about the quantity of these ingredients; do they need to be adjusted? I saw your note above about psyllium about thickeners in the sauce. How much would you think I should add for this amount of sauce?
    THANK YOU so much for all your WONDERFUL recipes which is helping us to eat healthy in such a delicious way … in fact, I think we are enjoying food even more than ever, and I wouldn’t think that was possible. I tell so many people about you and you website because you have been so helpful to me and my family.
    Any suggestions you can make will help me so much!
    Brenda 😉

    • Thank you! Yes, you can make your own sauce and that is a great option. If not, Contadina is one of the better options. If you can find an organic (in glass jar) sauce, that is even better. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I meant to ask about the cinnamon stick … Don’t have this either, but was wondering if dry cinnamon powder could be substituted and if so how much? Do the oregano leaves and parsley have to be fresh or would dried work as well? If dried would work, what quantity?
    THANKS AGAIN! You are Mrs. Wonderful!
    Brenda 😉

    • Dry will work and the same amount should be fine. For the cinnamon, I would just use a little to taste. The powder will be stronger that soaking a stick. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I wanted to let you know that the Moussaka was delicious! I was able to get cinnamon stick and it was delicious and did buy the fresh herbs…decided to make it close to yours as possible. I keep blowing my family. friends and even myself away with your delicious recipes.
    I did have a question: My cheese mixture wasn’t as thick as your picture … I may have done some things wrong so could you verify the best way of making because I’m sure I’m making this recipe again.
    I beat the egg yolks a little but didn’t beat a long time … they were fluffed up a little but not like when I made peanut butter ice cream, btw delicious…would love to find something chocolate to mix or top it with. When it said to combine with the cheese, I added 8 oz feta cheese that was crumbled and 2 cups of shredded parmesan (I used additional parmesan for the topping), I mixed with my hand mixer until all was combined. Then I added this thick cheese mixture to the saucepan, not sure if I was to remove from heat but I did do that, and I mixed with mixer all this with the broth and butter. I beat my egg whites with hand mixer until still and they were very stiff. Folding the egg whites into the cheese sauce was a bit challenging for me and didn’t combine easily. This mixture was kind of thin and barely enough to cover the entire 9X13 but felt I had accomplished it. Yours looks thicker … barely could see mine after cooking (didn’t poof up at all). It still was delicious though. I imagine one of those steps I did wasn’t right. Could you please comment and give me suggestions.
    Also, do you know where you can get a taller (thicker) 9X13 glass casserole. I have plenty of thinner types and aluminum thicker/9X13 cake pan which would work but not sure if the aluminum would be good to use with a tomato recipe? Any ideas.

    Thanks for making getting healthier fun and delicious! I will be checking back for you comments and will update my recipe that I have typed to keep handy. Brenda

  • Sonja says:

    Wow, can’t wait to try this tonight! However my kids and I are not fans of mushrooms. Can we substitute with something else? Thanks!

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  • Katy says:

    This is amazing!

  • Marty says:

    Great idea! The hubby will love this. Thanks!

  • Doreen says:

    Amazing!!! My family loved it! Reminded us of our favorite dish we had in Greece!!! Thanks Maria🙂

  • Sue says:

    I have two large eggplants just waiting for me to do something with them. This recipe came up at the right time. I’m going to give it a try.

  • Ash says:

    My god this looks divine!

  • Natalie says:

    I just made this and it smells and tastes amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe, it will become a staple in our house.

  • Dina says:

    A question about the lemon slices. Should they be removed from the sauce once it’s done cooking? I worry that biting into a lemon slice won’t be pleasant. Thank you!

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