Lighter moussaka

MoussakaTypically this Greek classic contains eggplant fried in loads of oil, potato, and a topping made with flour, butter and milk and then topped with cheese. I wanted to make a lighter, lower calorie version of this dish. To do this I baked the eggplant rather than frying it, omitted the potatoes and made the topping with light ricotta cheese, Greek yoghurt and eggs. This made for a satisfying, nutritious meal that didn’t leave me feeling completely stuffed or heavy afterwards and it ended up costing around $3.50 per serve*.

This meal required a bit more effort than I would normally go to on a week night, however, I knew that it would be enough for dinner for two nights, so I was wiling to proceed. Plus I organized myself that morning before work by salting the eggplant and throwing the meat mixture into the slow cooker. I added the four bean mix for extra fibre and to make the meal go that bit further. I think lentils would have been better. Warning: it is a bit difficult to serve this moussaka and maintain a complete slice, hence the not so attractive photo. It is probably easier just to scoop it out with a serving spoon. It still tasted good and will probably taste even better the next day. Enjoy.

Lighter moussaka

Makes 4 serves

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, cut into approximately 1cm thick slices

Meat mixture

500 grams lean grass fed mince

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 sprig of rosemary

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon all spice

1 400 gram tin of four bean mix or lentils, rinsed and drained

1 400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes

½ tin of tomato paste

1 beef stock cube

Salt

Pepper

Topping

375 grams light ricotta cheese

½ cup reduced fat Greek yoghurt

2 eggs

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Salt

Pepper

Method

  • Place the eggplant slices into a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow the eggplant to ‘sweat’ (draw the moisture out) for as long as you have time – minimum of 30 minutes. To save time, I sliced the eggplant and salted it in the morning before work, then left the slices sitting in a colander in a large bowl in the fridge for the day.
  • Rinse the salt off the eggplant, pat dry with a paper towel and place the slices onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes.
  • For the meat mixture place all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 – 9 hours.
  • Alternatively, while the eggplant is baking, add the onion, garlic and the crumbled stock cube to a non-stick saucepan with ½ cup of water. Cook until the onion begins to become transparent.
  • Add the mince, herbs and spices and cook until the mince is brown. Add the remaining ingredients, turn down the heat and allow the meat mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • While the meat is simmering, make the topping by combining the ricotta cheese, Greek yoghurt, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl and mix until completely combined.
  • To assemble the moussaka, drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the bottom of a baking dish (I used a round baking dish but if you only have a deep rectangle dish then I think this would also be fine). Layer the baked eggplant on the bottom of the dish. Then add the entire meat mixture followed by the topping.
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 180°C.
  • Allow the moussaka to sit for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

*Cost per serve based on all groceries purchased at Aldi excluding the rosemary.

Moussaka minceMoussaka toppingMoussaka eggplant

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