Moussakas is one of the greatest Greek dishes made with beef or lamb, layers of eggplant and a creamy béchamel sauce. You could make a day ahead and reheat the next day without compromising the texture and flavor.
Tips: – Lentils are wonderful substitution for meat in this recipe and work very well in Moussaka to make it vegetarian. Add texture that’s similar to the meat layer.
– You can prepare and freeze this dish without the Béchamel sauce which can be made and added just before baking.
– If you are using large eggplants instead of small ones, cut them into 3/4 inch rounds and broil them.
– If you don’t like eggplant you can replace it with with summer squash and zucchini.
- 3 lbs. small eggplants, peeled and broiled
- olive oil (as needed)
- 1 medium onion,chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lb 93%-lean ground beef or lamb (use 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils for vegetarian)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
For Bechamel Sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour( for Paleo and Gluten Free diet use coconut flour)
- 1 cup milk (for Paleo diet use full fat coconut milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1 large egg, room temperature,lightly beaten
1- To broil the eggplants, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. brush or spray with olive oil. Place the skinned eggplants on the foil and brush with olive oil. Broil for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned, then flip them over and broil the other side.
2- To make the meat sauce, sauté the chopped onion, garlic, ground meat or cooked lentils, salt, pepper, turmeric and cayenne pepper(if used) until the meat is no longer pink and onion is softens. Add dried oregano and tomato paste and mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3- For bechamel sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and milk. cook until thickened. Add the cheese and mix well, then remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for 15 minutes. Whisk in the egg and set béchamel aside.
4- Layer a 8×8 baking dish with 1/2 of the prepared eggplants(try to flatten them sligtly). Cover the eggplants with all the meat/lentil sauce. Then layer the remaining eggplants on top of the sauce. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top.
5- Bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve it with green salad and some steamed or sautéed vegetables to have a filling meal.
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