If you’ve decided that you want to eat a little healthier but aren’t prepared to compromise on flavour, then I’ve got a recipe for you. This healthy Greek moussaka uses baked eggplant rounds instead of fried, replaces half the lamb mince with mushrooms (thanks meaty-tasting mushroom friends) and offers a much lighter alternative topping to a bechamel sauce. It has all the flavour of an original moussaka, satisfies all comfort food cravings, and is delicious enough to be served at a dinner party – in fact, if you don’t tell your guests it’s a healthy version, they would be none the wiser.
As an Italian, my decision to cut pasta out of my diet as a regular meal and save it for special occasions, was one of the toughest I’ve ever made - you see, there’s a slight possibility that I was actually finding an excuse to eat pasta every night of the week.
The favourite pasta dish in my household is lasagna, so when making a concerted effort to reduce pasta intake, I instantly started looking for its alternative, and this moussaka was born. We have made it every week since, which has meant I’ve tweaked the recipe umpteen times to make it the healthiest and tastiest it can possibly be.
I’ve done all the hard work for you, so why not reap the rewards and try it yourself!
Healthy Greek moussaka
Prep time: 30 mins (some of which is done in cooking time)
Cooking time: 1 hr 47 mins
Rest time: 10 mins
Total time: 2 hrs
- 1 ½ kg eggplant, cut into 5mm-thick rounds
- olive oil spray
- 250 g lean lamb mince
- 250 g Swiss brown mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 red capsicum, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 handful chopped continental parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ¾ cup dry red wine
- 2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 300 g Greek-style natural yoghurt
- 50 g Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (420°F) and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Spray the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides, then place the slices on the baking trays in a single layer, and bake for 20-25 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven, then lower the temperature to 180°C (350° F).
- Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with a coating of olive oil spray, then cook the lamb and mushrooms, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add another spray of olive oil to the pan then add onion, carrot, celery and capsicum and sauté until softened (about 5 minutes). Adding garlic for the last minute of sautéing. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes while stirring, then add cinnamon, parsley, oregano, red wine and chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the mushrooms and mince, season to taste and simmer for 30 minutes.
- To begin layering your moussaka, spread a ladleful of the mince mixture on the bottom of a 25cm deep square baking dish, then top with a single layer of eggplant. Add a little more of the mince mixture, then another layer of eggplant. Repeat with remaining mince and eggplant.
- For the topping, combine all ingredients together in a bowl, then pour over the top of the moussaka. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the moussaka is golden on top and bubbling at the edges. Remove and set aside for 10 minutes to cool, then serve.
Amanda Michetti started the Italian-led recipe blog Chew Town five years ago. Its aim is to both document her family's recipes and show readers that great food deserves to taste delicious, look great and be simple enough for everyone to try. In recent times, Amanda has left her day job and now works as a freelance food photographer and recipe developer with her work showcased here.