In Greece, moussaka is made with beef or lamb, layers of sliced eggplant and a creamy béchamel sauce all baked together in the oven. This variation takes plenty of liberties to make it easy, quick and healthful. Serve over whole-wheat pasta or with potatoes.
From EatingWell: September/October 2011
Yield: 4 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time: 45
Total Time: 45
- 1 small eggplant (see Tips), 8 to 10 ounces
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
- 1 pound 93%-lean ground beef, lamb (see Tips) or bison
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt, plus more for serving
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or parsley
- If your eggplant is skinny, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices; if it’s fatter, first cut it in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into slices. Using 1 tablespoon oil, lightly brush eggplant slices on both sides. Set aside.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add meat, 1 teaspoon oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, 4 to 8 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove meat and garlic from the pan, draining well, and transfer to a medium bowl. Add tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes), water and 1/3 cup yogurt to the meat mixture; stir to combine.
- Pour off any liquid in the pan and wipe the pan clean. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, the remaining garlic, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and the eggplant; cook, stirring, until the eggplant is softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the meat mixture. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and eggplant are soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle cheese and mint (or parsley) on top and stir to combine. Serve topped with extra yogurt, if desired.
Tips & Notes
- Tips: If you’re using large, common globe eggplant, which can be more bitter than other varieties, salting beforehand can reduce bitterness. To salt: Place prepped eggplant in a large colander over a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon salt. Top the eggplant with a plate weighted down with cans. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using. Rinse well with cold water, then dry with paper towels.
- It’s not always easy to find lean lamb, but it’s easy to grind your own in a food processor. Choose a lean cut, such as leg or loin, trim any excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Pulse in a food processor until uniformly ground, being careful not to overprocess. Or ask your butcher to grind a lean cut for you.
Nutrition Per Serving: 461 calories; 28 g fat (8 g sat, 15 g mono); 96 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrates; 38 g protein; 5 g fiber; 822 mg sodium; 843 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (50% daily value), Iron (32% dv), Potassium (24% dv), Calcium (19% dv), Vitamin A & Vitamin C (17% dv), Magnesium (15% dv)
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 3 fat