roasted eggplant beef moussaka

eggplant beef moussaka

Roasted eggplant beef moussaka is a delicious weeknight meal and you’ll love this lightened up version of the Greek classic. Moussaka reminds me of a Greek take on lasagna (my favorite food ever!) and I love that it utilizes healthy eggplants instead of pasta.

In traditional recipes the eggplants are fried and the entire dish is topped with bechamel, a milk sauce thickened with roux (flour and butter). To make this comfort food healthier I roasted the vegetables and I lightened up the bechamel sauce by swapping out half of the milk for chicken broth. I also topped the bechamel sauce with panko bread crumbs for a crispy texture.

eggplant beef moussaka

This is a long recipe but with a lot of inactive cook time. You can make all the steps at once or you can roast the eggplants ahead of time and make the meat sauce in advance. If making this dish in advance, just cook up the bechamel and layer the dish when you’re ready to serve.

This recipe is one of my favorite things to make when the weather is cold. The delicious smell wafts through the house and brings the whole family together! Let’s get cookin’!

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roasted eggplant and beef moussaka

This roasted eggplant moussaka recipe is a lightened up version of the delicious comfort food classic.

  • Author:
  • Yield: serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 medium eggplant (peeled and sliced thick)
  • Olive oil spray
  • salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion (finely diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (15% fat – 85% lean)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ Cup red wine
  • Bechamel sauce:
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Peel the eggplant and slice into long, thick slices. Place the eggplant slices on a clean kitchen towel, sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt, and let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes. The salt draws out the extra moisture from eggplants and allows the eggplant to roast properly.
  3. Meanwhile make the meat sauce by heating the olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook over medium high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3-5 minutes to cook off the raw tomato paste. Add oregano, cinnamon, salt and wine. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low, for 15-20 minutes, until thickened. Set aside, off the heat.
  4. Pat the eggplant slices dry, arrange on the lined baking sheet, spray with olive oil spray.  Bake for 40 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through cooking. 
  5. While the eggplant roasts, prepare the bechamel. Combine the milk and chicken stock in a large measuring cup and warm up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk the hot milk and stock into the butter-flour mixture, add the salt, parmesan, and nutmeg and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 3-5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.
  6. To assemble the moussaka, spread some of the meat sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Arrange a layer of roasted eggplant on top. Add half of the meat sauce over the eggplant. Top with another layer of eggplant and the rest of the meat sauce. Top the whole thing with the bechamel sauce, sprinkle panko bread crumbs over the top of the moussaka.
  7. Place the casserole dish on a baking sheet, bake until browned and bubbly, 30-40 minutes. Allow the moussaka to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of dish
  • Calories: 449
  • Sugar: 10.4
  • Sodium: 656mg
  • Fat: 18.1g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.1
  • Fiber: 9.2g
  • Protein: 44g
  • Cholesterol: 126mg
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