Paleo Moussaka from Grassfed Girl

October 8, 2013 · 22 comments

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Moussaka is a classic Mediterranean dish thought to have originated in Turkey. It has been adapted many times by the Eastern Europeans, Greeks, Italians, and Americans. The word moussaka has Arabic origins meaning chilled. This dish is usually made with cream/milk and wheat flour but I have adapted it to be gluten and and dairy free so that it fits a Paleo lifestyle.

Your family will never know anything is missing and you are welcome to adapt the recipe as you see fit. I saw many versions of this recipe when I was researching that were complicated and had many steps. I know most people are very busy and they just want the flavor without all the fuss. My version will not require cooking classes but will still wow your family or any dinner guest. Hope you enjoy it!

Bechamel white sauce is really easy so do not let it intimidate you. I tried to break it down into easy to understand and follow steps. It used to scare me too but once you make it once or twice you will be an old pro!

Paleo Moussaka


(always use organic ingredients whenever possible)



      1. Preheat the oven to 350.
      2. Melt the ghee over medium heat in frying pan.
      3. Next add the onion and garlic into the pan and saute for 5 minutes.
      4. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to the pan.
      5. Break up the meat with a spatula while continuing to cook until browned.
      6. Add the tomato paste and water to the meat mixture and stir until well combined.
      7. Transfer the meat sauce mixture to a bowl and set aside.
      8. Chop the eggplant (skin on) into bite sized pieces and place into the same frying pan over medium heat.
      9. Sprinkle some salt over the eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes until it is barely softened.
      10. Transfer the eggplant into a greased square 9X9 baking dish.
      11. Pour the meat sauce mixture evenly over top of the eggplant and sprinkle in the parsley.
      12. Pour 1/4 cup of the coconut milk into a small bowl then pour the rest into the frying pan, still over medium heat.
      13. Mix the arrowroot flour with the coconut milk in the bowl until smooth.
      14. When the frying pan filled with coconut milk starts to bubble, stir in the arrowroot mixture and a dash of salt and pepper.
      15. When the sauce thickens remove it from the heat and whisk in the egg until smooth.
      16. Pour the white sauce evenly over the meat and eggplant in the baking dish.
      17. Bake the casserole for 40 minutes, then broil for 3-5 minutes to get a nice color on the top.
      18. Remove the dish from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting.
      19. (This dish can be made ahead or frozen if needed)
      20. Slice and enjoy!

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 Minutes



Like what you are reading?

This dish is similar to the many dishes in a new cookbook that I wrote with my husband who was raised on the Mediterranean sea. We took many of the traditional dishes he was raised with and adapted them to fit Paleo and Weston A. Price guidelines. We have mouthwatering dishes such as Harirra, merguez, tagines and kebabs.

Bringing the flavors home to you:

We are putting all the fresh flavors of the Southern Mediterranean together in a wonderful new e-book!

It has all the flavors of the region without the hard to digest grains and legumes. Most recipes will work with healing lifestyles including: Paleo, Primal, Gaps, SCD and low carb diets.

If you eat soaked and sprouted grains feel free to add them to any dish for a comforting meal. These nourishing recipes will cover all the gastronomic bases with plenty of extras.

mediterraneanPaleoCooking4-1 Wonderful features of this book:

  • Easy breakfast ideas: Get a change of pace in your morning routine with new spins on your old favorites. Including crepes, muffins, fritatta, sausage, smoothies and more…
  • Snacks: Lots of easy appetizers for your parties and get togethers
  • Seasonal salads: toss up a gourmet meal in no time with just a few ingredients
  • Easy soups: that you can throw together to spice up a boring weeknight
  • Huge red meat section: over 20 mouth watering red meat dishes that will please the carnivores
  • Savory Sides: bring to life boring vegetables with new spices and herbs
  • Seafood: including sardines, anchovies, salmon, red snapper, calamari and more
  • Offal: New ideas for you to get more of these super foods into your family
  • Fermented foods: Try some new ferments to add rich probiotics to your diet
  • Desserts: That are full of traditional ingredients like pistachios and almonds. Most desserts will have low carb substitutions.
  • Sauces, stocks and broth: wondering how the chefs make these items? We will show you!

Find out more about our upcoming cookbook here:

About the author:

-2 Caitlin Weeks has many years experience as a nutritionist and personal trainer but now works full time on her food/nutrition blog at Grass Fed Girl. She lives in San Francisco, CA with her husband who is a professional chef who specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. Her favorite things are cooking, farmers markets and long walks by the ocean.

Caitlin Weeks

Holistic Nutrition and Exercise Expert
San Francisco, CA

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jay October 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I *love* Moussaka…unfortunately the missus is allergic to tomatoes. What would be a good substitute if there is one?


2 Jill October 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Hi Jay,
Here is my “No Tomato” sauce. You will not know the difference!


3 Courtney October 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

OMG that looks so delicious – I will have to try it out some time. I just need to get some chopped parsley and coconut milk.


4 Emalee October 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Could I use cornstarch instead of arrowroot?


5 Natalie Fraser October 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

Would almond flour or coconut flour work instead of arrowroot?


6 Jill October 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

@Emalee and Natalie Fraser,
You would have to try it.


7 Natalie Fraser November 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Wanted to tell you I made this yesterday following your recipe exactly and it turned out amazing!! Thanks, its going to be a regular for us.


8 Vespamama November 5, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I’d like to make a double batch and freeze one, but I’m not sure if I should make the bechamel and freeze it uncooked because of the egg. Is that what you suggest? Or cook then freeze?


9 Julia November 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Yes you can freeze it. I am Greek and make my mom’s original moussaka with a dairy béchamel and I freeze the leftovers.


10 Amanda December 4, 2013 at 1:42 am

I LOVE moussaka, but recently found out I can’t do nightshades – what would be a good sub for eggplant? Zucchini? Sweet Potatoes?


11 Jill December 4, 2013 at 7:48 am

Hi Amanda,
I think zucchini.


12 Lucy December 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Hi, I made this today step by step, did a double batch thinking it would not last a day in my house but unfortunately it made my stomach turn after one bite and that usually does not happen very often. The consistency was slimy and mushy and sweet for some reason, I added no sugar mind you. I just wish I made one portion and not two, no one will eat it, waste of super expensive ingredients. Not sure what went wrong.


13 Jill December 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

HI Lucy,
Sorry to hear that you did not like the recipe. Is it possible you overcooked the eggplant? That would make it mushy — or if it was not fresh…


14 Meyega March 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Moussaka is a Greek dish not from Turkey . Thank you.


15 Linda Tenbrink March 31, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Hello ! – We follow your blog and are farmers in Suisun Valley, only 45 minutes away from San Francisco – We deliver fresh produce to many high-end restaurants in SF.
Which restaurant does your husband work at? Are you the one who did the paleo special event at RN74? -


16 Heather June 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm

This is SO good! My Mom made it for us one night and our 2 year old son loves it. He’ll seriously eat 2 bowls or more. Thanks for sharing, we make this regularly now.


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A lot of people will be enefited from your writing. Cheers!


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19 Maré October 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

So Stoked to make this.. got all the ingredients (had to make a 2nd trip to the store) prepared everything, made the béchamel.. got it in the oven- FORGOT TO ADD THE EGG! I’m hoping its going to turn out anyway… but now I’m in a panic I’ve just ruined dinner. LOL


20 Jennifer October 21, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Delish! I was a bit apprehensive about the béchamel sauce, as it got very “gluey”, but it turned out absolutely amazing! Thanks for a great recipe.


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