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!
- 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil (where to buy coconut products) (how to make ghee)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Sea salt and pepper to taste (where to buy)
- 1 lb ground (grass fed) beef or lamb (where to buy grassfed beef or lamb)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 6 oz organic tomato paste (where to buy)
- 1 cup water
- 1 large eggplant
- 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 13-15 oz can coconut milk (where to buy)
- 1/4 cup arrowroot flour (tapioca flour may also work) (where to buy)
- 1 egg, beaten
(always use organic ingredients whenever possible)
- Large fry pan (where to buy)
- 9 x 9 baking dish
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Melt the ghee over medium heat in frying pan.
- Next add the onion and garlic into the pan and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to the pan.
- Break up the meat with a spatula while continuing to cook until browned.
- Add the tomato paste and water to the meat mixture and stir until well combined.
- Transfer the meat sauce mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- Chop the eggplant (skin on) into bite sized pieces and place into the same frying pan over medium heat.
- Sprinkle some salt over the eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes until it is barely softened.
- Transfer the eggplant into a greased square 9X9 baking dish.
- Pour the meat sauce mixture evenly over top of the eggplant and sprinkle in the parsley.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the coconut milk into a small bowl then pour the rest into the frying pan, still over medium heat.
- Mix the arrowroot flour with the coconut milk in the bowl until smooth.
- When the frying pan filled with coconut milk starts to bubble, stir in the arrowroot mixture and a dash of salt and pepper.
- When the sauce thickens remove it from the heat and whisk in the egg until smooth.
- Pour the white sauce evenly over the meat and eggplant in the baking dish.
- Bake the casserole for 40 minutes, then broil for 3-5 minutes to get a nice color on the top.
- Remove the dish from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting.
- (This dish can be made ahead or frozen if needed)
- Slice and enjoy!
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.
About the author:
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.
Holistic Nutrition and Exercise Expert
San Francisco, CA