This is an old recipe I’m pulling from the archives because the pictures needed a serious update. I pulled this recipe out of a magazine years ago because of my husbands love for eggplant and anything in the form of a casserole.
Moussaka is a classic Greek dish that consist of layers of eggplant, ground meat in a tomato sauce and topped with a creamy white sauce, known as bechamel sauce. I wouldn’t call this recipe authentic as several steps were taken to lighten up this rich casserole so if you are familiar with the traditional taste of Moussaka I must warn you this recipe will be a bit different. However, it is still very good with the different layers of delicious taste and textures ??
A bottom layer of baked eggplant and zucchini slices give this dish a hefty dose of vegetables. I have used a variety of ground meat from turkey to organic beef for the tomato sauce mixture. In place of the creamy white sauce low-fat cottage cheese is used for less calories and extra protein. There really is no right or wrong way when it comes to making moussaka and a variety of vegetables, meats and even spices are used in this Greek inspired dish.
This recipe is fairly easy to make but it does take a bit of time as you allow the eggplant to “sweat” by adding salt to the eggplant slices and letting it sit for 45 minutes or so to get out the bitter juices. It’s a hearty and filling dish that’s warm and satisfying and the ultimate comfort food for these cold winters nights.
- 2 eggplants sliced crosswise ¼" thick
- 4 zucchini sliced crosswise ¼" thick
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch scallions
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¾ pound organic ground beef
- 1- 15oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
- 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees . Grease 2 large baking sheets and set aside. Place the sliced eggplant and zucchini in two large bowls and season with salt; let stand for 40 minutes. Rinse the vegetables and pat dry. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared pans and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Roast until golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a 9-by-11-inch baking dish. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees .
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes; add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, for about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the meat sauce over the eggplant and zucchini. Top with half of the gruyere.
- Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the cottage cheese. Spoon the puree onto the moussaka, top with the remaining gruyere and bake for 17 minutes. Transfer to the broiler and cook for 3 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing.