Friday, April 5, 2013

Moussaka (Low Carb, Gluten-Free)

This is a low-carb dish that is impossible to screw up, and I have proof of its relentless perfection: I realized, in the midst of cooking, that I would not have enough eggplant for the two layers. The horror. But you know what--it still turned out delicious. A major part of its success was probably due to the Béchamel sauce's ability to mask any and all imperfections with its creamy, velvety goodness. In the end, the sparse eggplant slices peeking through the topping gave the moussaka a lovely, rustic look. 

I paired the dish with a filipino side called Laing, made with spinach, coconut milk, bacon, and curry powder. I will make a more detailed blog post about sometime in the near future. 

By the way this recipe serves 6, bringing it to about 4.5 grams of carbs per serving.

Ingredients for the filling 
  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 16 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 c- 1c Olive oil 
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c chicken or beef stock/broth
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, basil, parsley--or a mixture of all
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the low carb Béchamel sauce 
  • 1 c ricotta or cream cheese (or try a mixture of both!)
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat and fry the eggplant slices until they are brown on both sides. Set aside the browned eggplant slices. 
2. In the same preheated pan, brown the ground beef. Once the beef is cooked halfway, add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, minced garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, herbs, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. Place a separate pan on medium heat and melt in the ricotta cheese and mayonnaise. Scramble an egg in a small bowl. Take the pan off the heat and quickly whisk the egg  into the warm, melted cheese mixture. Place the pan back onto the heat and whisk in the almond milk. Salt and pepper the sauce. 
4. To assemble the moussaka, place half of the eggplant slices in a single layer on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Top the eggplant layer with all of the meat mixture. Cover the meat mixture with the remaining eggplant slices. Drape the Béchamel sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. 
5. Pop the moussaka into the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top has browned, and the edges are bubbling. 

Nutritional Info (for the entire casserole)
Calories: 3076 calories
Total fat: 246 grams 
Total carbs: 49 grams
Dietary fiber: 22 grams 
Net carbs (entire casserole): 27 grams
Protein: 167 grams


  1. Made this for dinner...DELICIOUS!!! I had no ricotta so rang my partner to bring some home. He remembered I wanted a white cheese so brought home cottage cheese. I mixed a cup of cottage cheese with 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan, dolloped/spread that over the to then sprinkled a good handful of grated cheddar over all. It made way too much for the two of us but that's a bonus as I now have a few lunches ready too :D Thanks for the recipe

  2. Wow. This was fantastic. Thank you so much!

  3. I ran these ingredients on fit day , which I do when I use new recipes and your calories and carbs are not correct. I used the leanest calories for the beef and I entered your exact recipe and it comes out to 3971 calories and 53.7 net carbs.

    1. I just ran the ingredients through My Fitness Pal again and I'm getting:

      3,033 Cal
      45 g carbs and 17 g fiber = 28 g net carbs

      Maybe the disparity has something to do with one of the ingredients we're using. Perhaps the tomato sauce?


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