In my mind, Moussaka comes in two different options: you get the milder but heavy on the spices options (with more cinnamon and nutmeg) or you get the richer, tomato versions. Like a true Mediterranean, I’ve always been partial to the tomato versions (because life is better with high quantities of tomato and cheese). I recently decided to make Moussaka for Easter Sunday lunch, and using this recipe for inspiration, I managed to get to a banting-friendly, very rich version which went down well all around. Rich cheese scone mix can be used instead of the cauliflower topping if you aren’t banting, though I like doing it this way anyway as it is a good way to add an extra vegetable to my meal.
Note, for this recipe you need quite a bit of time, and preferably a helper because there are a lot of steps and huge quantities of
fun mess. My version of the recipe ends up with a very strong tomato flavour – if you think you might find it over powering then taste the meat before adding the tomato paste.
- 4 medium or 3 large eggplant (brinjal/aubergine), sliced
- spray on olive oil
- olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 very ripe tomatos
- 1/2 cup lentils (not for banting version)
- 1 kg mince
- 1 sachet Ina Paarman Beefstock
- 1 tablespoon Ina Paarman Meat Spice
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 tin tomato puree
- 1 70gr tin tomato paste (add less if you want a milder tomato taste)
- 1 tablespoon dried oreganum
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 heads of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- about 100gr of cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
Firstly, put the lentils on to boil. While this is going, arrange the eggplant slices on a few lightly oiled trays, drizzle or spray with olive oil sprinkle salt on top. The original recipe says to let the slices sit before baking but I found this step unnecessary. Bake in a 200°C oven for about 30-40 minutes.
Fry onions and garlic in olive oil until brown on the edges. Add mince, breaking it up into small pieces as you go. Once the meat is brown, add all other ingredients (including cooked lentils) and cook over medium heat. The meat sauce should be quite firm – let it simmer until most of the water has boiled away.
While the meat sauce is simmering, cook the cauliflower. You can do this whatever way you prefer, but the important thing is to drain it properly, and then press the pieces between two sheets of paper towel to get rid of as much excess water as possible. Blend the cauliflower with a blender stick and when smooth, add butter, mustard and cheese.
Once eggplant is cooked, layer half of it along the bottom of a casserole dish. Add meat sauce, flowed by the rest of the eggplant. Finally, top with the cauliflower mix. Sprinkle more cheese and a bit of paprika on top if you really want it to look pretty. Bake in oven pre-heated to 200°C (if you time things well you can just keep the oven going from when you cooked the eggplant before). This also works well if you assemble everything the day before and just bake it on the day.