In this easy moussaka recipe, cinnamon-spiced beef mingles with tender aubergine slices, a creamy cauliflower bechamel sauce and a delightful parmesan cheese crust. A healthy twist on the famous Greek Beef and Eggplant Casserole.
Creating this easy moussaka recipe has been on my "to-do" list for ages and a few weeks ago, I finally decided it was time to tackle the famous Greek Beef and Eggplant Casserole.
I did some research to find the best moussaka recipes and..I was kind of shocked! I knew moussaka was a traditional Greek casserole made with eggplant and ground lamb or beef but what I didn't know was that this somehow healthy (or so I thought!) casserole was topped with a fatty béchamel aka white sauce.
Not to mention that in the traditional recipe, the eggplant is also fried. Well...thanks but no thanks!
I still really wanted to eat moussaka so I racked my brains to come up with a healthy, easy moussaka recipe. I don't want to toot my own horn but I'm pretty excited about what I've come up with!
The fried eggplant issue was easily solved by baking the eggplant slices instead of frying it. Subbing the dairy-loaded, fatty bechamel sauce wasn't as straightforward. I've been seeing food geniuses doing amazing things with cauliflower – like Sonia's grain-free focaccia or her dairy-free cheesecake (yep, you read that right) so I knew I had to lean towards this magical vegetable.
I finally settled for a creamy cauliflower bechamel sauce adapted from Lindsay's recipe and it was perfect for this healthy, easy moussaka recipe!
If you think cauliflower should have nothing to do with moussaka, I totally agree with you but the great news is that you can barely taste it. It's really just a delicious and creamy bechamel sauce and all you can taste is the parmesan, with a hint of garlic.
Fewer calories, fat and carbs; more veggies and more taste => this light and easy moussaka recipe with cauliflower bechamel sauce is a winner!
PS: I just emailed Solal to ask him if he noticed the cauliflower in the moussaka he had been eating all week and he said... "what cauliflower?" You can definitely trick your picky eaters with this one!
If you tried this easy moussaka recipe with cauliflower bechamel sauce, don’t forget to rate the recipe below and let me know how it went in the comments – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!
Skinny Moussaka with Cauliflower Bechamel Sauce ( Delicious Beef and Eggplant Casserole)
In my light version of the famous Greek Beef and Eggplant Casserole, cinnamon-spiced beef mingles with tenderly baked aubergines, a delicious creamy cauliflower bechamel sauce and a parmesan cheese crust. This healthy easy moussaka recipe will become a family favourite in no time!
For Moussaka filling and eggplants:
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef 500 g , 5% fat
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove peeled and minced
- ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes 2 x 400 g cans (14 oz cans)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 medium eggplants
For the cauliflower sauce
- 3 large garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 cups cauliflower florets about one small cauliflower or half a medium one
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup parmesan shredded (divided)
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
For the filling:
Place beef in a medium saucepan over medium heat, break it into small chunks and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Drain liquid and transfer to a bowl.
Add onion and garlic to the same saucepan and season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice. Mix and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add ground beef back to the pan along with crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil on high heat then reduce to low and simmer uncovered for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
While beef is cooking, prepare eggplants. Remove eggplants' ends and slice them thinly.
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and place 12 eggplant slices on it. You may need to use two baking sheets or bake them in two batches depending on the size of your oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool.
For the cauliflower sauce:
Melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and cook garlic until fragrant but not browned (or it will be bitter). Turn off the heat and set aside.
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized pot, add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 6 minutes. Do not drain. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower into your blender or food processor. Add ½ cup cooking liquid, cooked garlic with butter, ½ cup parmesan and pepper. Pulse until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Set aside.
Place half of the eggplant on the bottom of a large baking dish, cover with half of the beef mixture. Place another layer of eggplant, then the remaining beef mixture on top.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the cauliflower sauce evenly and top with ½ cup parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Cauliflower sauce adapted from Pinch of Yum