This easy moussaka combines eggplant and lamb for a low-carb take on the Greek classic dish.
This keto-friendly, low-carb dinner is proof that you can replicate anything without compromising on any flavor. Layered with slow-fried eggplant, sautéed lamb, and a yogurt and parmesan sauce, you’ll soon why this is one of our favorite keto eggplant recipes.
Moussaka is a Greek eggplant dish that is traditionally known to be an integral part of Ottoman cuisines. The word moussaka is derived from the Greek word mousakás, which translates into chilled, akin to the Arabic term, musaqa’ah or the Turkish word, mussaka. Moussaka is often confused with lasagna because it comprises layers of minced lamb as well. As with lasagna, it also contains tomatoes and cheese. Although this is the traditional way of preparing moussaka, different varieties do exist.
The dish continues to be adapted after having crossed the Greek borders, depending on. dietary preferences and the availability of ingredients.
For some, the substitutions depend on taste and perhaps allergies. You may have to exclude some of the ingredients in the traditional dish.
When it comes to taste, moussaka is a hearty meal with plenty of cheese flavors. The cheese makes the top crunchy, whereas the sauce brings all the flavors and ingredients together. It has an exotic edge over regular lasagna. The primary difference is that vegetables replace pasta in this meal. As such, it is a healthier version.
Some of the most popular variations are the Turkish and Greek variations that have garnered more attention than any other variation. The Turkish version of moussaka is similar to a casserole, as the eggplant is sauteed and always served at room temperature. The Arabic moussaka is eaten cold, while the Balkans version has to be served hot.
You can make turn this classic into a keto dinner recipe by replacing the potatoes for fried eggplant. Ensure that you remove anything carb-heavy from the recipe. Tweaking the sauce is another way of making it keto-friendly.
Lasagna vs. Moussaka: What’s the Difference?
First things first: moussaka has Greek origins while lasagna is Italian. This means the ingredients and flavors will lean towards the cuisine of the place of origin. Lasagna and moussaka are eerily similar in structure and ingredients. The major difference lies in the exclusion of pasta. Unlike keto moussaka, traditional moussaka may have potatoes in the mix. The exact differences depend on the type of moussaka you’re making.
How to store leftovers
Place the leftover moussaka in an airtight container in the fridge. This way, it will remain fresh for the next four days or so. The great thing about moussaka is that you can eat it while cold.
Can you freeze it?
Of course, you can. As with storing it in the fridge, place the leftover moussaka in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. This will keep it fresh for up to three months.
How to reheat leftovers
You do not need to serve moussaka piping hot. If it was placed in the freezer, you could leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day, heat it gradually in the microwave so that it reaches an almost warm temperature similar to room temperature.
Why is it important to salt the eggplant?
Salting is of utmost importance when you’re about to slice the eggplant. Salt is a drying agent. When salting the eggplant, you remove the excess water in the vegetable, which can ruin the entire dish.
Side Dish Ideas
Preparing a dinner gathering and need some ideas for what to serve with moussaka? Complete your platter with these delicious side dish ideas.
- Greek Salad. What better way to complement the hearty moussaka filling than with the sharp dressing on a feta and tomato salad? Proof that salad doesn’t have to be boring.
- Grilled Eggplant. Try this eggplant with coconut milk for a refreshing twist on the Mediterranean favorite. Taking only minutes to prepare, it’s the perfect fuss-free side for an oven-baked dinner.
- Tomatokeftedes. A classic Greek tomato fritter made with chopped cherry tomatoes, red onion, and feta cheese before being shallow fried to provide a light crispy coating.
Keto Eggplant Moussaka
- shallow rectangular 2-quart baking dish
- 2 large eggplants ends removed and sliced into long strips
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp dried cilantro
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup parmesan grated
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant strips and fry until softened and golden brown on both sides. You may need to do this in batches of 3-4 strips at a time.
- In a fresh pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground lamb and onion, and sautée until brown. 5-10 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, cilantro, oregano, cinnamon, and cumin. Stir in well and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
- Apply cooking spray to baking dish. Line the base of the dish with one layer of eggplant strips. Gently pour cooked lamb over eggplant, compressing and leveling with a spoon or spatula. Add another layer of eggplant strips over the meat.
- In a separate bowl, add eggs, Greek yogurt, kosher salt, and black pepper. Whisk until creamy. Pour over eggplant and sprinkle grated parmesan on top. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving