I’m sure I’m not the only person this happens to, but sometimes I just get an ingredient stuck in my head and I must cook with it. In this particular case it was two ingredients: lamb and eggplant. I considered reinventing the wheel and trying my hand at a pasta-free, eggplant-based lamb lasagna, but it seemed disrespectful. Why mess with perfection? Why mess with moussaka? I did mess with it a little, but only so my husband could partake, and now I’m able to share with you gluten, egg and dairy-free moussaka.
When you’re making moussaka, you’re going to have a lot going on. My advice: don’t be like me. Read these steps thoroughly and plan well. I’ve laid the steps out below in the order that seems easiest to me, but in a nutshell:
- Give yourself the hour needed to salt the eggplant
- Then boil and cool the potatoes
- Then bake the eggplant
- Then chop veggies and make the meat sauce
- Then give your full attention to the béchamel
- Then identify a baking pan of correct size (I bought that lesson for you)
- Then assemble and bake
Still up for it?
Here’s what you’ll need for egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free moussaka:
For the veggies and meat sauce:
2 medium eggplants
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (optional)
1 cup gluten-free flour, such as brown rice flour or chickpea flour (optional)
1 lb red potatoes
2 lbs ground lamb
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 TBSP tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Béchamel Sauce:
2 TBSP gluten-free flour
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk, room temperature
Pinch of nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup lactose-free cheese (optional)
Partially peel the eggplant, leaving ½-inch strips of skin in place.
Cut into ½-inch slices and place in a colander. Salt liberally with kosher salt. Place a plate on top of the slices to press excess water out. Leave for at least one hour. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
Peel potatoes and boil until they are just fork tender, but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Now, here’s where you have an option with the eggplant. You can bread and bake them. Or, you can just place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
I lean toward the second choice. But, if you choose the first, get two bowls (one for milk and one for flour) and a large platter. Dip the eggplant slices one at a time in the milk, then the flour—making sure each slice is evenly coated.
Place in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove and set aside.
Once potatoes are cool, cut into ½ inch slices. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add onion. When translucent, add garlic and lamb. Cook until lamb is browned. Add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add cinnamon, allspice, tomatoes and paste. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until sauce is thick and chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
You gotta make a roux. Place olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk non-stop for 2 minutes. Slowly add room-temperature milk and continue whisking for at least 3 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and nutmeg. If you wish, you can add some lactose-free cheese, but I don’t think it’s needed.
Lightly grease a deep baking pan. Line the bottom with the potato slices. Top the potatoes with half of the eggplant slices. Ladle 75% of the meat sauce over the eggplant. Add the second layer of eggplant.
Add remaining meat sauce. Pour béchamel over the top of it all.
Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
This is a classic Greek dish, which is probably why it makes so much. I highly recommend this for feeding a crowd. It’s delicious, pretty healthy, and hearty enough that no sides are required, outside of maybe a salad, and of course, wine.