This is a recipe on loan from our book that I wrote with my husband @grassfedchef. We put a Paleo spin on all his Mediterranean Paleo Recipes he grew up with. After I got hashimotos in 2010 he adapted his recipes to be gluten free to help me heal and along the way he found he felt better too. If you like this recipe I know you will love our 432 page book fill of beautiful photos of every recipe and you will feel the love that comes from his family friendly cooking. Get our printed book on Amazon here.
Eggplant Moussaka Recipe (Autoimmune Paleo Variation)
prep time: 15 minutes | cook time: 60 minutes | serves: 4
Moussaka, a traditional dish of baked lamb and eggplant topped with a béchamel sauce made with cheese and wheat flour, is common throughout the Balkans and Middle East. We wanted to make a dairy-free Paleo version that could be enjoyed by low-carb dieters and SCD/GAPS followers and that would even fit the autoimmune protocol with just a few minor adjustments.
1 medium white onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound ground lamb or beef
fine sea salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 large eggplant
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 (13 1/2-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, divided
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 large egg, beaten
When making a white sauce, be sure to dissolve the thickener in liquid away from heat before adding it to the pan. Otherwise, it will clump and not have the desired smooth texture.
The skin of an eggplant (or aubergine, as it is called in Algeria) contains important phytonutrients that act as antioxidants. Although eggplants are beneficial for most people, they do belong to the nightshades family, which can cause sore joints, skin irritation, and other problems in people who are sensitive to them.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground meat, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the cinnamon to the pan. Break up the meat with a spatula while continuing to cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste with 1 cup of water and mix well. Add the diluted tomato paste to the meat mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer the meat sauce mixture to a large bowl and set aside. (Do not clean the skillet; you will use it shortly.)
Chop the eggplant into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skin intact. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the eggplant. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of fat in the same skillet you used to cook the meat and sauté the eggplant over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it is barely softened. Transfer the eggplant to the prepared baking dish. (Reserve the skillet for later use.)
Pour the meat sauce mixture evenly over the eggplant and sprinkle on the parsley.
For the white sauce: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, the arrowroot flour, and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir well. Warm up the same skillet over medium heat and pour in the remaining coconut milk. When the coconut milk starts to bubble, stir in the arrowroot mixture. Stir the white sauce continuously until it begins to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. When it bubbles, remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the egg until smooth and thick.
Pour the white sauce evenly over the meat and eggplant in the baking dish. Bake the casserole for 40 minutes. Turn the oven to broil for 3 to 5 minutes to get a nice golden brown color on the top.
Remove the moussaka from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting into portions and serving.
Variations for special diets:
|low fodmap||Use 2 cups chopped tomatoes, drained, in place of the paste and omit the water. Omit the onion and garlic. Use garlic-infused olive oil as the cooking fat.|
|AIP-friendly||Use 4 medium zucchini in place of the eggplant and 1 cup canned pumpkin in place of the tomato paste and omit the water. For the white sauce, mix 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, 1/4 cup arrowroot flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken. Follow the rest of directions as listed, resuming with Step 8.|
|SCD/GAPS||For the white sauce, omit the arrowroot flour. In the same skillet used in Step 7, mix 2 tablespoons coconut flour with 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk over medium heat until it bubbles. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 2 eggs. Follow the rest of directions as listed, resuming with Step 8.|
|lower carb||Use the SCD/GAPS version.|
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