Beef & Eggplant Lasagna
One of my favorite Greek dishes is Moussaka. I can eat it every day of the week and still not get sick of it. To make a paleo version, I took out the potatoes and replaced them with mushrooms. I also took out the flour in the top bechamel layer. It doesn’t taste exactly like Moussaka but it does serve as an awesome paleo meat lasagna. This recipe also includes cheese because I’m a lacto-paleo cavewoman. I love cheese way too much to take it out of my diet. My husband is 100% paleo now and I’ve made a version of this without cheese that was really delicious. To each caveman their own I say!
3 eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
8oz sliced mushrooms
1.5 pound lean ground beef
2 onions, chopped
14 oz grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
salt & pepper
For the faux ‘bechamel’ sauce on top
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lay the slices of eggplant on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside for 20 minutes to draw out the moisture. Then in a skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the eggplant until browned (about 3-5 minutes per side). My skillet is quite small so it took about 4 rounds of this for me to finish all of the eggplant. Once finished – set aside on paper towels to drain.
In a large skillet on high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and add the ground beef, salt and pepper to taste, onions, and garlic. After the beef is browned, sprinkle in the cinnamon, nutmeg and herbs. Pour in the tomato sauce and wine, and mix well. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, set aside in a large bowl to let the meat cool a bit. After 10-15 minutes stir in a beaten egg (I find this makes the lasagna less liquid-y).
While the beef is cooking, sautee your mushrooms until lightly browned (about 10 minutes) on medium heat with a little bit of olive oil. Constantly stir your mushrooms so they cook evenly. Set aside to cool.
To make the last layer of your lasagna, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or in a saucepan. Add roughly 2 oz of parmesan cheese, ground nutmeg and beaten egg. Set mixture aside.
Now we’re ready to do the layering! Grease a 9×12 inch baking dish and layer the bottom of the pan with the cooked eggplant. You’ll find that the eggplant will be a bit soft and difficult to layer. But that’s ok – it’s not going to win America’s Next Top Model. Just treat the eggplant like a lady – nice and delicate.
Then spoon in the meat mixture to completely cover the eggplant. Then add 7 oz of grated cheese and then the sautéed mushrooms. Repeat again with another layer of eggplant, meat, mushroom layers and cheese as your top layer. I was only able to do 2 layers of each with these ingredients. It seemed to work perfectly in a 9×12 pan.
Once you’re done with all of the layering, spread the béchamel sauce on top (use a spoon to evenly pour it on the lasagna). Now you’re ready to bake! Bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes. If you serve it immediately it will be quite liquid-y. But if you let it cool for 15-20 minutes, it should set nicely and be a bit more dry. I still have to take some paper towels to reduce the oily-top. This recipe is a lot of hard work but I promise it’s worth it. My husband absolutely loved it. Serve and enjoy!