The traditional Greek Mousaka is, by far, our most popular comfort food. The vegetables – potatoes, aubergines and zucchini – are fried, ground beef is used for the meat mixture and béchamel consists of full fat milk. Alkis and I aren't fussy eaters, but we are passionate lovers of healthy eating – not dieting!!! And we both love mousaka. So, I've come up with the following recipe based on our traditional mousaka but in its healthier version. I haven't used potatoes and I have baked the vegetables drizzled with olive oil. I have also used pork fillet for the filling and semi-skimmed milk for the béchamel. And this lighter and healthier version of the traditional Greek mousaka is delicious!
For the vegetables
4 aubergines sliced into 1cm thick lengthways slices
4 zucchini sliced into 1cm thick lengthways slices
3 tbsp olive oil + some extra for brushing baking pan
2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
For the meat
750 g minced pork fillet (ask your butcher to remove the visible fat and mince the meat twice)
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tbsp olive oil + extra for brushing
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
100 ml white wine
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
For the béchamel
750 ml l semi-skimmed milk
100 g all-purpose flour
100 g butter
1 egg (optional)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground pepper
100 g grated parmesan + some extra
1. Heat oven to 200 C/fan and drizzle the vegetables with 2 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle some oregano and add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Brush 2 large baking sheets with the remaining olive oil and lay the vegetables. Bake for 20-25 minutes until soft, then set aside.
3. In a large pan heat 4tbsp olive oil, add the onion and garlic and stir them round until soft and translucent but not browning.
4. Mix in the cinnamon and the nutmeg.
5. Add the ground pork fillet. Cook and stir over a high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Pour in the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes and then stir in the sugar and the tomato purée dissolved in a cup of hot water.
7. Cook with the lid on over a low heat until all the liquids have evaporated. Season to taste, stir in the parsley and set asidet. The mixture should be quite dry. If necessary, drain and allow to cool for a few minutes.
8. Brush an ovenproof dish with some olive oil. Spread a thin layer of the ground meat mixture at the bottom of the dish.
9. Lay some of the aubergine and zucchini slices on top and then spread another layer of the meat.
10. Add the remaining slices of the vegetables and spoon the rest of the meat on top.
11. Prepare the béchamel: Place a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. When the butter starts to melt stir in the flour and whisk. Add the milk slowly and in batches so that no lumps form in the mixture. Whisk continuously during this process until you get a smooth, creamy mixture. Add an egg, if you wish, and whisk to combine. Stir in the ground pepper,the ground nutmeg and the grated parmesan. Remove from heat.
12. Spread the béchamel over the meat and use a spatula to smooth the top. Sprinkle some grated parmesan. Lower the oven to 180C/fan and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.
13. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
14. Cut in squares, serve with a traditional Greek salad and enjoy.
Greek Village Salad
4 tomatoes, chopped or sliced
4 cucumbers, sliced
6 – 8 Greek olives (Kalamata olives)
1 medium-sized onion, sliced in rings
100 g feta cheese
2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
Mix all the vegetables, the olives and the feta cheese in a large bowl. Season to taste and stir in the olive oil and the vinegar. In Cyprus, we also add some lettuce and fresh coriander, coarsely chopped.