Turkish Moussaka is tasty but can be oily. If you’re trying to cut back the calories, try this version: ground meat and roasted aubergines and peppers in a delicious tomato sauce served with rice and seasonal salad…
The Ottoman dish of Moussaka is a classic. Chances are, if you are a regular visitor to Greece or Turkey, you may have tried it. Variations differ. Greek moussaka tends to be layered, almost like lasagna, then topped with potatoes, a creamy bechamel sauce, and grated cheese. Here in Turkey, the dish tends to be more rustic, simply fried aubergines, peppers and a simple tomato ragu sauce either cooked on the hob or baked and served with a good chunk of bread, a little salad, and rice.
The issue I have with the moussaka dished up by my mother in law or served in most lokantas (local restaurants), is that it’s oily. It may be extremely tasty, but it’s an indulgence. It’s calorific and certainly not Slimming World or healthy eating friendly. I can’t warrant serving that amount of oil to my family on a regular basis. So, not wanting to give up one of my favourite dishes, I decided to have a go at cutting back on the oil and calories without losing flavour – and it turned out well, even Unal and the boys went back for seconds!
If, like me, you want a healthier moussaka, have a go at this. I hope you won’t be disappointed 🙂
Moussaka Recipe (Less Oil)Print This
- 4 Aubergines
- 1 Large Onion (Diced)
- 2 Red Peppers (Deseeded and Sliced into big pieces)
- 400g Ground Beef (or lamb)
- 3 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
- A Few Cherry Tomatoes (to top)
- 1 Long Green Pepper (Deseeded and cut into long slices - to top)
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste (Salca)
- 1/2 Tablespoon Pepper Paste (Biber Salca)
- 1 Can chopped tomatoes (I used passata as kids don't like chunks!)
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano
- 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Fry Light Oil Spray (or 1 tablespoon olive oil)
Set oven to 180 degrees.
Prep the aubergines: Using a potato peeler, take off a strip of skin, end to end. Leave a gap, then repeat so you are left with stripy aubergines. Top and tail them then cut into 1cm thick rounds. To remove bitterness, pop all slices in a large bowl of salty water and let soak for 15 minutes. Rinse then dry thoroughly using a clean tea-towel or kitchen towel.
Bake the veggies: Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Give it a good spray with Fry Light, or use a little olive oil. Arrange the sliced aubergines and peppers on the sheet. Spray the tops and place in the preheated oven. Cook for around 15-20 minutes, turning slices over halfway. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. (Let the peppers get a few black edges as it adds to the flavour)
Make the sauce:
Fry off the ground meat until well cooked in a deep lidded pan over a medium/hot heat on the hob. Fry the meat before the onions as onions give off juice and you don’t want to steam the meat first (mother in laws tip!).
Add the chopped onions and continue to fry until they are translucent (about 5 minutes).
Throw in the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Fry for another couple of minutes.
Add the pepper and tomato paste and stir through until well combined.
Next comes the can of tomatoes or passata. (You could peel and grate 3 large tomatoes if you prefer). Mix well and add one cup of water.
Cover the pan and let it simmer away on a low heat for around 15 minutes (Do check it doesn’t boil dry, if it needs a little more water, add it).
Your roast aubergines and peppers should be ready by now. Spray a deep oven dish with Fry Light (or lightly oil it) and arrange a layer of aubergine on the bottom. Tip the remaining aubergine and peppers (they will be quite dry), into the ragu meat mix on the hob and stir through.
Tip the sauce on top of your aubergines in the dish. Arrange the raw, sliced green peppers on the top. Scatter across a few
cherry tomatoes. Spray the top of the peppers with a little oil spray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Serve with some Turkish rice, a seasonal salad, and some fresh bread.
Tried the recipe? Tweaked it and made it better? Do comment below and let me know.
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