Moussaka beats a lasagne any day for me, and this gorgeous, lighter version from the Hairy Dieters is only 323 calories per portion. That’s based on using lean lamb mince though which you can pick up 500g packs containing 10% fat from Sainsbury’s, whereas most other supermarkets sell packs at 20% fat. Check the packaging before you buy (I’ve always wanted to say that).
The long list of ingredients may indicate that this recipe is tricky, but get everything out on the side before you start cooking and it’s relatively simple to make. But if you can, use a deeper, smaller dish as opposed to a larger, shallow dish so it’s easier to layer everything before you bake it in the oven.
Calories: 323 per portion
Book: Hairy Dieters – Eat for Life
Prep time: Approx 30 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 45 minutes
- 500g lean lamb mince
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1 ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon steak
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 100ml red wine
- 400ml lamb stock (made with one lamb stock cube)
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 medium courgettes (trimmed, halved lengthways and sliced)
- 2 medium aubergines (each about 275g)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500ml semi-skimmed milk
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 20g Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
Cost per portion: Approx £2.03
For the lamb mix: Put the lamb, onion, garlic, oregano, mint, bay leaves and cinnamon in a large non-stick saucepan or sauté pan and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
Stir in the flour and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, then add the wine, lamb stock, tomatoes and tomato purée. Bring everything to a simmer, then continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the courgettes and cook for a further 5 minutes until the lamb is tender and the sauce is thick. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Arrange the aubergine slices in a single layer on a large baking tray, brushing them on both sides with oil. Place the tray under the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook them on the other side for 5 minutes until they’re softened and lightly browned. Set the aubergines aside.
For the white sauce: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Just before the mince is ready, make the white sauce. Mix 4 tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour in a small bowl until smooth and put to one side. Pour the rest of the milk into a medium non-stick saucepan and add the bay leaves and half the grated nutmeg. Heat gently for 5 minutes until almost at a simmer, stirring regularly. Remove the bay leaves and whisk in the cornflour mixture, then cook for 3-4 minutes until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Spoon a third of the meat sauce into 6 individual ovenproof dishes, then add a layer of aubergines. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with the aubergines. Pour over the white sauce, making sure it covers in an even layer, then sprinkle with the reserved nutmeg and parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the moussakas are golden brown and bubbling.