Keto Eggplant Moussaka, Israeli Style Casserole
For the adventurous palate, this keto eggplant moussaka Israeli style casserole is a must try! With all the herbs and spices, the aroma fills the air with a cozy and soothing fall aroma. However, eggplant moussaka is eaten all year long in many Mediterranean cultures. One of my family members inhaled this keto eggplant moussaka and said, “it’s like having dinner and dessert all at the same time.” I thought this was hilarious at first, but in a way, it does have a ring of truth to it.
Years ago, I was planning a trip to Israel and made a list of low carb Israeli food to eat in Israel. Well, a few weeks ago I made the Israeli shakshouka eggs and enjoyed the little change from my typical Western breakfast. So, I decided to give this keto eggplant moussaka Israeli style dish a go last week. And it was definitely not a disappointment in my book. It was well-worth the effort for someone with an adventurous taste.
Moussaka is an eggplant or potato-based ground meat dish. It is popular in the Middle East, Balkan regions including Greece and Macedonia, and Eastern Mediterranean regions like Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey and other Levant countries in Asia. It is made with all kinds of local and regional variations that usually includes a ground meat – often lamb, beef or sometimes chicken. However, it is not uncommon for eggplant moussaka to be made into a vegetarian dish. This particular moussaka is made with ground beef and eggplant instead of potatoes to keep it keto, low carb and diabetic-friendly.
This keto eggplant moussaka recipe is made in basically 3 main parts. First, the flavor of sliced and perfectly roasted eggplant. Then, the flavorful tomato-based spiced meat sauce. And lastly, the fall smelling and tasting Bechamel sauce. This recipe does require a little work. So, here are a few tips to make things go more smoothly.
When slicing the eggplants, endeavor to keep them about the same thickness in order for them to cook evenly. While the eggplant is in the oven, start seasoning your ground meat with the fresh chopped parsley and onions. Then, add your dry herbs and spices including black pepper, cinnamon, sea salt, and garlic. Once the meat is completely cooked, I drained the excess oil while keeping all of the cooked herbs and onions in place. Once the meat is drained, add the tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes to the meat for simmering. Then, start on your bechamel sauce.
Most Israeli style moussaka recipes are made dairy-free. So, instead of adding a bechamel sauce, it is simply covered with a layer of tomato sauce. You can decide which one you want to use.
This wonderful smelling creamy white bechamel sauce is typically made with shredded parmesan cheese, milk, flour, and cornstarch. Since this is a keto eggplant moussaka, substitutes were required. Therefore, unsweetened almond milk, sour cream, unflavored gelatin and shredded parmesan cheese are used instead. The bechamel sauce is initially prepared in a saucepan on the stove. Then, the sauce is cooled for the final preparation of pouring over the top of the keto eggplant moussaka before baking. Remember that the egg is whisked in last, after the sauce has cooled. A keto bechamel sauce will be thin enough for you to pour over the casserole dish. Therefore, the sauce will likely run down the side of the meat as well. Once baked, you will enjoy this Israeli style eggplant moussaka all the more. So, let’s get started.
Keto Eggplant Moussaka – Israeli Style
Oven: 350 | Bake: 40 Min | Serves: 2- 4
Oven: 400 | Bake: 20 Min
- 9-12 Eggplant Slices
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- 1 lb. Ground Beef (or Lamb)
- 1/2 c. Chopped Yellow Onions
- 1/4 c. Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 2 tsp. Minced Garlic
- 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper Powder
- 1 14 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
- 1 tbsp. Salted Butter
- 3 tbsp. Light Sour Cream
- 1/4 c. Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tbsp. Unflavored Gelatin
- 1/8 tsp. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg Powder
- 1 Medium Egg (added after the sauce cools)
- Preheat Oven: 400 degrees (to roast the slices of eggplant)
- Place the parchment paper on a large cookie sheet in preparation for the eggplant.
- Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick pieces and place them on the parchment paper. The eggplant will shrink, so you will have about half the size you see once it has been roasted. So, you will need double of what it looks like you need to add 3 layers to your loaf pan. The eggplant I used was huge, so 2 slices covered the bottom of the loaf pan before roasting. Afterwards, it could use at least 3-4 pieces of eggplant on each layer.
- Lightly salt the eggplant slices on both sides and place them in the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
- MEAT SAUCE: Place the thawed ground beef in a large skillet and add your powdered herbs and spices along with the freshly chopped onions and parsley. Stir with a spatula, cover with a lid and then cook over medium heat.
- Stir the meat every 5 minutes are so until it is thoroughly cooked. Then, use a strainer to remove any excess oil from the meat.
- Add the canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste to the skillet with the ground beef. Stir and then reduce heat. Simmer for 5 -10 minutes. (Set a timer)
- It will likely be time to remove the eggplant from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- SAUCE: Use a small saucepan to bring unsweetened almond milk, sour cream, butter, and shredded parmesan cheese to a slight boil. Remove from heat and then stir in the unflavored gelatin, sea salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Keep stirring the sauce occasionally to keep things blended together until cool. Once the sauce is room temperature, you can slowly pour and whisk in the pre-whisked egg. Then, you will pour over the keto eggplant moussaka in preparation for baking. So, while cooling, start or finish layering your loaf pan.
- LAYERS: Eggplant goes on the bottom with a layer of the meat sauce on top. Next, add another layer of eggplant slices and cover with the remaining half of the cooked meat sauce. Top with a third and final layer of eggplant slices and then pour the bechamel sauce over the top. Place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. I placed mine on a cookie sheet in case it bubbled over.
- Once the sauce cooks and turns a golden brown on top, remove from the oven. Allow this keto eggplant moussaka to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
I hope you enjoy making and trying this Israeli recipe. If you enjoy this one, you may enjoy more Israeli Food recipes prepared by authentic Israeli cooks. Please like share, subscribe, and follow the blog below. I am looking forward to making this keto eggplant moussaka Israeli style casserole again.