Moussaka is one of my favourite dishes but my recipe has a twist. I’ve used courgettes instead of aubergines. As I’m also currently following the GAPS diet I have created this paleo moussaka that is both gluten free and dairy free.
I provide options if you are not following any of these diets.
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The story behind my gluten free paleo moussaka
When I was contacted by Expedia and challenged to create a Greek dish as part of their World on a Plate Challenge, I jumped at the chance.
Greece is one of my favourite holiday destinations and Mr M and I have explored several islands together. I even spent a week exploring the mainland, including Olympia, on my way to Egypt (don’t you just love a free stop-over?).
And what do I love the most about the place? Well, the food. But also the sunshine, the clear warm waters and the lovely people.
Anyway, given my current restricted GAPS/SCD diet (for my Irritable Bowel Syndrome) I decided that creating a moussaka that we could all eat would be rather wonderful.
I love moussaka and could eat it every day but most recipes are rather time consuming.
Now, I’m not sure if you’ve made moussaka before, but if you have you’ll know about the ‘faff’ with preparing the aubergine.
Well, on this warm afternoon I have good news for you.
I use courgettes rather than aubergines in my recipe.
Yes it probably can’t technically be called a moussaka but I don’t care. I like being a culinary rebel.
What is the topping made from?
Traditional moussaka has a topping made with an egg enriched white (bechamel) sauce. This of course contains both gluten (from the flour) and dairy (from the milk).
On the GAPS, SCD and Paleo diets no grains are allowed at all so I had to be creative.
Rather than using a bechamel sauce, I opted for my 24 hour fermented cream (you could use 24 hour fermented yoghurt and replace the cream with milk if you wanted a lower fat version). Into that I added an egg and some parmesan cheese. Once baked this forms the most delicious creamy, set layer on top of the rich tomato and vegetable sauce.
If you aren’t following the GAPS or SCD diet you could just buy a pot of Greek yoghurt and use that instead of the 24 hour fermented cream.
If you like a really thick topping then use double my quantities.
Of course this option isn’t dairy free and I wanted ‘Roo’ to enjoy the dish too. I therefore made a gluten free, dairy free moussaka by using a different topping.
How do you make a dairy free, gluten free bechamel sauce?
So the second option uses a gluten free and dairy free bechamel sauce for those of you who need it to be dairy-free.
If you don’t have any yoghurt in the fridge but you do have milk then you could use this version with cows milk too.
To make the gluten free bechamel you just need cornflour and dairy free milk of choice.
Place 2 tbsp of cornflour into a glass microwavable jug (or saucepan). Add 50ml dairy free milk (or dairy milk if you can have that) and mix until smooth. Then add the remaining 350ml milk.
Heat gently on the stove stirring with a whisk all the time. Alternatively place in the microwave for 1 minute at a time whisking and heating until thick.
You can either flavour the sauce with dairy free cheese or nutritional yeast. I prefer the latter because it’s more natural.
The red part of the sauce of naturally gluten free and dairy free so I didn’t have to make any amendments to the traditional moussaka there.
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Paleo Moussaka (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, GAPS, SCD)
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 large carrot - peeled and chopped
- 1 red pepper - chopped into small pieces
- 1 red onion - finely chopped
- 1 stick celery - finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped and crushed
- 400 g lamb mince - (grass-fed organic)
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 5 anchovy fillets - roughly chopped
- 2 courgettes - sliced thinly length-wise
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- Handful fresh mint leaves - chopped
- Handful fresh basil leaves - chopped
- Pinch sea or rock salt and pepper
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- 250 g 24 hour fermented yoghurt/cream or Greek yoghurt
- 1 medium egg - organic or free range
- Grate of nutmeg - optional
- Handful grated parmesan - optional
- 400 ml dairy-free milk
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 medium egg - free range or organic
- Grate of nutmeg - optional
- Handful dairy-free cheese - optional
- Place the carrot, pepper, onion and celery into a large pan along with enough water to cover. Place the lid on the pan and simmer for approx. 15 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. You may need to top up the water to prevent the vegetables from sticking or burning
- Once softened, add the garlic and mince to the pan and turn up the heat. Stir continually, breaking up the mince until the mince has browned
- Add the tomatoes, anchovy fillets, cinnamon, tomato puree, herbs and seasoning and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes
- Meanwhile, cut the courgettes into thin slices lengthwise and set aside
- To make your topping combine your yoghurt with your egg and added optional extras
- If making the dairy-free topping place the cornflour in a glass jug and add approx. 50ml milk. Mix to ensure there are no lumps then add the rest of the milk.
- Microwave on full power for 1 1/2 minutes, then mix well. Place back in the microwave for a further minute and mix well again. Repeat until the sauce has thickened
- Set aside to cool slightly before adding the remaining ingredients
- To assemble the moussaka place half the meat mixture on the bottom of a dish measuring approx. 20cm x 20cm and spread evenly.
- Top with slices of raw courgette, then repeat, finishing with slices of raw courgette
- Finally pour over your topping mixture and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees (180 fan, gas mark 6) for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden on top and firm to touch
I shared this with:
This looks great! I’m looking forward to trying it this week. One question though, where does the egg fit into the dairy free version of the topping? I see it in the ingredient list but not in the method. Thanks
Vicki Montague says
Hi Jenna, if you take a look at point 9 in the method you’ll see that you allow the dairy free white sauce to cool before adding all the other ingredients (including the egg). I hope that helps? Do let me know how you get on! Vicki
I love Moussaka but I’ve never actually made it. This looks great and I also like a goo non-faffing recipe! Looking forward to you hosting #freefromfridays next week x
Vicki Montague says
Let me know if you do make it…it really is easy! Looking foward to hosting this week too!
Kate - glutenfreealchemist says
The garden is just reaching the point of delivering more courgettes than we can possibly eat…. so any recipe which uses them creatively is good by me! And since I love moussaka too (and my daughter won’t eat aubergine, but will entertain the possibility of courgette crossing her lips) then this may well be on the menu sometime soon! Thanks for the share x
Vicki Montague says
I wish we had courgettes! Last year I grew them but this year I went on strike and haven’t grown anything. Now I am really regretting it!!!! Roo and Pickle had aubergine hence the courgette!! Let me know what you think if you make it…