To help you make gains without blasting through your calorie budget, we created another healthy, protein rich version of a widely known comfort food. One of our clients (and a good friend) inspired us to give moussaka a try. We are very proud of the result, so give it a try, I am sure you will like it!
Proper moussaka is delicious. Fatty, heavy, comforting, rich with typical Greek flavours, it is the epitome of comfort food. A layer of potatoes, deep fried aubergine and juicy minced meat, smothered with bechamele and feta. I think there is nobody questioning its deliciousness, but it is a nightmare to fit into your calorie budget. Therefore we need to make some adjustments.
You can mince the chicken breast easily yourself in a food processor, or with a sharp knive and some patience. The chicken provides us with lots of protein and good, hearty umami flavour without adding fat. This allows us to keep eggs and feta cheese in.
Probably you could make a traditional bechamele sauce as a topping, but we wanted to try this curd and egg version. It isn’t as creamy as bechamele, but still works wonderfully and makes this recipe extremely macro friendly, easily fitting even in the tightest calorie budget.
This recipe has a unique flow to it, as I tried to make it as simple as possible. And to reduce washing up as much as possible (I hate it). So read the recipe carefully before you start, as some things might be surprising to you. If you want to, you can prepare the ragu a few days in advance. Just store it in the fridge until you need it, reheating it will make it only better.
For the ragu:
- 1kg Chicken breast (minced if possible)
- 1l Passata
- 500g Minced beef
- 250g Red lentils
- 30g Olive oil
- 175g Tomato paste
- 400g Onions
- Oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper
- 1kg Aubergines
- 1,5kg potatoes
- 20g Olive oil
- Salt, pepper a few cloves of garlic and rosemary
For the topping:
- 3 Eggs
- 400 Low-fat feta
- 500g Low-fat curd
- Salt, pepper, some oregano to sprinkle on top and a little grated nutmeg
For the ragu:
- Preheat your oven to 160°C. Peel and finely chop the onions. Saute them in a large roasting pan in the olive oil until starting to take some colour.
- Add the minced beef and slowly fry it until golden. Meanwhile mince the chicken breast (if necessary). Add the chicken to the pan, stir, break up any lumps that form and fry until the chicken starts to take some colour. Season with salt, pepper, oregano (be generous) and a little bit of cinnamon.
- Stir in the tomato paste and saute for two minutes. Add the passata, red lentils and enough water for a nice “saucey” texture. Cover tightly and let cook in the oven, about 1-2 hours until the lentils are completely tender and you are happy with flavour and texture.
For the other layers:
- While the ragu is cooking, prepare the other components. Remove the stalks of the aubergines and quarter them length-wise. Put them in a large bowl, cover tightly and microwave until completely tender.
- Get another roasting pan (or translocate the ragu somewhere else). Cut the poatatoes into small pieces. Add the garlic cloves, you don’t have to peel them, just give them a smack with your fist or a knive. Season with the olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.
- When you remove the ragu from the oven, turn up the heat to 230°C and roast the potatoes for about 50 minutes or until they are golden. Remove from the oven.
- While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the topping. Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Make sure you break up the feta into rather large crumbles or otherwise it will dissolve completely (not the worst).
Bringing it together:
- Preheat your oven to 200°C. Get the roasting pan with the roasted potatoes. This is already your first layer. Adjust the texture of your ragu (if needed) and season to taste. Spoon the ragu over the potatoes.
- Spread the steamed aubergines over the ragu and season with a little salt.
- Spoon the sauce over the aubergines, sprinkle some oregano over it and bake for ~40 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
This recipe makes 12 portions, each having the following macros:
- 52,6g Protein
- 42g Carbs
- 17g Fat
Yes, this recipe is quite a little bit of work to prepare. But it will yield you a big batch of delicious food with lots of leftovers for the whole week. It is also a complete meal with generous amounts of protein and veggies, so you don’t have to prepare any sides if you don’t want to. See it as an investment you make now to save time the rest of the week. It will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days and freezes nicely if you think you won’t be able to finish it in time.
2 thoughts on “Muscle Moussaka”
Finally bubbling in the oven – yeah that was quite a lot of work to do – but I’m totally looking forward to having it for lunch at work AND the envy of my colleages 😉
Thanks for the idea of cooking the ragu in the oven! I could easily forget it there for ~90min without having to stir every 10 minutes or else ending up with coal. Plus I like the added red lentils.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I am so happy it worked out for you :D! It is a great way to meal prep, isn’t it?