What’s Inside: Paleo Greek Casserole (Moussaka) that tastes like the real deal except the bechamel sauce is dairy-free and it’s naturally gluten-free and grain-free! It’s a reader favorite that you’ll soon love too. It’s Paleo and Whole30-friendly.
This paleo moussaka recipe (think: Greek casserole) will be your new FAVE (especially around summertime). Using up amazing seasonal produce like eggplant and tomatoes, it’s bursting with flavor and great for meal prep!
Greek Moussaka is already gluten-free since, in place of any noodles, this is stacked with layers of delish eggplant slices. The only real change here is removing the dairy from the traditional cheesy bechamel sauce on top. Luckily, I have my handy dandy dairy-free bechamel sauce made with coconut cream and cauliflower that works and tastes perfectly in here. My Greek husband gave it two thumbs up with a very full mouth – so it’s passed all the tests.
Are you a cheese-lover who needs to cut back on dairy? Welcome! Be sure to check out this list of my best dairy-free cheese sauces for more variations.
Eggplant moussaka is the ultimate comfort food and the gift that keeps on giving (like all casseroles lol) as it sits and you keep re-heating to eat!
Ingredients needed for Paleo Moussaka
Dried seasonings: oregano, cinnamon, paprika, and salt
Eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Extra-virgin olive oil
Grass-fed ground lamb (or other ground meat if preferred, but lamb or beef is recommended and traditional)
Dry white wine or bone broth
Aromatics and herbs: onion, garlic, and chopped fresh mint
Fresh vine tomatoes, peeled and chopped
For the dairy-free cauliflower bechamel sauce… you’ll just need cauliflower, coconut cream, nutritional yeast, arrowroot flour, lemon juice, and salt.
If you have nightshade aversions but still are craving something like this, don’t miss my Paleo Pastitsio which is AIP!
Pre-heat oven to 400f degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice eggplant in ¼ inch slices and coat with a bit of olive oil and season with sea salt on the baking sheet. Bake in a single layer (slices can touch each other a bit for more room) and roast for approx. 30 mins. until cooked and golden, flipping half-way.
Meanwhile, add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the ground lamb, seasoning with the salt, paprika, and cinnamon and breaking up with a wooden spoon until browned on all sides and liquid from the meat is evaporating, approx. 10 mins or so. Remove meat from the pan and set aside, leaving fat/oil in the pan (or adding more if needed).
Next, add the chopped onion and mint, continue to saute while seasoning with salt until translucent, approx. 5-8 mins. Add garlic last (be careful not to burn it) for a few minutes. Then add in the tomato paste, stir around the veggies and lastly add your wine or bone broth, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. Add lamb back in, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is evaporated and mixture looks like a thick meat sauce, 5–7 minutes. Set aside and make the bechamel sauce.
Dairy-free Cauliflower Bechamel Sauce
In a pot, steam cauliflower florets with boiling water until it’s tender when pricked with a fork (approx. 8 mins.).
Meanwhile, add coconut CREAM (not milk), nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to a high-speed blender.
Separately, take 1/2 cup of water and add arrowroot flour to it. Stir it around to create a slurry. It will thicken slightly in the cup, make sure it’s stirred well with no clumps at the bottom. Once that’s mixed well, pour HALF into the blender. Save the other half in case you need it (depending on how large your baking dish is, you might want more liquid).
When cauliflower is ready, add it to the blender, season with salt. Blend everything for a minute or so, until a thick sauce has formed.
Grease an 8×8 baking pan with olive oil. Layer half of eggplant in pan, covering the bottom entirely. Spread half of lamb mixture over eggplant in an even layer. Repeat with remaining eggplant and lamb to make another layer of each. Top with cauliflower béchamel and smooth surface.
Bake moussaka on a middle rackin the oven until bubbling and béchamel are browned in spots, 30–45 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving. Serve or store in the fridge or freezer.