13 net carbs

Moussaka

A delicious, low-carb take on the classic Greek dish, moussaka. Made with eggplant, ground turkey, and a creamy cheese sauce, it’s the perfect comfort food for those following a low-carb diet.

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Moussaka

Low-carb moussaka served on a white plate next to a green salad.

Low-Carb Moussaka

Total Diabetes Wellness
If you're following a low-carb diet but still crave the comforting flavors of traditional moussaka, this recipe is for you! Our version of the classic Greek dish is made with eggplant, ground turkey, and a delicious, creamy cheese sauce, all while keeping the carb count low. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this recipe is sure to please even the most die-hard moussaka fans. So, fire up your oven and let's get started on this delicious and healthy dish!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Lunch and Dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 servings
Net Carbs 13 g
*Net carbs are per serving

Ingredients
 

Eggplant & Meat Mixture

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound eggplant, chopped into 1/2” cubes (1cm cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 ½ pounds ground turkey, or another ground meat
  • ½ cup tomato sauce

Cheese Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons cream cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded gouda cheese

Instructions
 

Eggplant & Meat Mixture

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/170C.
    Close-up view of temperature knob on an oven, preheat oven to cook a meal.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped eggplant and cook for 3-5 minutes until the eggplant starts to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
    Top view of skillet cooking chopped eggplant.
  • Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes until the onions soften. Season with dried oregano, cinnamon, and paprika. Mix well.
    Top view of skillet cooking chopped eggplant, onions, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Add ground turkey (or ground meat of choice) and cook until browned through. Use a wooden spatula to break up large chunks. *If your meat releases a lot of grease, you may want to drain the grease.
    Top view of skillet cooking moussaka filling, ground turkey, eggplant, onions, and spices.
  • Add tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes.
    Top view of cooking moussaka in a skillet.
  • Transfer mixture to baking dish.

Cheese Sauce

  • In a small saucepan, add cream cheese, heavy cream, garlic, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup of gouda cheese. Stir often for 3-5 minutes until the cheese sauce thickens.
    Top view of small saucepan cooking cheese sauce for moussaka.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the eggplant and meat mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup of gouda cheese.
    Top view of assembled low-carb moussaka, ready to be baked in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.
    Low-carb moussaka in a white square casserole dish.

Video

Nutrition

 

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Keywords greek moussaka, low-carb greek moussaka, low-carb moussaka
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Photos of Low-Carb Moussaka

Notes

Recipe Variations

  • Meat substitutions – You can use any ground meat for this recipe. Traditional Greek moussaka is usually made with ground lamb. If you choose a fattier cut of meat, we recommend draining some of the grease after the meat is browned so that your finished dish isn’t too greasy.
  • Vegetable substitutions – Zucchini makes a good substitution for eggplant. We recommend chopping the zucchini into cubes, salting the zucchini, and then letting it sit in a colander for 15-20 minutes to allow some of the water to release.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this moussaka with layers?

Traditional moussaka is typically made with the eggplant cut into rounds, then fried in oil, and assembled into several layers with meat sauce in between. You can certainly make your low-carb moussaka this way! Simply cook the eggplant first, and once cooked, remove it from your skillet. Cook the rest of the meat ingredients together, and then assemble the moussaka in layers.

Is this low-carb moussaka recipe Keto?

No, with 13 grams of net carbs, this recipe is not Keto. On a Keto diet you want your daily net carb count to be 20 grams or less, so using 13 grams in one meal wouldn’t leave many options for your other meals.

Is this moussaka gluten-free?

Yes! This moussaka recipe is gluten-free.

Storage and Reheating Guidelines

  • Make-ahead: You can make moussaka 1-2 days ahead and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. When ready to eat, bake in the oven until warmed through and the cheese on the top is golden.
  • Storing leftovers: Leftover moussaka should be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container and will be good for 3-5 days.
  • Freezing instructions: Make sure the moussaka is completely cooled before freezing. You can either freeze the entire dish or freeze individual portions for easier reheating. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • To reheat: Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave.

Additional Details

Moussaka, a classic Mediterranean dish, is a comforting casserole that combines layers of eggplant, meat, and a rich tomato sauce. Traditionally, this dish is high in carbohydrates, which can pose challenges for individuals with diabetes. However, fear not! With a few simple tweaks, you can enjoy a low-carb moussaka that is equally satisfying and diabetes-friendly.

Moussaka originated in the Balkan region and has become popular throughout the Mediterranean. This hearty dish traditionally features layers of sliced eggplant, minced meat (usually lamb or beef), tomatoes, and a creamy béchamel sauce. While moussaka is undeniably delicious, the high carb content from the potatoes and béchamel sauce can be problematic for individuals with diabetes. But worry not, we have a low-carb version that retains all the wonderful flavors of the original recipe.

Moussaka Ingredients

  • Eggplant: Eggplant serves as the star of this dish, providing a tender and flavorful base for the moussaka layers. It’s low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it an excellent choice for those with diabetes.
  • Ground Meat: Opt for lean ground meat like beef or lamb. It adds a savory component and provides protein, which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce brings a tangy and robust flavor to the moussaka. Tomatoes are low in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins A and C, making them a beneficial addition to a diabetic-friendly diet.
  • Spices: A combination of spices such as oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg adds depth and complexity to the dish. These spices not only enhance the flavor but also offer potential health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of cheese on top adds a creamy, indulgent touch to the moussaka.

Preparation Tips

  • Slicing the Eggplant: Slice the eggplant into even rounds, about 1/4-inch thick, for consistent cooking. Sprinkle the slices with salt and let them sit for 10-15 minutes to draw out any excess moisture before cooking.
  • Baking or Grilling the Eggplant: Instead of frying the eggplant slices, bake or grill them for a healthier alternative. This method reduces the amount of oil used while still achieving a tender texture.
  • Drain Excess Fat: After browning the ground meat, drain any excess fat to reduce the overall fat content of the dish. This step is particularly important for individuals with diabetes to help control their saturated fat intake.

Moussaka Variations and Serving Suggestions

  • Vegetable Moussaka: For a vegetarian option, replace the ground meat with a medley of sautéed vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers. Layer them with the eggplant and tomato sauce for a delightful meatless version.
  • Greek Yogurt Topping: Swap the traditional béchamel sauce with a layer of Greek yogurt mixed with grated cheese. This alternative provides a tangy and creamy topping while keeping the dish lower in carbs and saturated fat.
  • Side Salad: Serve your moussaka with a side salad of fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette. The refreshing salad complements the richness of the moussaka and adds a dose of fiber and vitamins to your meal.

Benefits for People with Diabetes

This low-carb moussaka recipe offers several benefits for individuals with diabetes. By reducing the carb content and incorporating lean meat and fiber-rich vegetables, this dish helps to manage blood sugar levels. The fiber from the eggplant aids in digestion and slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Additionally, the balanced protein-to-carb ratio in this recipe promotes satiety and helps to prevent blood sugar spikes after the meal.

With this low-carb moussaka recipe, you can enjoy a diabetic-friendly twist on a beloved classic. By making simple substitutions and adjustments, you can savor all the flavors and textures of traditional moussaka without compromising your health. Experiment with variations and serve it alongside fresh salads or other low-carb sides to create a well-rounded meal. Bon appétit!

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