This lightened up take on the classic Mediterranean recipe is easy to make and uses ground turkey and baked eggplant, but with zero sacrifice in flavor.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing eggplant
- 3 large or 4 medium eggplant sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 2/3 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup tomato puree (not paste)
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup pecorino Romano, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling over top
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- white pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Brush the eggplant slices lightly with olive oil on both sides, then lay them out in an even layer on the sheet pans. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes
- While the eggplant cooks, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large saute pan, then add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and just starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and cinnamon, then season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes more.
- Add the turkey and use a spatula to break it up into little bits. Cook until nicely browned, about 8-10 minutes, then add the red wine. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato puree and cook until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- While the meat sauce simmers, make the béchamel. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined, then slowly pour in the milk while whisking vigorously. Add the bay leaf, then continue whisking until it comes up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, then whisk in 1/4 cup of pecorino Romano, nutmeg, and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
- Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and begin assembling the moussaka. Place one layer of eggplant on the bottom of an 9×13 inch casserole dish, being sure it’s completely covered with no gaps. Add 1/2 of the turkey mixture and spread out into an even layer, then top with another layer of eggplant. Repeat with one more layer of turkey and one more layer of eggplant.
- Whisk the eggs vigorously into the cooled béchamel sauce, then pour over top of the casserole. Spread out into an even layer, then sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons pecorino Romano.
- Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
Keywords: greek, classic, easy, recipe, eggplant, moussaka, turkey, béchamel, baked, casserole