Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Speedy Moussaka

Please don't be put off by the long list of ingredients. This is a very simplified version of moussaka and takes very little time to whip up - especially if you have a food processor. There is no time-consuming frying of aubergines or making bechamel sauces. The fromage frais topping is a doddle and well worth trying on other bakes. If you can't get fromage frais, low fat greek yoghurt works well and is probably more authentic.

It freezes well so I often pop portions in foil containers and keep as homemade ready meals to chuck in the oven when I'm feeling to exhausted to cook.


500 g extra lean beef mince
1  onion
1 carrot
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
1  clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
250 grams mushrooms
1 stick of celery
2 good sized aubergines
500g fat free fromage frais
1 egg
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1\2 teaspoon of dried (or even better fresh) oregano (optional)

Serves 3-4
Slice your aubergine into thin rounds. Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and microwave on high for 4 minutes (or if you prefer, lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil and grill on high turning occasionally until soft and golden).
Put onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the pulsed vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally until they all begin to soften. Add the mince and the tomato puree – if the mixture looks a little dry add a splash of water. Cook gently for about 15 minutes until mince is cooked through and everything is well combined. Season to taste and add the cinnamon and oregano if using.
Place mince into ovenproof dish and then top with aubergine slices.
Beat fromage frais together with the egg and then pour over the top of the aubergine.
Bake at 180c for 20 mins or until top is golden and set.

Arthritis diet notes:
This is a great way to get plenty of hidden vegetables down yourself and your family. It's also much lower in saturated fat than a traditional moussaka - saturated fat can encourage inflammation so it's best to trim back on it if you have any kind of arthritits. 

Mushrooms are a good source of folic acid. If you are taking disease modifying drugs like methotrexate for your arthritis supplementation with folic acid is really important. It helps manage side effects and prevent problems associated with deficiency and anaemia.

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