Did you know that the Greek word Moussaka comes from the Arabic word “musaqqa‘ah” which means chilled? The reason this dish is called “chilled” is because you can eat it cold and it tastes just as delicious. Greek Mousakka is what I call indulgence food, rich meat and eggplant tucked under a bed of creamy, buttery, Bechamel sauce. Musaqqa‘ah, also known as M’nazaleh, is the Palestinian version of this dish, which trades the Bechamel in for a lighter tomato sauce with slightly different spices. M’nazaleh his one of those dishes that can absolutely wow your guests at a dinner party–the unctuous eggplant, combined with the meaty lamb and onions, sweet tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts is so rich tasting yet healthy. This dish is loaded with fiber, iron, protein, and anti-oxidants.
This dish is also Paleo and Whole 30 friendly, so you can have a satisfying meal like this without worrying about carbs. If you want to eat this the traditional way though, I highly recommend eating this dish over the garlic turmeric rice in the blog post below–a flavor explosion indeed! Be sure you follow the steps for salting and roasting the eggplant beforehand to take out any potential bitterness from the eggplant. You can follow along how to do that in this instructional video:
Now for vegetarians, here are a couple of delicious swaps for the meat that I have tried–instead of 1 1/2 pounds of meat, use 1 can of garbanzo beans or 2 packages of sliced mushrooms, or heck you can use both! Just sautee the mushrooms or chickpeas alongside the onions and use as the middle layer. Are you ready to try this or what? Here is the video and grocery list to get started below, give me your feedback and tell me what you think!
3 large eggplants
1 1/2 pounds of chili cut lamb or chicken thigh
1 large onion
1 jar of marinara sauce, or 16 oz can of chopped tomatoes