I just came back from a family vacation in Panama – yes, family vacation as in “my parents and me took a week off to fly to Latin America”. And another yes to the fact that going on a trip with the folks has become a rare occasion, but a lovely one.
My parents nevertheless always took us on great trips and the ones I recall as my favourites were the summers we spent in Greece – either with or without grandparents or cousins – these sun laden weeks in August/ September were always amazing.
My dad even taught me to swim in Halkidiki in the summer of 1993. Other amazing places we visited included the Peleponnese, Kos, Skiathos or Rhodes …
No wonder that we also indulged in amazing Greek food after spending the days in the Mediterranean waters – hence my latest recipe has been inspired by a Greek classic: MOUSSAKA.
I tweaked it a bit, got inspired by the version available on Atkins.com – not because I am on a diet, but to show you how our summer vacation food can be wonderful in the delight version too. Just to make sure that this bikini fits this summer.
Eggplant have become one of my favourite vegetables by the way – as I am learning Spanish at the moment I easily picked up on the Spanish word “berenjena” as well to order it whenever I can. For example, in my favourite tapas place La Bodequilla in Palma de Mallorca.
Why are eggplant (or aubergine) bikini-approved?
Since they contain almost no fat or cholesterol, it is a very healthy food for people fight the buldge before hitting the beach. The fiber content is also very filling, which inhibits the release of ghrelin, the hormone which tells our mind that we are hungry again.
A low amount of soluble carbohydrates, aubergine are an ideal food for managing diabetes. The qualities of eggplants make it useful as a regulator of glucose and insulin activity within our bodies: insulin levels are kept stable and we are less likely to experience drastic plunges and spikes in blood sugar – no crazy cravings in the long run.
Check out my Greek Feta Eggplant Dip, if you’d like some Mediterranean twist with your next BBQ.
Now enjoy – καλή όρεξη!
Lowcarb Spinach Moussaka
Eggplant is one of Greece’s most popular vegetables – the traditional melitzánes moussaká is by far the most popular dish. The papoutsákia (“little shoes”) variant is essentially the same dish, with the meat and custard layered inside hollowed, sauteéd eggplants.
- 2 medium sized eggplants, washed and sliced into 5mm thick disks
- 250g minced turkey or lamb
- 300g chopped mushroom
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 100 ml tomatoe puree or chopped tomatoes
- 150g slightly defrosted chopped spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese or ricotta
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
- 2 – 3 eggs (optional)
- 100g feta cheese (optional)
- olive oil
- sea salt
- Start by salting your eggplant disks with sea salt and place them in a colander to sweat for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime heat the oil in a saucepan and start searing the minced meat with the finely chopped garlic and all spices.
- Add half a cup of water and the tomato puree/tomates and let the mixture bubble away for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile blitz up the defrosted spinach with your ricotta/ cream cheese and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Add the guar gum to the meat sauce to thicken it up and pre-heat your grill to 180°.
- Take some kitchen towel and thoroughly pad the eggplant disks dry before grilling them for 5 minutes in the oven.
- Now oil an oven-proof casserole dish and start assembling your moussaka: eggplant layer, meat sauce, spinach sauce, eggplant, meat, spinach … until all ingredients are used up.
- If desired crack your eggs on top of the casserole or whisk them up and pour the scramble over the bake.
- Now bake the moussaka for 15 minutes at 180° – crumble some feta on top and bake it for an additional 5-10 minutes.