This Moussaka Pasta Bake is actually a moussaka and pastitsio mash up! Both of these are classic Greek dishes that are full of flavour and great textures. I skipped the bechamel sauce for simplicity, as the dish is wonderful without it. The amount of cinnamon is not a typo by the way, I really think this dish does best when there is plenty of my favourite spice included - of course, I may be biased. It pairs perfectly with the meat and tomato. I've also included a vegan option for those who don't eat meat.
This dish is even better when paired with some crusty bread and roast potatoes that can be done at the same time the pasta bake is in the oven. The bread in the background of the photo is the gluten free sourdough from Baking Magique that has been on high rotation in my house as it's just that good.
The pasta I use for this dish is buckwheat spirals but you can use any small-sized pasta you like, such as penne.
For a Paleo option, you can use raw cauliflower florets (use a whole head) instead of the pasta, or extra mushrooms/eggplant.
For a vegan option, skip Step 6 and add the black beans in Step 7.
Moussaka Pasta Bake
- 1 medium-large eggplant
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups dry pasta of choice
- 6 med-large button mushrooms
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 500 g ground/minced beef or ground/minced lamb (vegan option: 3 tins of black beans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 jar of pasta marinara sauce - approx. 700g
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- To serve
- Parsley and lemon optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- Cut the eggplants in thick slices and then quarter. Cook on high heat in a frypan or skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil for 3 minutes on each side.
- Cook the pasta while the eggplant is cooking, according to the instructions on the pack. Make sure to cook the pasta al dente, so it's not overcooked. Rinse in cold water as soon as it's done and set aside.
- While the eggplant is cooking, slice the mushrooms (3mm thick), shred the cabbage and mince the garlic.
- When the eggplant is done, set aside and put the mushrooms in and brown on each side for a few minutes. Remove from frypan and set aside.
- Brown the meat for a few minutes, add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the pasta (marinara) sauce and the tomato paste to the skillet and add back in the eggplant, mushrooms, cooked pasta and the raw cabbage.
- Stir well so the sauce and tomato paste is well incorporated and everything is well mixed.
- If you are using an oven safe baking dish rather than a skillet, pour the mixture from the frypan in to the baking dish and place in the oven. If you used an oven safe skillet for the whole cooking process, place it in the oven.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes and remove from the oven. You should see some "crusty" bits on top to know it's done.
- Serve immediately.
- Can be stored in the fridge after cooling, for up to 3 days. It also can be frozen in individual portions.
- Equipment: oven safe skillet or large baking dish (and a large frypan if using the baking dish)
- For the pasta, you could use spirals, shells or penne for example. I don't recommend spaghetti or fettucine but they may work!
- For a vegan option, skip Step 6 and add the black beans in Step 7.