Main Dishes/ Pork

Dairy-Free Moussaka with Ground Pork and Mushrooms

dairy-free moussaka in a white ceramic dish on a wood counter

I feared eggplant when I was a child because my brother told me the purple skin of the eggplant was poisonous. He said I’d die if I ate it. I didn’t find out he was lying until I was a teenager, but by then my aversion to eggplant was complete.

I re-discovered eggplant when I learned to make moussaka in my late 20s. I used to salt and drain slices of eggplant over a colander, then lightly oil the slices, dust them with flour and fry them into delightful soft-centered eggplant cookies that were baked into moussaka.

After I had kids, my moussaka making fell by the wayside because all that preparation took too much time. It wasn’t until I realized I could quickly bake the moussaka slices in the oven that moussaka went back onto our family’s menu.

Like most moussakas, this recipe has layers of eggplant and meat sauce, topped with béchamel, but I add sliced mushrooms to the meat sauce for additional texture and flavor. I season it with a savory blend of mint, cinnamon and oregano.

I use pork in my moussaka instead of the more traditional lamb. I’m not a vegetarian, but I can’t abide the thought of eating meats like lamb or veal that come from very young animals. If you’re a vegetarian, just omit the pork and double the mushrooms. You may have to adjust the seasonings slightly.

I save time by roasting the eggplant on oiled cookie sheets. You’ll end up with a bit more savory sauce at the bottom of the pan of moussaka because the eggplant drains as it cooks, but I don’t mind because the sauce is so delicious.

You can add egg yolks to the béchamel, but if I’m in a hurry, I don’t bother. This hearty dish is rich enough. It’s a one-dish meal you can prepare a day ahead of time and bake in the oven just before serving.

Dairy-Free Moussaka with Ground Pork and Mushrooms

By Springhouse Turtle Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 35 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 60 minutes

I love the combination of pork, tomatoes and mushrooms in this moussaka, spiced with mint, cinnamon and oregano plus a hint of nutmeg in the béchamel topping.


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 8 ounces white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes in puree
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 8 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 2 egg yolks (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Cut eggplants into 1/2 inches slices.


Put slices on two oiled cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, flipping the slices over after 15 minutes.


Remove from the oven and let cool.


In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil and coconut oil until crinkling at the edges of the pan.


Add the onions to the pan, sprinkle them with salt, and sauté until they are soft and light brown, about 5-7 minutes.


Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.


Add the pork, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the cinnamon, mint and oregano, and sauté until the pork loses its pink color.


Add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the mushrooms begin to wilt, about 5-7 minutes.


Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.


Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


In a small saucepan heat 3 cups non-dairy milk until just below a simmer.


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oils until they are crackling.


Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. The flour and oil should form a paste. Add more flour if needed.


Add the heated non-dairy milk all at once.


Stir vigorously with a whisk for 5-8 minutes until the béchamel becomes very thick.


Whisk in the egg yolks, if using.


Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and nutmeg.


Place half the eggplant slices in the bottom of a large baking dish.


Spread half the pork mixture over the eggplant.


Add a second layer of eggplant and pork sauce.


Spread the béchamel sauce over the top of the pork sauce, covering the sauce completely. (At this point, you can cover the moussaka with parchment and foil and keep it in the refrigerator to be baked the next day. Remove the parchment and foil before baking.)


Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and bubbling at the edges.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

By not draining the eggplant rounds before cooking, you end up with a lake of luscious sauce at the bottom of the dish.

moussak in red and white baking dish with one corner serving cut out

Springhouse Turtle Eats


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