I fancied making low-calorie vegetarian moussaka for tea. I am a vegetarian and Stuart isn’t so I decided to make a vegetarian lentil and vegetable moussaka rather than making two which I often do. It was really tasty so naturally, I had to share the recipe with you guys to enjoy it too.
Using quark in the lentil and vegetable moussaka topping is perfect. Even if you don’t think you like quark you should try this! It also makes it a great unofficial Slimming World moussaka recipe if you follow their weight loss plan.
Just Average Jen is an independent blog and in no way connected with any weight loss plan and no contributors have been trained by them or worked for them. It is the reader’s responsibility to check Slimming World syn values, WW points and any other allowances themselves as those given are approximate.
Moussaka for weight loss
If you follow Slimming World, Weight Watchers (WW), Noom or any other weight loss plan you can usually count the ingredients within this recipe in your allowances. It is of course important to check yourself any plan you follow and remember all nutritional information and ingredients are found in the recipe card below.
In recipes that need quark, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure it tastes good. Quark doesn’t have much flavour so ensure you flavour the dish well.
Flavoured quark is usually synned if you follow Slimming World so instead use flavourings that are syn free or a squeeze of lemon juice perhaps.
Quark is available in most large supermarkets now and is even stocked in Aldi and Lidl. You can usually find it near the soft cheeses in a tub similar to what you would buy cottage cheese in.
Due to the low-fat content of quark it easily splits if heated too much or if it has hot water or hot liquid added to it. Be careful and stir in gradually and you should be OK.
What is Quark?
It is a soft cheese made with skimmed milk. It’s rather like Philadelphia in its consistency and, due to the fat-free aspect of it, there is little flavour. Because of this, quark on its own is not often enjoyed.
Making a meal vegetarian easily
An easy way to make a meal vegetarian is to swap the meat for a vegetarian alternative such as Quorn. Other possible swaps are jackfruit, lentils, chickpeas, mixed beans or just extra vegetables. Here I swapped the beef mince or lamb mince for courgettes, lentils, onions and peppers.
I have been a vegetarian since I was 10 years old and enjoy a huge variety of food so whatever you do, don’t let being vegetarian mean you need to eat a boring diet.
If you want to do it the other round and eat a meat-based dish instead, you could still make a healthy moussaka using extra lean meat.
The importance of adding vegetables to your meals
Vegetables are low in calories compared to their density. This essentially means that they fill you up for very few calories.
The more vegetables you have in a meal, either as a side dish or mixed in with the meal itself, the lower-calorie the meal tends to be. A filling but low-calorie meal is perfect for weight loss.
All my recipes include vegetables where possible but do feel free to add more as an accompaniment when you can. Always choose vegetables that you enjoy because otherwise you will begrudge eating them and are more likely to stop cooking them at all before long.
Trying vegetables cooked differently or adding herbs and spices can make them a little more exciting too.
Budget shopping tips
I try to ensure all of the recipes I make are accessible for everyone. By this, I mean that they do not use obscure or hard to find ingredients. I also believe that recipes should use as few ingredients as possible and avoid expensive ingredients. We would all much rather spend money on holidays than expensive ingredients, wouldn’t we?
Whilst this low-calorie vegetarian moussaka uses a lot of ingredients they are all quite cheap easy to buy ingredients.
Buying herbs and spices in bulk is something I really recommend. It can save a lot of money in the long term but also means you never run out! I find putting them on Amazon subscribe and save helps too!
Shopping around to see which shops have offers on your usual products can make a big difference to your weekly shopping bill. Additionally don’t forget to check out the yellow sticker reductions and freeze what you can.
Frozen vegetables are nutritionally just as good as fresh usually so do keep an eye for those too to save money. Do you have any particular frozen vegetables you love? Do share them with me it is always nice to hear people’s recommendations.
More recipes you may enjoy
If this low-calorie vegetarian moussaka has made you realise you should use quark more and you’re looking for more recipes with it in, check out my ultimate quark recipe list here.
If you are vegetarian or want to eat more vegetarian or plant-based meals I have a full list of vegetarian and vegan recipes which like this unofficial Slimming World Moussaka are great on Slimming World here.
More articles to help with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle
If you are considering or already following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle then these articles may be helpful.
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This Slimming world friendly Lentil and vegetable moussaka is vegetarian but loved by meat-eaters too as it’s full of flavour. Extra easy to make for all the family.
3 Aubergines Sliced into 5mm thick slices
2 large Courgettes Diced
400 grams Lentils (from a can) Drained 400g can
400 grams Can of Chopped Tomatoes
1 large Red onion (diced)
3 large Peppers – red, orange or yellow (deseeded and cut into small chunks)
3 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 tbsp Mixed Herbs (dried)
2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tbsp Cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp Granulated Sweetener
300 grams Quark
500 grams Natural Yoghurt Fat Free
1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
160 grams 50% Less Fat Cheddar (grated) (This usually makes each portion contain 1 HEA choice on Slimming World but do check yourself for latest information)
Spray aubergines with a little low-calorie spray and griddle on both sides until starting to colour and soften. Careful you don’t allow them to soften too much or they are hard to pick up later in the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 200°c.
Add the garlic, tomato puree, red wine vinegar and peppers and cook for a further two minutes.
Simmer for 20 minutes or until the peppers are all tender and there is very little sauce left.
Using a large ovenproof dish spoon half the peppers, onion etc mixture into the dish, cover with a layer of grilled aubergines then half of the white sauce. Then add another layer of peppers, courgettes etc, then a layer of aubergine. Finally, top with the remaining white sauce and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Cook for 30-40 minutes in the centre of the oven or until it is hot through and the cheese is starting to brown nicely.
Keywords: Slimming World, moussaka, lentils, vegetarian, syn free,
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