Lamb, courgette & triple cheese layered bake

JW – as requested, here’s the method behind the madness!

This recipe is a cross between a moussaka and a (lower-carb) lasagne. I’ve used courgettes, ground almonds, and various cheeses to make all of those glorious layers . . . sans the heavy pasta guilt!

The addition of grated paneer may sound very strange. I promise you, it works incredibly well. The firm cheese creates solidity, providing the perfect perect pasta-replacement with a bit of bite and an oomph of creaminess! 

It’s another one of those recipes that simply requires patience. However, if you’re willing to put in the time, you won’t regret it . . . and, I must say – much like lasagne, it is even better the next day.

Serves ~4

Preparation time: ~45 minutes

Cooking time: ~1 1/2 hours


– 3 medium (or 2 very large) courgettes, washed and ends trimmed

– plenty of table salt

– 2 Tablespoons olive oil

– 500 grams lamb mince

– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

– 1 small brown onion, peeled and finely diced

– 1/2 carrot, peeled and finely diced

– 2 bay leaves

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

– 1 teaspoon oregano

– 1 teaspoon ground coriander

– 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, optional

– salt and pepper, to taste

– 1 x 400 grams can chopped tomatoes in juice

– 3 Tablespoons tomato paste 

– 1 beef stock cube, crumbled

– 1/2 cup boiling water, plus more if necessary

– 1 teaspoon stevia, optional

– Approximately 150 grams paneer, grated

– 1 cup mild cheddar, grated

– 1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated

– 1/2 cup ground almonds

– 3 Tablespoons butter

– 2 heaped Tablespoons flour

– 1 cup milk

– 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

– 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, extra

– salt and pepper, to taste


1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the courgettes (lengthwise) into long strips. Place in a colander and cover with a generous amount of salt, mixing to coat. Set aside to let the salt draw out excess moisture.

2. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the lamb mince and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisping. Remove to a separate bowl using a slotted spoon – make sure you retain all that excess fat in the pan!

3. Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle in the cumin seeds. Once these become fragrant, throw in the onions, carrot, and bay leaves. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the garlic. Fry for another couple of minutes before tossing in the dried herbs and spices. 

4. Stir-fry this mixture for a few more minutes before adding the cooked lamb, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, crumbled stock, and water. Lower the heat and simmer for as much time as you can afford. Top it up with water as it reduces . . . the longer you leave it, the heartier the flavours! If you’re more pressed for time, 10 minutes will do. Season with stevia, salt and pepper.

5. At this stage, preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan-bake). Rinse the salt off your courgettes and squeeze dry. Press the courgette between paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. Now, you’re ready to layer! Before you begin, however, set aside a couple of tablespoons (each) of parmesan and ground almonds. 

6. In a small casserole dish (~12 by ~7 inches, or similar), spread a thin layer of meat sauce. Top with a layer of courgette slices (making sure you unfurl/flatten them out fully). Follow with a layer of all three cheeses and a sprinkle of almonds. I’m not giving exact quantities because they very much depend on the size of your dish, and how thick you want each layer to be!

7. Repeat this layering until your ingredients are used up. Ideally, you’ll finish with a layer of courgettes. Place this in your pre-heated oven and bake for ~30 minutes or until bubbly and browning.

8. Meanwhile, prepare your topping sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the butter and cook for a minute or so, before slowly whisking in the milk, mustard, and paprika. Cook, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Pour this creamy sauce over the baked meat and courgette in your dish. Sprinkle over a final dusting of parmesan and ground almonds. Return to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for ~10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a leafy salad, and enjoy! 🙂

One Comment:

  1. Looks delicious!!!

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