Paleo Moussaka-Inspired Greek Ground Beef Skillet


The desperation that I feel when I haven't gone grocery shopping in a while is just stupid. The grocery store is three blocks away. I could easily make that feeling go away.

Instead, I get creative and make food piles.

If you're not familiar with moussaka, it's a Mediterranean casserole (or hot dish, to you fellow Minnesotans) that's quite popular in Greece and the Balkans. Sort of like lasagna, but also like a shepherd's pie. There are layers of meat, tomato sauce and eggplant, topped with a light béchamel sauce.

Just to be clear, this recipe is entirely different from legit moussaka. I spiced this food pile up with similar spices, but I didn't have any eggplant or potato on hand so I improvised by adding some greens, artichokes and olives. Someday, when I have more groceries, I'll make some real moussaka and post it.

Moussaka-Inspired Greek Ground Beef Skillet

paleo, whole30-approved and gluten-free

  • 1 lb. ground beef

  • cooking oil (olive oil, ghee, coconut oil or whatever you like)

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 (16 oz.) can or bag of frozen artichokes

  • 1 bag of frozen spinach

  • 1/3 cup sliced green and Kalamata olives (pitted)

  • 2 T dried oregano

  • 1 T paprika

  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp salt (or just to taste)

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup leftover marinara (hey, it works!) or a couple of diced Roma tomatoes

  • Optional: Mix in a whisked egg just as you take it off the heat—that's the moussaka way. The hot mixture will cook the egg.

  • Optional: Crumble of feta, maybe a drizzle of tzatziki on top

  1. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Sauté the onions for a couple minutes, then add the garlic for another minute, then the spice mix for another 30 seconds before you throw in the meat.

  3. Brown the meat.

  4. Add the olives, artichokes, spinach, vinegar and marinara and simmer until everything is hot.

  5. Turn off the heat and mix in a whisked egg (if you like), add feta or yogurt (if you like) and then EAT.


  • I made a tzatziki-like sauce (Greek yogurt, fresh dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper) to go with this and the combo was phenomenal. If you eat yogurt, do that.

  • You could also consider adding sun-dried tomatoes and other vegetables to this thing.

  • Layer this with eggplant and béchamel for real-deal moussaka.

  • Try a Greek shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower or sweet potato.

  • If food piles are your thing, I think you might also like this chimichurri pile or chorizo Brussels sprouts slaw.

  • This keeps very well in the fridge so you could make a big batch ahead of time (leave out the egg at the end). You could also freeze it in a freezer bag (again, wait on the egg until you reheat it).

And now, go forth and make your own food pile and tell me all about it in the comments below.