Deconstructed Nightshade-Free Moussaka (Paleo, AIP)

Deconstructed Nightshade-Free Moussaka (Paleo, AIP)

Tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes? What the heck are you trying to do to me, Moussaka?! I’d have a hard lesson to learn in lectins were I to sit down and nom on a dish full of you.

Before we throw the baby lectins out with the nightshade bathwater, I should clarify – not all lectins are bad. In her seminal book The Paleo Approach, Sarah Ballantyne explains: “While lectins in general are often vilified as being the cause of a leaky gut, only a subset of lectins (generally prolamins and agglutinins) are actually of concern because these proteins are difficult to digest and are known to interact strongly with the brush border of the intestine” (60).

Ballantyne goes on to point out that “these troublemakers,” prolamins and agglutinins, “are also found in vegetables from the nightshade family” (103).

Long story short, this problematic subset of lectins can contribute to or exacerbate a leaky gut for many people. For someone like me with an autoimmune disease, however, eating nightshades is tantamount to intestinal apocalypse. So I really must avoid letting those little lectins get all up in my grill.

Which brings me back to the moussaka. My great-grandmother hailed from Thessaloniki. I feel like I betray a little bit of my Greek heritage each time I pass up the opportunity to gobble down moussaka, which invariably contains a whole schwack of nightshades.

So to appease my ancestral distress, I’ve come up with a most delicious easy-peasy, deconstructed, stove-top, nightshade-free version of moussaka. This goes awesomely atop a beautiful, bountiful bed of zoodles.

I got 99 problems, but a nightshade ain’t one.

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Deconstructed Nightshade-Free Moussaka (Paleo, AIP)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ c broth
  • 1 c nightshade-free ketchup
  1. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft -- about five minutes over medium heat. Add the lamb and scramble fry until browned. Add the oregano, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and cook for one minute.
  2. Add the broth and nightshade-free ketchup. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. I like the Deconstructed Moussaka served over zoodles this time of year, but I'll look forward to having it with a heaping mound of cauli mash in the fall and winter!

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Martine Partridge, founder of Eat Heal Thrive, is an eater of whole, nourishing, real food. She is also a combatter of Crohn's Disease. Martine wholeheartedly believes that food is the fulcrum for good health and has had wonderful results in managing autoimmunity by eating to heal, and healing to thrive.