Pastitsio is a Greek baked casserole with layers of pasta, meat sauce, and béchamel that is savory with a hint of sweetness. It is one of my all-time childhood favorites and brings back memories of going into Detroit’s Greektown for a big family dinner when our Greek relatives came into town.
Creating a vegan version of this recipe as a bit harder than you’d think. Sure you can replace the meat for vegan meat, but creating that distinct pastitsio flavor is tricky. And how to find a way to replicate that creamy melt-in-your-mouth béchamel is even more challenging. Usually, I don’t have an issue swapping out ingredients for others, for instance, using rice milk instead of almond, but for the success of this recipe it is imperative that you use the ingredients listed. Not just any old egg replacer will work here, you need to have the Follow Your Heart VeganEgg. You also need a beef flavored bouillon, rather than a veggie flavored. I recommend the Edward and Sons, since that is always my go-to.
Pastitsio truly is a labor of love. If you have the time, you need to try this vegan version of a Greek traditional classic. I hope you enjoy.
- 2 cups elbow macaroni, dried
- 1 egg Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, prepared
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch parsley, rinsed and chopped
- 6 cups vegan beef crumbles
- 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup diced tomato, canned
- 2 ½ cups crushed tomato, canned
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 3 cubes not-beef bouillon, Edward and Sons
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Earth Balance
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 3 ½ cups non dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon clove
- 2 pinch salt
- 4 eggs Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, prepared
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and reduce heat to medium low. Remove from water when the pasta is al dente, as it will cook longer in the oven.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the meat sauce. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and onion and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley, beef, fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon, cinnamon, clove, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover and stir occasionally for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. To begin the Béchamel, bring a medium sauce pan to a medium heat and add the Earth Balance. Once fully melted, remove from the heat and whisk in a tablespoon of flour at a time. You should end up with a small tacky ball of dough once all the flour is added. Place the pan back on the stove at medium low. Slowly whisk in the milk a half cup at a time. Add the nutritional yeast, nutmeg, clove, and salt and stir well. Remove from heat and place in the refridgerator.
5. Prepare 5 Follow Your Heart VeganEggs, setting one aside.
6. When the Béchamel has cooled down, slowly whisk in 4 Follow Your Heart VeganEggs. Be careful not to add the eggs to the mixture if it is still hot. Although they are not ‘real’ eggs, they will still curdle at high heat.
7. Add the one VeganEgg that was set aside to the cooked pasta and stir well. Place the pasta in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
8. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta creating an even layer that covers the pasta.
9. Pour the béchamel over the meat sauce creating an even layer that covers the meat sauce. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg and clove on top.
10. Carefully place the uncovered casserole onto the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the sides are bubbling and the top begins to brown. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drips.
11. When the pastitsio is finished baking, cover and refrigerate. Once cold, cut into squares and reheat to serve. Pastitsio is traditionally chilled before cut into squares to maintain the structure.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista. Can’t wait to hear from you!