Pastitsio is a traditional Greek dish with oven baked pasta, meat sauce and bechamel. NOT vegan at all as it normally contains meat, milk, eggs and cheese. It's a very festive dish and makes a great centerpiece for holidays! This is my favorite vegan version of it and I always serve it during holidays for my guests. This recipe serves 8-10 people. For the bechamel you can either make a simple cream with soy milk and roux - just add salt, pepper and nutmeg or you can try my bechamel made of nuts and seeds.
- 500 gr thick bucatini pasta (if you can’t find bucatini pasta try rigatoni or penne)
- 2 TS bread crumbs
For the lentil sauce
- 1 medium onion, thinly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cup homemade or canned tomato sauce or crashed tomatoes
- 1 cup red lentil
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
For the bechamel
- 120 gr raw cashews
- 3 TS sunflower seeds
- 2 TS nutritional yeast
- 1 lt of water
- 5 TS all purpose flour
- 5 TS olive oil or vegan margarine/shortening
- 1 ts salt
- 1 ts freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 ts freshly ground black pepper
To make the lentil sauce
- Place a medium pot with 1/4 cup of water over medium heat.
- Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add all the other ingredients, except the parsley and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Add the parsley, lower the heat and cook for few more minutes, adding a bit of water if necessary.
To make the pasta
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until Al dente (be careful not to overcook the pasta as it will go in the oven for more baking).
- Drain and keep aside.
- Oil a baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumbs.
- Add the pasta and top with the lentil sauce. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
To make the bechamel
- Blend all ingredients – except the flour and oil - in a high speed blender for at least two minutes.
- In a pot make the roux. Heat the oil, add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes.
- Pour cashews cream into the roux, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until smooth and thick.
- Pour the cashews bechamel over the lentil sauce.
- Sprinkle with vegan cheese or breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Serve and enjoy!