Almost Vegan Pastitsio


This meal took a little longer to make than many things I do, but it was worth it. It was very good, and both of the kids had seconds! I based this on a recipe in the Weight Watcher’s Take-Out Tonight cookbook.
Almost Vegan Pastitsio

I have been eyeing this traditional Greek dish on restaurant menus for a while now, wishing I could try it. With a ground beef filling and a milk-based bechamel, that was not going to happen, so instead I searched out a recipe to veganize. The nutmeg in the sauce disguises the soy taste wonderfully. I know there are egg substitutes that would work in this, but I am not really familiar with them, so I just used the eggs. Feel free to suggest vegan alternatives in the comments.

3 cups soy milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 TBSP parmesan substitute (we used Parma!)
salt and ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3/4 pound ground meat substitute, like Boca crumbles
1 pound plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (although I used more–probably 4 or 5)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti or elbow macaroni
2 TBSP parmesan substitute
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Meanshile, combind the milk, cornstarch and eggs in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. This took me a while, but I think I turned the fire down too low–I was warming, not cooking–so make sure the heat isn’t too low. When thickened, remove from heat and add the Parmesan sub, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Place a lid on the pot and set aside while you make the filling.
At this point, you’ll want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 7 by 11 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
For the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion until softened. Add the remaining filling ingredients and cook until heated through, and the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. Stir often.
To assemble the casserole, start with half of the pasta, then top with all of the filling and the other half of the pasta. Pour the bechamel sauce over the top and sprinkle with the last 2 tablespoons of Parma. Bake until golden, 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving, to set the casserole.
I was going to roast brussels sprouts with this, but the kids aren’t fans, so I ended up skipping them, and we had green beans instead. Lima beans stewed with some olive oil and oregano would have been good, too.

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