Plant Based Pastitsio

Akis Petrezikis

This was a dish I loved when I was a meat eater (many years ago) And finally a version with no dairy and no meat! You never need to be in a flap again when your non-meat eating friends come for lunch 🙂 The pasta used in this dish is readily available in most supermarkets now and the dish is very easy to make. A friend of mine in Rhodes used to make a vegetarian version of this which was amazing also. This recipe comes from one of my favourite Greek Chefs – Akis Petrezikis – who seems to be Greece’s answer to Jamile Oliver!

2 x medium aubergines – chopped into cubes
4 – 6 x tbsp olive oil
1 x onion – chopped
2 x cloves of garlic
2 x courgettes – cubed
1 x red pepper – chopped into small pieces
1 x green pepper – chopped into small pieces
1 x tbsp dried oregano
1 x tsp of chilli flakes
1 x tbsp mint
1 x tbsp sugar
2 x tbsp tomato paste
Good glug to red or white wine
400g x tin of plum tomatoes – (crush them with your hands)
500g x thick tube pasta (Misko is a good brand – no.2)
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste

For the bechamel
6 x tbsp olive oil
80g x plain flour (organic)
800ml oat milk (to other plant based milk)
salt & pepper to taste

When assembling
1 x tsp dried oregano
1 x tsp dried mint
2 x tbsp olive oil
50 g x dry breadcrumbs (I freeze small bags of breadcrumbs for recipes like this)

First you will need to make your vegetable sauce.
Add the olive to a frying pan and bring to a high heat.
Chop the aubergines into 1cm cubes and add them to the frying pan and saute for a few minutes.
Finely chop the onion and add it to the pan and again saute for a few minutes.
Chop the courgettes and the peppers into small cubes add to the mixture and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. The vegetables should be softening but still have bite.
Add in the salt & pepper, oregano, mint, chilli flakes, sugar and tomato paste and stir.
Add in the wine and de-glaze the bottom of the pan and now add the hand crushed tinned tomatoes to the mix. Gently simmer for about 10 minutes more, remove from the heat and set aside.
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil and then add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, drain and add to the tomato and vegetable mixture, mix well.

Making the bechamel
Place a saucepan on the hob, heat to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the flour and mix well until fully absorbed. Add the oat milk in batches, stir constantly with a balloon whisk.Season with salt and pepper, and as soon as it thickens and comes to a boil, remove from the heat.

Now to assemble
Preheat the oven to 180ο C (350ο F) set to fan.
Add 100 g of the bechamel into the pasta mixture and mix well.
Grease a 40 cm ovenproof baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs.
Add the pasta and vegetable mixture, spread on the bechamel sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon olive oil and pepper.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove and let it cool.
Served with a fresh, crispy Greek salad and fresh bread – this is a delicious hearty meal that will even please those who don’t follow a plant based diet.


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