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. Pretty easy to veganize it though with soy meat sauce and plant based bechamel. If you have access to vegan cheese it’s a plus too.

Anyway I am one of those weird vegans who eat legumes every day. Sometimes all day everyday…  So I am using vegan mama’s idea for “meat sauce” with steamed lentil cooked in tomato sauce! It’s the best substitute I’ve tasted so far and everyone – and I mean everyone – loves it. If you haven’t tried it yet – do it! I made this for the family dinner we had on New Year’s eve.   It really tastes like the original if not better!



500 gr thick bucatini pasta (if you can’t find bucatini pasta try rigatoni or penne)
2 TS bread crumbs

for the lentil sauce
250 gr dry lentil – steamed or boiled and drained
1 medium yellow onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
3 TS virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 ts ground cinnamon
1 ts dried oregano
1 ts fresh thyme
1-2 ts salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 can crashed tomatoes
1 TB tomato paste

for the bechamel

120 gr raw cashews
2 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 sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the lentil and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for few more minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano and thyme and continue cooking over medium heat for few minutes. Add the tomato, the paste, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Use an immersion blender or a presse puree to give to the lentil a more like minced meat texture, but be careful not to mash them all. You don’t wanna make a soup here or a total smooth sauce!

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.


2 thoughts on “pastitsio

  1. I’ve never heard of this dish before but it looks amazing. Unfortunately all the raw nuts I can find are very expensive so I might trying subbing them and the water for soy cream and milk until I get the right consistency. I know it’s not traditional but I bet this would be delicious with a big slab of garlic bread!


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