Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)

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Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)

A plant-based version of the classic Greek recipe, Pastitsio.

Welcome to More Kouppes, and to our first guest (meaning, not our parents’) Greek recipe! When we decided to share favourite meals from families which were not our own, we knew that we would focus on recipes we had either heard people raving about (Oh man, my mom’s spanakopita is like, The Best!), or food that we had been lucky enough to eat, and love.  Immediately we knew that this vegan pastichio would top the list.  A few times a year, during periods of lent, this dairy, egg and meat-free pastichio unexpectedly appears and replaces the brown bagged lunch of peanut butter or hummus. What a delicious surprise!  The sad sandwich gets tossed, and the day is immediately better.  The woman behind this delicious, and unexpected real meal, is Κυρία Αργυρώ (Mrs. Argyro), and her lenten pastichio is so, so, SO good!

Κυρία Αργυρώ is a wife, a mother,  a grandmother to 4 beautiful children…and, she has a heart of gold.  She must, as she kept smiling through the arduous task of cooking while we monitored, measured, questioned and mimicked her every move.  In learning her tricks to making a delicious vegan pastichio, we also learned that she has a kitchen full of wisdom.  This lady is smart, and clearly takes much pride in producing healthy, delicious and hearty meals for her family.


We want to take the opportunity to once again thank Κυρία Αργυρώ for being our first More Kouppes guest. We know that if you decide to try her recipe, you’ll be thanking her too!

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Helpful hints, courtesy of Κυρία Αργυρώ:
Κυρία Αργυρώ uses the pan pictured below to bake her pastichio.  Practically, what you need to know is that this is a round, metal baking pan which is 14 inches in diameter and approximately 4 inches deep.  However, you probably won’t have a pan which is exactly like this one.  Why? you ask.  Because this pan used to belong to Κυρία Αργυρώ’s mother. Many years ago, while in Greece, Κυρία Αργυρώ purchased for her mother, her very first electric oven.  The oven came with three pans; the one below, a similar one in a smaller size, and a cake pan. How wonderful! Several years later, when her mother passed away, Κυρία Αργυρώ kept this pan as a keepsake and memory of her mom.  It was beautiful to see how she treasures it still, and how happy she was to share the story of it’s origin.  So no, you likely won’t have a pan exactly like this one.  Simply try to find something with similar dimensions and create your own beautiful memories.

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How to make a vegan pastitsio

There are key ingredients which are required to make this pastichio vegan and lenten. First is the use of ground soy. Κυρία Αργυρώ uses dry, dehydrated, crumbled soy (meant to resemble ground meat) in this recipe.  Although she typically brings this back from Greece during her holidays, it is a product which is relatively easy to find, particularly in natural food stores.  If you cannot find dehydrated ground soy you can use the ground soy which needs to be refrigerated (and which is not dehydrated).  One brand we often purchase is Yves Veggie Cuisine, but any other good quality soy product you may be familiar with should work too.

How to make vegan bechamel


The béchamel sauce is made without eggs, with unflavoured, unsweetened, natural soy milk instead of dairy milk, and margarine instead of butter.  When purchasing your margarine be sure to read the label; it appears that not all margarines are vegan (who knew?!).  Somehow, all of these substitutions work and you end up with a béchamel sauce which is thick, creamy and so tasty.  You may find, as you are cooking the sauce, that it is clumpy.  We were worried that this would be a problem, but nope…all was good.  Κυρία Αργυρώ assured us that lumps did not matter so long as all of the ingredients were blended well together, and she was right (duh!).  The final product was smooth and lump-less.

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Extra tips!

Κυρία Αργυρώ uses freshly grated nutmeg in her pastichio. She feels that the taste, and quality of the nutmeg is far superior this way.  She is probably quite right, and encourages us all to do the same.


If you are using homemade tomato sauce Κυρία Αργυρώ suggests adding 1 teaspoon of sugar to the vegetable mixture.  This is not included in the recipe below as she does not usually use homemade tomato sauce.  However, if you do, remember the sugar.

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You may be surprised to find that this lenten pastichio is a little on the sweet side.  We’re not sure if this is due to the ground soy, the non-dairy milk, or the margarine.  Or perhaps, the sweetness comes from the love that Κυρία Αργυρώ pours into it; love of family, of tradition and faith.  We noticed that before the pastichio went into the oven, she blessed it with the sign of the cross.  Whatever the reason, the sweetness is subtle and lovely.

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Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)
Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)

Looking for more vegan and lenten options? Check these out:

Vegan moussaka

Vegan stuffed eggplant

Vegan spanakopita

Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)




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Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)
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5 from 1 vote

Vegan Pastichio

A plant-based version of the classic Greek recipe, Vegan Pastichio (or pastitsio).
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: #greeklentenrecipes, Easy pasta
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • Lasagna baking pan

Ingredients

For the vegetable mixture:

  • 2 spring onions chopped
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 medium onions, diced into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Greek olive oil
  • 2 tbsp + 1 ½ teaspoons red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
  • 2 cups dry (dehydrated) ground soy
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 ½ cups tomato sauce or tomato juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups boiling water

For the pasta:

  • 500 grams Misko #2 pastichio pasta see notes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Greek olive oil

For the bottom of the pan:

  • 1 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce or tomato juice

For the bechamel:

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups + 100 mL soy milk (natural, unflavoured, unsweetened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp Greek olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  • In a large pot combine the spring onions, grated carrot, chopped parsley, onions, red pepper and 1 cup of Greek olive oil.  Saute over medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened and onion is translucent and slightly caramelized. Stir regularly.
  • Add red wine, oregano and saute for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the dry (dehydrated) ground soy, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and saute for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir regularly.
  • Add the tomato sauce, ground black pepper, garlic powder, salt, vegetarian bouillon cube, tomato paste, nutmeg, ground cinnamon and boiling water and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir regularly.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon salt to the water and when it comes to a boil add 500 grams of #2 Misko pastichio pasta.  Cook according to package directions, until you can easily bite through them.  They should be al dente; not super soft.
  • Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the noodles. Add 6 heaping tablespoons of the vegetable mixture to the noodles and mix thoroughly.
  • Take baking pan.  Grease it with 1 tablespoon vegan margarine and coat it with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce.
  • Add pasta to the baking pan. Top with the remaining veggie mixture.
  • To make béchamel, heat 1/2 cup margarine and 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a saucepan.   Add 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Mix until margarine has melted and then add 2 cups + 100 mL of soy milk.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk.  Cook over medium heat for approximately 8 – 10 minutes.  The béchamel sauce will be somewhat lumpy…don’t worry about that too much.  It will also be quite thick.  Add grated nutmeg.  Stir to combine.
  • Top the pasta and vegetable layers with the béchamel.  Drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on top of béchamel.  Bake, uncovered, for approximately one hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit in lower third of oven.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If you cannot find the Pastitsio pasta, you may use penne pasta.

28 responses to “Vegan pastichio (Νηστίσιμο παστίτσιο)”

  1. elliebleu Avatar

    I can’t wait to try this dish. It looks delicious. Wonderful tip about what pan to use.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you! Do try it, and let us know how it turns out 🙂

      1. elliebleu Avatar

        I got all the ingredients at the market today. We’re going to have it tomorrow for dinner. Can’t wait to try it. 🙂

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        Oh let me know how you liked it 😉

      3. elliebleu Avatar

        We made it last night and it was a huge success! My family has never tried pastichio so they didn’t miss the meat in it. Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

      4. miakouppa Avatar

        Oh I’m so happy 🙂

    2. Kathie Petrakos Avatar
      Kathie Petrakos

      A question about the dehydrated soy…do you mean soy bean and grind them up in a food processor?

      1. miakouppa Avatar

        Hi Kathie! We are so sorry to see this message so late. Our website has been modified by the host, and we’re still figuring out the changes. We hope your tsourekia turned out; we have never used tsoureki flour (in fact, I’m not sure we have ever seen it) so we would not really have been able to give you any guidance. Hope that you had a blessed Pascha. Xristos Anesti.

  2. a little Swiss, a little Canadian Avatar

    Delicious! Lovely blog☺

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much 😉

  3. marina Avatar
    marina

    Ohhh! I have to try this… starting with the purchasing of some of the missing ingredients. Thxs for the pictures.

  4. chefkreso Avatar

    The dish look so delicious, thanks for sharing and a really lovely post!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Thank you so much. If you ever try it let us know how you like it 😉

  5. marina Avatar
    marina

    I made this saturday past. I halved the recipe and it made 8 portions. I did not adhere 100% because I used milk and butter and whole wheat flour for the bechamel. I had bought a box of dehydrated soy last year at an Indian grocery store (inexpensive) and never knew what to do with it. I used 1/2 a mushroom bouillong cube. I also baked in 2 small bread pans (4 portions each pan) for 45mins – lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Not complex at all but lots of little details that made the difference and must not be missed. Many of the steps can be made simultaneously. I had 3 burners going at the same time: pasta boiling, the vegetable mix and the bechamel (true it is lumpy the bechamel but that made no difference in the end). I agree that there is a little sweet taste – maybe it is the cinnamon, not sure. I consulted your pictures a lot for accuracy. I had had this dish for the first time at Tripolis on St-Roch, Montreal about 6 months ago and I really liked it (was their special of the day). I had made your other meat version also. I will make this version again since I already keep most of the ingredients. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      That’s super! Thanks Marina for sharing your comments! We love that you are enjoying our recipes. True, it has a lot of little details, but the taste is worth it!

  6. Maria Avatar
    Maria

    I’m excited to try this recipe, my family is Greek but my brother is now vegan. Can I preparw it now and freeze it without cooking (or should I cook it) and dethaw for Easter?

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      So glad you’re going to try this recipe Maria! I think that the best thing to do (for making this in advance) would be to cook the veggie/soy mix and freeze that, but to then assemble the pastichio with the bechamel a day or two before serving (if you need to make things in advance), bake it and keep in fridge. Then, on serving day, just warm it up. This is our suggestion because we’re not sure how well the bechamel would hold up to freezing. Hope this helps! Happy Easter 🙂

      1. Maria Avatar
        Maria

        Thank you so much!

  7. littlequacks Avatar

    I’ll definitely be trying this recipe next week!

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Awesome! Let us know how you like it!

  8. Diana D'Angelo Avatar
    Diana D’Angelo

    Hello –
    I cannot find the dehydrated soy. I am planning on using a veggie crumble product instead. How many cups would I need of this type? 4? I’m trying to compensate for the volume the dehydrated crumbles would attain once rehydrated.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Diana. Thanks for your question. Using a veggie crumble product would be fine; 3 cups should be adequate. The dehydrated soy did not increase in volume all that much in fact. Also, if you find it is not enough, you can always add more. Looking forward to hearing how you like this dish!

      1. Diana D’Angelo Avatar
        Diana D’Angelo

        Made it the other day and it was absolutely delicious!! This dish will definitely stay in the holiday rotation😊 .

      2. miakouppa Avatar

        So happy to hear that Diana!! Thanks for letting us know 🙂

  9. marina Avatar
    marina

    Made this recipe today! Not my first time. Halved the recipe. The nutmeg makes a diff in the taste. Thank you again. I love to compare my recipe results to the pictures. It helps.

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Amazing Marina!! Thanks so much for your comment and we are beyond thrilled that you loved this recipe enough to make it again 🙂

  10. Katerina Avatar
    Katerina

    Hiya. I’m going to try this on Saturday. What is the equivalent to a cup? I want to make sure I get it right. Also how many grams of soy mince can I use? I’m going to get the fresh fridge soy mince. Thanks

    1. miakouppa Avatar

      Hi Katerina. 1 cup is equivalent to 250 ml or about 8 ounces. For the soy mince, we would suggest you use the equivalent of about 2 cups or 16 ounces (about 450 grams). Hope that you love this recipe!

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