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Vegan Pastitsio

Vegan Pastitsio

  • Author: Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 Minutes
  • Total Time: 65 Minutes (+10 Minutes Rest)
  • Yield: 5-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: Greek
  • Diet: Vegan


Bringing all those amazing Greek flavors together with this delicious, oil free, healthy twist on the classic Greek dish, Vegan Pastitsio.



Tomato Lentil Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 – [ 28 oz. can ] crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 teaspoon white miso *
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda *
  • 1 – [ 14 oz. can ] lentils, drained and rinsed

Tomato Lentil Spice/Herb Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (+/-) *
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (+/-)

 Bechamel Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 Tablespoons GF flour (or flour of choice)
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth *
  • 1 cup water (or broth)
  • ½ cup unsweetened plain plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon white miso *
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt *
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Slurry Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Other Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. GF ziti pasta, cooked (or pasta of choice)

Optional Toppings:

(If you want to have more béchamel, use the below ingredients instead)

(ALTERNATE Extra Béchamel Ingredients:)

  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 3 Tablespoons GF flour (or flour of choice)
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth *
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¾ cup unsweetened plain plant milk
  • 2 teaspoons white miso *
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Large pinch nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt *
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

(ALTERNATE Extra Slurry Ingredients:)

  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons water


  1. Fill a large stock pot full of water. Add some sea salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil then add the pasta. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Boil the pasta until el dente, drain, rinse with cold water to remove any excess starch, shake well, place into a 9 x 13 casserole pan, set aside.
  2. Make the Lentil Tomato Sauce: In the meantime, in a large ceramic/enamel lined skillet (or similarly large nonstick skillet) add the onions, sauté over medium-high heat until tender, then add the minced garlic and tomato paste, sauté for one minute, stirring constantly.  Then add all the remaining Tomato Lentil Ingredients (except the lentils) and Tomato Lentil Spice/Herb Ingredients into the skillet.  Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then stir in the lentils, heat through, then place the sauce over top of the cooked pasta (in the casserole dish), gently mix to coat the pasta.  Set aside.
  3. Make the Bechamel: Clean the skillet, then in the same large ceramic/enamel lined skillet (or similarly large nonstick skillet) add the almond butter, stirring constantly over medium heat for a minute to soften, then add the flour and stir constantly for several minutes to cook the flour (see notes), then add all the remaining Bechamel Sauce Ingredients, stir constantly to thicken the sauce, simmer for 3 minutes to thicken. Then create the slurry by mixing the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl, then add to the Bechamel Sauce to thicken the sauce even more.  Cook for two minutes to create a really thick sauce and to cook out the cornstarch flavor. Then pour the Bechamel over the pasta mixture.  The sauce should be the consistency of a thick brownie batter.
  4. Cover with foil (or invert a cookie sheet over top) and bake in a 350 F preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil (or cookie sheet) and place back in the oven for 10 minutes uncovered.
  5. After 30 minutes (in total), remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with Vegan Parmesan Cheese, freshly chopped parsley, and red pepper flakes.


*Béchamel Amount:  Our family was complete divided the amount of bechamel for this dish.  Some loved and insisted on the larger amount of béchamel (see Extra Béchamel Ingredients below), while others loved and insisted that the “original” test amount of béchamel was perfect for this recipe. So, we included both amounts so you can choose between the two. The recipe above includes the original (smaller amount) of bechamel.  The 2nd Béchamel Ingredients List shows the ingredient amounts for extra Béchamel.

*Bechamel TIPS:  When adding the almond butter to the warm skillet, stir it around the pan. It will feel more like you are smearing it around the pan, that is OK.  Then add the flour, and push it into the almond butter, stirring constantly. This helps cook the flour.  It will look like a smeary thick mess in the pan.  Next add the liquids (and other ingredients), stir thoroughly to mix the almond butter/flour mixture with the liquids.  Initially it will look like it isn’t going to come together, but keep at it, mixing and pushing the almond butter/flour mixture into the liquids over a medium heat. As the mixture starts to heat up it will thicken and become homogeneous. Keep scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring until it comes together into a sauce.

*Vegetable Stock:   We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.

*Flour:  We used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose baking flour blend.  You can use the flour of your choice.

*Miso:  We used Miso Master Organic Mellow White Premium Lite Miso, Certified Gluten Free.  Miso really lends itself to balancing flavors when you don’t use oil.  You can also use chickpea miso for a soy free version.

*Dried Crushed Thyme Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. Dried and crushed thyme leaves are not the same as ground thyme. Ground thyme has a powdery consistency. Whereas dried and crushed thyme leaves have texture.  You can use either in this recipe.  We used dried and crushed thyme leaves, so if you are using ground thyme, scale back to half of the amount indicated in the recipe and check for flavor consistency.

*Pasta of choice:  You can use your favorite pasta in this dish. The traditional Greek dish calls for using pastitsio noodles or mostaccioli. We used a GF ziti pasta that worked beautifully.

*Baking Soda:  Baking soda is often used as a neutralizer for dishes that contain a lot of acidity, typically from tomatoes.  We use it in this dish to remove some of the tomato acidity (from the crushed tomatoes) without losing the tomatoey flavor. When you add it, the mixture will bubble up, then settle down as it neutralizes the acidity.

*Sea Salt:  Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.

*Serving:  5-6

*Storage:  Refrigerate and use within 5 days.