This is my healthy take on a Greek classic, Pastitsio. Instead of a rich cheesy sauce, it’s topped with a much lighter blend of yoghurt, tahini and parmesan cheese. It can also be made with beef mince if you prefer, but personally prefer to use lamb mince.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit any specific dietary requirements.
- 2 tbsp olive oil - extra virgin
- 1 red onion/s - diced
- 4 clove/s garlic - diced
- 600 g lamb mince
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 bay leaf/s
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 60 ml red wine
- 1 zucchini/s - diced into 1 cm pieces
- 2 carrot/s - diced into 1 cm pieces
- 700 g tomato passata (puree)
- 125 ml chicken stock or bone broth
- 1 tsp sea salt - or to taste
- Ground black pepper - to taste
- 30 g baby spinach - chopped (1 cup)
- 250 g rice quinoa penne pasta (or any pasta that suits)
- 1 clove/s garlic
- 500 g full-fat natural yoghurt - or greek yoghurt (2 cups)
- 2 tbsp hulled tahini
- 1 free-range or organic egg/s
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- 25 g parmesan cheese - grated (¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp pinenuts
- ¼ bunch/s fresh parsley leaves - approx. 1 handful, finely chopped
- Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Add the garlic and lamb mince, sauté to brown the mince.
- Add the cinnamon, mixed spice, bay leaf and oregano and cook for a minute until you smell their fragrance.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the red wine (it should sizzle and reduce quickly and remove the alcohol).
- Reduce the heat and add the tomato passata, broth, zucchini, carrots and seasoning.
- Cover and simmer with the lid ajar for 15-20 minutes.
- Pre-heat you oven to 180°C/ 350°F fan-forced.
- While the sauce is simmering, boil the penne.
- Once it is almost cooked, drain and rinse the pasta and mix in with the sauce and the baby spinach.
- Place into an oven proof serving dish.
- In a food processor or by hand, grate cheese and set aside.
- Then blend the garlic, yoghurt, tahini, sea salt, pepper and egg.
- Pour this over the sauce/ pasta mix, top with the grated parmesan and pine nuts.
- Bake for 10-15 mins or until the cheese is melted and the top is browned.
- Sprinkle with the chopped parsley leaves and serve with a green, leafy salad.
- I chop the onion and garlic in the TMX but cook it all in a pan. I find it cooks better that way, not as sloppy as cooking in the TMX. I then use it to grate the cheese and make the topping sauce.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
- Re-heat in a low oven until just hot.