Pastitsio is a staple food for all Greek families and I cannot think of anybody who does not like this dish. However during lent we abstain from eating any kind of meat or products derived from animals and although I have seen some vegan recipes, most of them have milk in the béchamel. For this reason I decided to make my own recipe which we can enjoy during Lent.
To replace the meat sauce, I decided to make a vegetable sauce and added a variety of vegetables and herbs. Although normally I would add only the canned tomatoes, I decided to added an extra cubed tomato for some extra colour in the dish and the carrots, combined with the onions, added a lovely sweetness to the sauce. The filling turned out to be too much for the quantity I needed, so you can either add half the ingredients or store the remaining in the deep freezer to be used another time, as I did.
Although I do not have a garden but merely a small balcony, I grow a few herbs in pots and I’ve recently bought some more herbs so you will be seeing a lot of these in my recipes and of course the difference is amazing. In this recipe, I used fresh parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme from my pots and laurel I picked that morning after walking at Hymettus mountain, which added a lovely aromatic taste to the sauce.
The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!