Keto Pastitsio is the number one requested recipe I have been receiving from readers lately. Of course, as the name says, it’s a famous Greek (and Italian) dish made with pasta, minced meat sauce, béchamel, and cheese topping. The original version has probably been inspired by Moussaka. For decades, Pastitsio played the main role in seducing the tourists with Greek cuisine. However, how healthy is the original version?
Wikipedia on Pastitsio
Pastitsio takes its name from the Italian pasticcio, a large family of baked savory pies which may be based on meat, fish, or pasta. Many Italian versions include a pastry crust, some include béchamel. The word pasticcio comes from the vulgar Latin word pastīcium derived from pasta, and means “pie”, and has developed the figurative meanings of “a mess”, “a tough situation”, or a pastiche.
The typical Greek version has a bottom layer that is bucatini or other tubular pasta, with cheese and egg as a binder; a middle layer of ground beef, veal or lamb with tomato and cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice; another layer of pasta; and a top layer of sauce, varying from an egg-based custard to a flour-based Béchamel or a Béchamel with cheese (known as Mornay sauce in France). Grated cheese is often sprinkled on top. Pastitsio is a common dish, and is often served as a main course, with a salad.
Keto Pastitsio reformation
The original version has a base of the thickest possible bucatini or penne. A classical Greek minced meat sauce (which is the only good part) is found in the middle. The topping is made of béchamel sauce and melted cheese. My primary problem, of course, was the base! In fact, I have been working on the Keto pasta recipe, but in this specific case, I decided to first introduce the simplified Keto solution for Keto Pastitsio.
Instead of going through the process of boiling pasta, you will just prepare a thick batter that will resemble a cake. This will serve as your Keto pastitsio base! In the end, the taste and texture will be almost the same, if not better!
Ketonising the Béchamel sauce
The tasty yet unhealthy sauce, invented by Italians (not French), has been used in most of the dishes that resemble Pastitsio. Lasagna, for example, is unthinkable without Béchamel. But, it contains wheat flour or even corn starch in some cases. Do we want this on Keto? Of course not! I already came up with a great substitute that works both as a tasty Keto Béchamel and wonderful macronutrient booster to any Keto dish. I’ve used it in Keto Moussaka and Keto Souffle recipes and it really works perfectly! In fact, it’s tastier than Béchamel!
Make it 100% Mediterranean
Three postulates of Keto Mediterranean diet promote organic, natural product, slow home cooking and having lots of fun in the process. This is something that will change your perspective on life in general. When you accept the Keto Mediterranean lifestyle, things coming out of your kitchen will look and taste like works of art! This will give you a boost in inspiration and some crazy new ideas. The unusual recipe ideas will keep coming to your mind! This is exactly what happened to my wife and me when we started the quest of Ketonisation. Remember, slow cooking is always best cooking! Ask the masters in this department – the mighty grandmas – they will tell you that slow cooking is the main secret of their perfect culinary talent!
- 3 large eggs free-range
- 150 g (2/3 cup) sour cream organic
- 4 tbsp sunflower seed meal organic
- 4 tbsp flaxseed meal organic
- 2 tbsp psyllium powder organic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp olive-oil extra virgin
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 700 g (1.5 lb) minced beef 30-50% fat
- 1 medium tomato finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper finely chopped
- 100 ml (1/2 cup) bone broth or water
- 2 bay leaves dried
- 1 tsp spearmint dried
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder organic
- 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1 large egg
- 3 large eggs free-range
- 300 g sour cream
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 4 tbsp aged sheep cheese chopped or grated
- Mix eggs with sour cream in a mixing bowl and start adding the dry ingredients spoon by spoon. Your batter will get thick.
- Grease a 15'x11' (40x25 cm) baking pan with some butter and transfer the batter. Spread it nicely to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes at 150ºC (302ºC)
- While the base is baking, melt the butter with olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced meat and let it brown. Keep mixing.
- Add the chopped tomato and pepper and stir. Start adding bone broth or water little by little. Let the sauce thicken. Add bay leaves.
- Add salt, cinnamon, spearmint, oregano and let it simmer for 10 minutes so that the sauce thickens.
- When the sauce is thick and creamy, remove it from heat. Add freshly ground pepper and let it cool down a bit. Now add 1 egg and stir well. Remove bay leaves.
Assembling the Pastitsio
- Take the base out of the oven and spread the meat sauce on it.
- Beat the eggs with sour cream, salt and nutmeg and pour this mixture over the meat sauce.
- Bake the Pastitsio in the oven for 25 minutes at 170ºC (338ºF). In the end, sprinkle sheep cheese all over the top and return it in the oven for 5 minutes so that the cheese melts and creates a crisp crust.