Vegetarian Pastitsio Recipe

vegetable cooking spray
12oz Morningstar Farms Recipe Crumbles or similar product
1cup chopped onion 8oztomato paste
1/3cupwater up to 1/2 cup
Salt and pepper to taste
1cup elbow macaroni
6tbl grated Parmesan cheese divided
1/2tsp cinnamon or more to taste
1/4tsp nutmeg optional
12oz evaporated skim milk 1 can
4tsp light butter or margarine
2x eggs lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9″ x 7″ or similar deep 11 cup casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray. Put a pot of water up to boil.

Spray a 9″ or 10″ nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Saute onion for 1 or 2 minutes; add the vegetable protein crumbles and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper and some nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions for the minimum amount of time to become just barely al dente. Drain under cold running water to stop cooking, then drain again. Return to pasta cooking pot and toss with 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 or 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of the macaroni evenly in the bottom of the casserole. Spread the vegetable protein crumbles over the macaroni layer. Sprinkle with just a touch more cinnamon and 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Cover with the remaining macaroni.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly. In a small saucepan, heat the evaporated skim milk with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Whisk half of the warm milk/butter mixture into the eggs, then return the eggs mixture to the saucepan and whisk with the rest of the milk.

Pour the milk/butter/egg mixture evenly over the entire casserole; it will not lay on top but will sink down – this is just fine. Dust the top of the casserole evenly with the remaining 1 – 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan.

Bake the casserole for 1 hour, or until egg mixture is set and top is crusty and golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Note: I used regular, not fat-free, parmesan; Land O’Lakes light butter; Morningstar Farms brand vegetable protein crumbles (which, by the way, I thought were much much much better than the Green Giant Harvest Burgers for Recipes kind).

This recipe was great and not too much of a hassle to make, not even on a weeknight. I will definitely make it again; can see it becoming a family standard. It is also something I would make for company – vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

I must say that with a big old mound of spinach and some French bread with roasted red peppers, this made quite a filling and satisfying feast. And it was a lot more food for not many more calories than a Lean Cuisine or similar type frozen entree.

NOTES : Serve with French bread and steamed spinach.

I found the original recipe in Sue Spitler’s 1001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes_. But I made a few changes, both in ingredients and in preparation. Mostly, I wanted to make the casserole in a smaller, deeper pan so make it thicker, and once I did that I figured I could get by with less of the custardy topping.

I was very pleased with the results, and the whole family enjoyed it. I am posting both the original recipe and my adaptation here.