Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel for #SundaySupper

This week #SundaySupper is traveling to the Middle East to bring you a menu of exotic and flavorful dishes.  I went with a non-traditional rendition of a very traditional dish that appears in the cuisine of several different countries with my Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel.

Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel - the traditional dish reinvented in a lighter, gluten free version | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #spaghettisquash #glutenfree

Oh my gosh, let me tell you about Friday.  I had high hopes.  Baby Smiles, who still likes to wake up every 3 or 4 hours, slept from 7:40 pm to nearly 5 am, then went back to sleep.  The Bug also was out cold, and I wasn’t falling back to sleep, so I got in my third workout of the week.  Baby Smiles started to stir, but The Bug was still asleep, so I was able to feed him before waking up the big guy.  Yeah, waking up the big guy – that is when all hell broke loose.   Apparently putting solid color underwear on him instead of underwear with characters on it was clearly worthy of inducing a tantrum of epic proportions that involved peeing in his little potty then proceed to throw the potty across his bedroom.  Yup, it was that kind of morning.

Even Baby Smiles was freaking out because I didn’t get to put him down for his nap until after he was already a little overtired.

And it didn’t end there.  The Bug jumped around his bed instead of napping, and had another screaming fit because The Hubby had to run outside to the car for a minute to grab his bag, and told The Bug to wait inside because he didn’t have socks or shoes on.  This same fit was prolonged because when he said he was thirsty, The Hubby brought him his cup instead of letting him drink out of the teensy-weensy zippy cup that already contained Baby Smiles’ backwash.

I boiled the same pot of water three different times because the first time I started it, my mom told me she was going to go straight to my uncle’s and wouldn’t be stopping for dinner because they were behind schedule, my aunt and cousin figured they’d wait till my uncle’s party to eat, and then finally I got to cook the pasta when our friends arrived.

Luckily their arrival turned things around.  The Bug’s mood changed instantly, the kids gobbled up their pasta and tomato veggie sauce, we got to chat with our friends that we don’t see often enough.  There was wine.  So a day that started with such promise and turned pretty ugly ended up being pretty awesome in the end.

Kinda like this dish.  I had the idea in my head, and it sounded fabulous.  I had it cooking and it smelled amazing.  The top had a lovely golden brown color, and the sauce was bubbling up around the edges.  I took some lovely photos of the casserole, then sunk the serving spoon through the creamy topping and saw this…

Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel - the traditional dish reinvented in a lighter, gluten free version | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #spaghettisquash #glutenfree

Yeah, it ain’t pretty.  And as a food blogger, I like pretty food.  All of you folks out there on Pinterest like pretty food.  I’m telling you, just because food is pretty doesn’t mean it tastes good, and sometimes the ugliest stuff is the most delicious.  This dish – ugly!  But the flavors were incredible.

If you are hung up on how your food looks, then make it and just close your eyes when you eat it. Or throw it in the fridge and reheat it the next day.  It’s a little less sloppy, and tastes just as good.  Maybe better!  The aforementioned friend and I polished off the leftovers.

The warm spices added to the tomato sauce gave such an incredible, exotic flavor compared to a standard tomato sauce, and it was nice and meaty and comforting, but without being as heavy as a traditional pastitsio made with pasta.

Also helping to lighten the dish was the béchamel made with Greek yogurt instead of the typical butter, flour, and whole milk or heavy cream.  The creaminess and tang was a nice contrast to the acidity and meatiness of the tomato-based sauce on the spaghetti squash.  It totally turned out as good, if not better than I hoped as I was thinking about it during middle of the night feedings.  I don’t care if it is ugly!

Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel - the traditional dish reinvented in a lighter, gluten free version | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #spaghettisquash #glutenfreeJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

And check out all of the delicious Middle Eastern recipes at the bottom of this post.

Do you have a favorite Middle Eastern dish?  Or one that you would like to try?

Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel for #SundaySupper
 
The traditional Greek or Middle Eastern dish reinvented in a lighter, lower carb, gluten free, veggie filled way.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6
Ingredients
For the Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio:
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ¼ t allspice
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • About ¼ c grated parmesan
For the Greek Yogurt Bechamel:
  • 2 c. of plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • ¼ c grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
For the Spaghetti Squash and Tomato Meat Sauce:
  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash by following these instructions for cooking in the oven or these instructions for cooking in the microwave.
  2. Scrape out the "noodles" into a large bowl using a fork and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onion starts to soften and become translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  6. Add the ground been to the skillet, and cook until cooked through and browned, crumbling it as it cooks.
  7. Once the ground beef is cooked through, drain any excess grease from the pan.
  8. Add the oregano, cinnamon, and allspice, cook for a minute or two, then add the crushed tomatoes, and simmer until heater through.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare the Greek Yogurt Bechamel according to the instructions below.
  10. Preheat your oven to 400°F, and coat a 2 quart casserole dish with oil or cooking spray.
  11. Pour the tomato meat sauce over the spaghetti squash. Depending on the size of your spaghetti squash, you may not need all of it, or you may also wish to keep some set aside to pour additional sauce over when serving.
  12. Transfer the spaghetti squash and tomato meat sauce mixture to the casserole dish.
  13. Spread the bechamel evenly over the spaghetti squash mixture, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  14. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until bubbling, and the bechamel is set and browning.
For the Greek Yogurt Bechamel:
  1. Stir together all of the ingredients in a bowl, and set aside until assembling the pastitsio in the casserole dish.
Notes
Greek Yogurt Bechamel adapted from Sumptuous Spoonfuls Moussaka.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Pastitsio with Greek Yogurt Bechamel - the traditional dish reinvented in a lighter, gluten free version | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #spaghettisquash #glutenfree

Want some more ugly but good food…

Beef-and-Potato-Skillet-Supper-2-title.jpg Roasted-Veggie-and-Balsamic-Meatloaf-2.jpg Pineapple Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes close up

And check out the rest of the Middle Eastern #SundaySupper menu:

Mezze {Appetizers}

Salata {Salads and Sides}

Main

Halwa {Desserts}

- See more at: http://marocmama.com/2013/11/quick-persian-rice-and-spiced-beef-for-a-middle-eastern-sundaysupper.html#sthash.ERnGaOvs.dpuf

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Fabulous idea to go light with a Greek yogurt based sauce, Brianne. Very smart!

    P.s. I admire your fortitude. Great strength and love do seem to be the job requirements for dealing with very little ones =)

  2. says

    Your posts make me smile because they bring back so many wonderful memories…. I can remember when my daughter would wear only Cinderella undies and nothing else would do. I love pastitsio and I can’t wait to try it with squash. Such a fabulous idea!

  3. says

    Oh, I’m so sorry for your day!!! But it was good for a giggle…since it wasn’t me :) But glad your pasta dish was DELISH…though I know you wanted that glamour shot!!!

  4. says

    Oh the challenges of being a food blogger and making food that isn’t pretty. Don’t worry about it. Some of the best tasting dishes ever are not photogenic. If you have ever seen rouladen you will know what I mean. It literally looks like sh#t but it is my all time favorite beef dish.

  5. says

    I remember those days well, Brianne. And my little ones are 20 and 22. :) I am so glad that your day ended on an upswing.

    You know what, it seems to me that most comfort food isn’t so pretty. Because the truth is that we aren’t eating those dishes for their looks, but for the flavors and textures that fill us with love. Never mind the pretty picture. I think your dish sounds wonderful.

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