Sweet bell peppers and tender zucchini stuffed with pastitsio. What could be better? Maybe a low-carb version, you ask? Well, I got you covered with that too! This recipe contains instructions for 3 versions: pastitsio filled peppers, vegetarian peppers, and low-carb stuffed peppers. I’ll leave the decision up to you.
Pastitsio is one of the most popular Greek classic recipes that is made with pasta, cheese, a meat sauce, and creamy Bechamel. There’s so much to love about this Greek version of lasagna. Since most of us are trying to get more vegetables on our plates, I got creative and thought of this roasted stuffed pepper recipe.
You can use this filling to stuff bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and even tomatoes. The vegetables are first roasted until slightly softened. This cuts the overall baking time. Once they’re filled with the hearty pastitsio filling they can be placed in a baking tray, wrapped tightly in foil, and frozen up to 3 months! Perfect for those busy weeknights.
How about some Keto/low-carb stuffed peppers and zucchini? Easy! Just make a double batch of the meat sauce and fill the vegetables with it. Even better, add spinach, chopped zucchini, mushrooms, or your favorite veggies to the sauce for a healthier and heartier stuffing. Instead of bechamel sauce, top the peppers with your favorite shredded cheese. Mozzarella, cheddar, and gruyere are all excellent options.
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- 200 grams pasta, cooked as per package instructions
- 4 bell peppers
- 1-2 zucchini
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese
For the meat sauce: (double the sauce if making the peppers low-carb)
- • 1-pound ground beef
- • 1 small onion, finely chopped
- • 4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
- • 1 (15 ounces) can of diced tomatoes, pureed
- • Salt and pepper, to taste
- • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- • Zucchini pulp (if stuffing zucchini)
For the Bechamel:
- • 2 cups of milk
- • ¼ cup olive oil or melted butter
- • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- • 1 egg
- • 1 egg yolk
- • ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F, 200 °C.
- Slice the bell peppers and zucchini in half, lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the pulp from the zucchini, leaving a little bit of a border to hold the filling. Set the zucchini pulp aside for the meat sauce. Place the vegetables in a baking tray Drizzle the veggies with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and lightly season with salt. Rub the oil all over the vegetables. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Boil the pasta according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
- Make the meat sauce:
- • Cook the onion with the oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until soft and golden.
- • Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 minutes or until soft.
- • Add the ground beef and break it up.
- • Add all of the remaining meat sauce ingredients and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
- • Stir the sauce often and it will be ready when it has thickened, and the zucchini pulp has melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove off the heat.
- Combine the pasta with the meat sauce and stir together. Add ½ cup grated parmesan cheese and mix well to combine.
- Make the Bechamel Sauce:
- • Cook the flour with the oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until toasted.
- • Add the milk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and cook until thickened. Remove from the heat.
- • Whisk the egg and the yolk together in a small bowl.
- • Add some of the hot milk mixture to the eggs. Whisk them together to temper them then add the egg mixture to the pot along with the Parmesan cheese. Whisk together until incorporated.
- Set the oven to 425 °F, 220 °C.
- Assemble the meal:
- 1. Fill the peppers with the meat and pasta filling.
- 2. Pour the bechamel sauce over each of the stuffed vegetables.
- 3. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of the cream.
- 4. Bake for 30 minutes. Broil for the last 4-5 minutes or until the sauce is golden brown.
- Enjoy the meal!
Freezer Instructions: Once the vegetables are stuffed with the filling, cover the baking tray tightly with foil and plastic wrap and store in the freezer. They will keep fresh up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator a day before baking. Bake in a preheated oven (425 °F) for 30-35 minutes.