What Is the Difference Between Pastitsio and Lasagna?

Lasagna is always number one on the list for anyone who loves Italian foods. For many, pasta of any shape and size is considered the same. However, are Lasagna and Pastitsios the same or different?

Greek Pastitsio has distinct layers of pasta, meat, creamy bechamel sauce, and cheese. Italian Lasagna is made with unbroken sheets of pasta with the repeated layering of Bolognese sauce, pasta, and cheese if needed.

Comparison between Pastitsio (left) and Lasagna (right)
Comparison between Pastitsio (left) and Lasagna (right)

The article below mentions more detail about the differences between the two – read on!

How are the two different?

Lasagna is considered an Italian dish, and it originates from the Italian city of Naples during the 5th to 15th centuries. On the other hand, Pastitsio is a Greek-based baked pasta food that emerged during the 18th century. Pastitsio is also commonly known as “Greek pasta.”

When considering the insides of the two dishes, the differences are as clear as day. Lasagna has the foundation of a strong, flavorful red Bolognese sauce, usually made with ground beef in a tomato sauce, seasoned well according to taste. The base layer of the dish has the meat sauce, followed by a layer of cooked lasagna sheets, topped again with the Bolognese sauce and a layer of cheese and baked. 

Pastitsio is a casserole dish that uses Feta tossed pasta and a creamy bechamel sauce that is not as moist as that of Lasagna – it is specially infused with cinnamon and clove. Furthermore, this dish makes use of white bechamel sauce. When layering, the bottom layer of the dish has a hefty amount of pasta, followed by the meat sauce being stacked firmly and topped with olive oil, creamy bechamel sauce, and grated cheese and baked. 

The individual layers are distinct in Pastitsio and somewhat blended in Lasagna. 

Assembly Differences

Lasagna and Pastitsio have remarkable differences in the way they are prepared. A detailed explanation is provided in the above paragraphs. A major difference in the assembly is the layers that each contains. 

A basic recipe for a Greek dish – Pastitsio contains four distinct layers –pasta, meat, bechamel sauce, and cheese. Few alterations exist for casserole dishes this in terms of the number of possible layers, and most are firm with these four. 

On the other hand, Lasagna also has four basic layers of pasta noodles. A minimum of sixteen sheets are used, and the layering depends highly on the depth and height of the dish. If extra sheets of Lasagna are available, they are stacked on the bottom so as not to add unwanted thickness to the top of the dish. 

Since the total lasagna layers change according to the dish, the layers range between 6 to 10 depending on one’s preference. 

What is Bechamel Sauce?

Béchamel sauce is a creamy white sauce made with milk and a white roux. It uses nutmeg and salt for seasoning and has a smooth, creamy texture to it.

The role of tomato sauce in lasagna

Tomato Sauce: This can be used as an alternative to the Bolognese sauce if the latter is unavailable. It can be used in the making of Bolognese sauce as an alternative to fresh tomatoes. The best form of this sauce for lasagna is Marinara sauce.

Health Benefits

Lasagna and Pastitsio contain the basic requirements of health that are needed regularly – fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The division of nutritional benefits of each is mentioned in the table below.  


Different types of dishes

Several modifications exist to these dishes, particularly Lasagna, that have evolved according to one’s flavor preference. These include:

  • Cheese Spinach Broccoli Lasagna: This is a vegetarian lasagna where the meat sauce is replaced with a mixture of spinach, broccoli, and cheese. 
  • Cheese Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna: Replacement of the meat sauce with a blend of mushrooms and squash, topped with cheese. 
  • Lasagna Roll–ups: A fun twist to the regular dish, these roll-ups can and cannot be meatless and are full of flavor and cheese. 
  • Gluten–Free Zucchini Lasagna: This is a low-carb, gluten-free spin on the basic lasagna recipe. The noodles are replaced with thin zucchini strips, and everything else stays the same!

On the other hand, Pastitsio stays the same and does not cater to popular varieties as does Lasagna and remains the same in most recipes. 


How long should Lasagna be cooked? Lasagna is baked in the oven for approximately 40 minutes if the noodles are not boiled. If the dish is prepared with boiled and ready-to-eat noodles, the dish is placed in the oven mainly to melt and blend the cheese. In this case, the Lasagna is baked for roughly 25 to 30 minutes. 

  • Is Lasagna different in Italy?

Lasagna is different in the southern and northern areas of Italy. In the south, Lasagna is made using dried sheets with a rich meat sauce and topped with cheese. In the north, Lasagna is popularly made using green egg pasta with spinach and a diverse layering of béchamel and Parmesan cheese. 

  • Which cheeses are used most commonly in Lasagna and Pastitsio?

The main cheeses used in these dishes are mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta. Lasagna uses a blend of these cheeses and often is modified with close to six cheese types. Pastitsio mainly uses Parmesan for the topping. 


Pastas of all types and sizes have changed how cuisines are served, whether a simple pasta salad or an elaborative dish with meat and cheese – plates of pasta know how to win hearts! While new and improved versions of all food items are continuously emerging, kicking back and indulging in the original dishes is always a good idea. 

Whether you like Lasagna more or prefer Pastitsio, without a doubt, both prove to be a blessing for one’s taste buds!

Andrea Arthur