Pies are great, filling & satisfying, and here’s a tasty vegan lentil & spinach pie that hits that proverbial spot. It also maximises the protein content, by mixing a grain (in the pastry) with a pulse in the filling. I’ve also used wholemeal pastry and gone for some extra omega 3’s and proteins in the form of flax seeds.
I made the pie filling mega flavourful and satisfying by using lentils, onions, tomatoes, spinach, sundried tomatoes and some spices. There are many variations you can try, all manner of combinations, and this is just one flavourful version.
To make it easy to serve I’m using a bottom & top crust – so a pie dish with angled sides is essential. The only other option would be a loose bottom deep tart tin, but they are not generally available.
Make sure the pie crust is nice and crumbly by using as little water as possible to mix the dough. This recipe uses rough puff pastry, but you can just use ordinary short crust if you’re not confident with that. If you’re using short crust, avoid kneading the dough: just gather it into a ball, then roll out immediately. Some pastry tart style recipes call for blind baking, but when you’re adding a top and bottom crust that doesn’t work.
Do have the sauce or filling nice and wet as the pastry will absorb liquid and a dry pie is not apetising. Lastly don’t skimp on the spices and vegetable stock as they are essential to give the pie a savoury mouth feel.
Done properly this pie is a “nutrition bomb” for your palate. Serve your vegan lentil & spinach pie with some seasonal veg and mash or chips. Some extra gravy – like my onion gravy or red onion gravy helps it along the way……
Vegan Lentil & Spinach Pie
- 1 pyrex or similar slope sided pie dish 25cm pie dish including the edges (21cm internal diameter)
Ingredients for the pastry
- 375 g wholemeal pastry flour
- 375 g hard vegan block margarine Flora is very good.
- 1½ teasps salt I used lo-salt
- 35 g well ground omega 3 seed mix optional - reduce the flour to 340g if using seeds.
- 120 g iced water add ice cubes to tepid water
Ingredients for the filling
- 250 g cooked whole red, green, or puy lentils 1 standard cans worth when drained
- 200 g fresh baby spinach could use frozen too - could use 250g
- 150 g finely chopped onion
- 100 g carrot - cut into small pieces
- 50 g sundried tomatoes cut into small pieces
- 1 teasp paprika
- 1 teasp veg stock powder
- 1 teasp onion powder
- 1 teasp garlic powder
- 1 teasp garlic paste
- 1 teasp ginger paste
- 1 teasp ground red peppercorns or green or black
- 400 g chopped tomatoes one standard cans worth
- 50 g tomato puree
Making the rough puff pastry
- weigh the flour and salt into either a large bowl or a food processor
- Keep the block margarine in the fridge before use - then cut into small cubes - ½ cm in size.
- tip the cubes into the bowl, or processor and then either roughly rub in by hand or pulse with the dough/pastry blade so that the lumps of margarine are broken up somewhat but not completely.
- Tip mixture into a bowl or keep in the same bowl and add the iced water. A tip to get the iced water is add a few ice cubes to room temp water, and leave a few minutes then use.
- roughly mix with a pallet knife or similar in to a rough lump of dough and put in the fridge for 20 minutes
- shape into a thick square and roll the dough out in one direction only to 20 cm by 50cm - then fold the shorter side to the centre so it's ⅔ the length it was.
- Fold the other end on top so it's now ⅓ the length it was and turn through 90 degrees and repeat the rolling out.
- Fold the same as before, cover, and put in the fridge for 20 minutes while you do the rest of the recipe.
Making the filling
- Cut the onions up finely and put in a medium pan with enough olive oil so it doesn't stick.
- chop the carrots into small pieces and add those too.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and spices to the pan and simmer gently until the carrot is beginning to soften.
- open a can of lentils or get some out of your freezer..... make sure to use whole lentils and not split lentils - split lentils will turn to mush. Or why not cook a big batch of lentils and freeze what you don't use!
- Meanwhile, wash the spinach and chop roughly - the easiest way is to just grab the leaves, bunch them together and chop them en mass. You're trying to end so each leaf is roughly cut in four - but that's just a guide.
- Add in everything else - sundried tomatoes, onion powder etc - and the spinich.
- keep cooking on a low heat until the spinach is well willted - but no more - then turn the heat off.
Rolling out the pastry and assembly of the pie
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and place on a floured surface and roll it out so it's under ¼ inch thick. It want's to be just a little over twice the size of your pie dish.
- place the upturned pie dish on the pastry to one side and cut round it for the top or lid of the pie.
- grease the pie dish and piece together the remaining pastry to cover the whole of the base and the edges of the pie dish.
- shortly before you are ready to finish the pie warm the filling up - not too hot though and pour it into the pastry case
- smooth out with a fork so the filling is level and brush the exposed edge of the pastry with either soya/oat cream, or soya/oat yogurt - whatever you have to hand basically.
- Carefully pick up and place the pre-cut pastry circle on top of the base
- crimp down all the way round with a large dinner fork so that it's sealed and prick the top in a few places with the fork to enable the steam to escape.
- bake at 200°C fan for 30 to 35 minutes until it's lightly golden - always difficult to tell with wholemeal pastry of course.
- Make sure to use a sharp knife to cut it and a pie server to get the first piece out, which is always a bit tricky!
ingredients: spinach, carrots, red or brown lentils, tomatoes, green peas