Monday, August 15, 2011

Vege-Head Pot Pies

I've got one. You've got one. We've all got one.

You know who I'm talking about: The Meat and Potatoes Person in your life.

You've tried convincing them with a fresh kale and apple salad. You've attempted to woo them with your favorite quinoa dish. You've even gone so far as to make tofu-laced mac n' cheese.

But your efforts prove fruitless. The Meat always wins.

Until now.

My Meat and Potatoes Person is my sweet father-in-law. He has a heart of gold, a brilliant mind, and a stomach that loves steak. And bacon. And brats.

This week, Tom is visiting us for a few days. We're looking forward to relaxing chats on the porch and some classic Dad-Son bonding time for Adam.

But when it comes to cooking, I've been on the edge of a full-fledged panic. I spent the better part of Saturday surrounded by cookbooks, calling out recipe titles to Adam, only to have him reluctantly shake his head "no."

"What about the Spicy Moroccan Bread Salad? He'd love that!"

"Oh! Curried Quinoa with Mango will be perfect, don't you think?"

"Dude. Seriously. Who wouldn't love our Barbeque Tempeh Sandwiches?"

No, no, and...definitely no.

I had to switch gears. When it comes to cooking for one's favorite meat-loving carnivore, a girl must truly put herself in a Meat and Potatoes Mindset. Read: hearty, filling, traditional.

Solution? Pot Pies, of course! Veganomicon's recipe for classic vegetarian pot pies sounded like the perfect cuisine to satisfy Tom and please my vegetarian lifestyle. Be still, my heart :)

If August seems too early to be cooking a casserole this hearty, make sure you bookmark this one for that first chilly Fall evening. With a recipe this tasty, you just might find your Meat and Potatoes Person coming to your side of the food divide. Just ask Tom: he went back for a seconds.

Vegan Pot Pie
(adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

An added bonus for this recipe is its make-ahead quality. You can spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon creating the pie, then pop it in the refrigerator before baking. Voila! It's ready to go in the oven when you get home from work on Monday.

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 TBSP. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegan shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegan "butter" (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 to 1 - 1/2 cups ice water
  • 4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Filling Ingredients:
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 - 2 cups cubed seitan
  • 1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2/3 + 1-1/2 cups veggie broth, divided
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
1) To prepare the crust: Combine crust dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter and shortening; mix using a fork until crumbly.

2) In a separate bowl, measure out 1 cup of ice water; stir in the vinegar. Slowly add the vinegar-water to the dough, gently mixing until the dough holds together. If needed, you can add a little more ice water (only a spoonful at a time!) until the dough holds together.

3) Divide the dough into 2 balls--one dough ball should be slightly larger than the other.

4) Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll the larger dough ball out until is approximately 3 inches larger than the casserole dish you will be using. Place on parchment or wax paper, and cover with another sheet of parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

5) Roll the smaller dough ball on a floured work surface until it reaches the size of the casserole dish you will be using (this will be the top of your pot pie!). Place on wax or parchment paper, and cover with another sheet of wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

6) To prepare the filling: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat on the stovetop. Add seitan and soy sauce, and saute for about 8 minutes. Set aside.

7) In a soup pot, heat about 3 TBSP of olive oil and stir in the flour. Stir frequently and continue heating for about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped onion, carrot, potato, and celery; cook for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly.

8) Add 2/3 cup veggie broth to the pot and continue cooking for about 2 - 3 minutes. Add frozen peas, remaining veggie broth, thyme, mustard powder, sage, black pepper, and salt. Bring the mixture a simmer and cook for about 8 - 12 minutes, until the broth has reduced and a thin gravy has started to form.

9) Remove larger disc of dough from the refrigerator and press into your casserole dish. Pour filling over crust and top with remaining disc of dough. Flute edges of the crust together using a fork. Pierce a few holes in the top of the crust as well.

10) Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes, until the filling is boiling and the crust is lightly browned. Also, place a large, rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack beneath your casserole while baking--this dish can sometimes bubble over!

11) Definitely allow to cool 10 - 15 minutes before slicing--it's piping hot straight out of the oven!


  1. Oh my gosh...I might seriously try to make this for my meat and taters loving husband!!!

    I'm so glad you are back!

  2. My "meat and taters" guy has become a "veggie" guy, and he'd love this! :)

  3. You are soo right about pot pie. Everyone loves it, no matter the filling. We try to do meatless a couple times a week and veggie pot pie is always a win!

  4. It can be tough to cook for my meat head too. Don't get me wrong, I love meat, but could easily only eat it a few times per week.
    Even if a meal is packed with proteins, greens, and carbs, the meat head will claim he is hungry until he eats meat. *sigh*

  5. this looks so good:) pot pies are my fav go-to meal for something comforting. thank you for sharing this.

  6. wow, this looks very delicious from the photos. great vegan recipe. must try eat vegan food once a week :)
    glad i blog walk to your site.. hi, i am from malaysia,do visit my blog , would love to read a comment from you too. have a nice day

  7. wow, such a delicious looking vegan pie.. beautiful photos. ,must try be a vegan once a week
    glad i blog walk to your site.. hi, i am from malaysia,do visit my blog , would love to read a comment from you too. have a nice day

  8. mmm looks great! glad your father in law liked it!