Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spinach and Sweet Potato Pie

I'm a big fan of dinner pies.  It's always such a good feeling to puncture the crust and release the savory steam trapped inside.  Plus, dinner pies are a pretty low-maintenance way to prepare veggies in a filling way.  This Spinach and Sweet Potato Pie puts a Mexican spin on more traditional pot pies. 

The full dish.

While I've used standard pie crust to top other pot pies, we tried puff pastry on this one (with limited success, as I'll explain below). 

Recipe:     
Spinach and Sweet Potato Pie
  • 1/2 pound puff pastry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • about 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (enough to cover the potatoes in the pot)
  • 2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • a dash of pepper
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and set out a casserole dish.  Take the puff pastry out of the freezer to thaw as you prepare the rest of the dish.

Then heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown.  Then add the jalapeno and garlic and cook for another minute.

Next, add the sweet potatoes and vegetable broth to the pot and stir.  Cover the pot and cook until the sweet potatoes are slightly softened.  Add the spinach and cook (uncovered) for another two minutes.  Then add the black beans, cumin, lime juice, pepper, nutritional yeast, and hot sauce and cook until the vegetable broth is mostly absorbed. Stir in the cilantro.

Finally, pour the mixture into the casserole dish and lay the pastry over the top, folding over any extra that would otherwise extend beyond the edge of the dish.  Bake for about 16 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Yields about 8 servings.

Comments:
Taste:            
We enjoyed this dish; but, as Rachel put it, it was unexciting.  As I alluded to earlier, the puff pastry caused some problems: it didn't puff up, and it tasted a bit doughy despite the fact that the top had seemingly browned sufficiently.  Perhaps we could have cooked the dish a bit more without burning it, so I'd give that a try.  I would also use another can of beans next time, since the black beans were a bit lost among the spinach and sweet potato.  That said, the dish had a good, almost smoky flavor and I did enjoy eating it. 
Accessibility:          
The puff pastry was on sale (at least it had that going for it!).  On the whole, the ingredients list is pretty accessible, but unfortunately nutritional yeast has yet to hit mainstream market shelves.  We went to Whole Foods to find it.   
  Ease of Preparation:          
Considering this recipe requires both cooking and baking, it's pretty fast and easy to handle. 
Non-vegan friendliness:           
This is a filling dish and I wouldn't say it's missing any obvious animal-based ingredients.    

2 comments:

  1. Carol --- I was wondering how easy it was to find a vegan-friendly puff pastry. Was it frozen or refrigerated? did you consider making your own?

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    1. We found it frozen (I don't think there was any refrigerated at the store). I don't have much experience with puff pastry so I didn't think to make my own, but this looks like a pretty good recipe: http://www.veganbaking.net/pastries/718-puff-pastry

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