When I first started blogging, I was a member of a fun dietitian and food blogger group called “The Recipe Redux”. We’d have monthly themes to guide recipe development posts and then would link to each other’s content to share the goods with all of our readers! While RR eventually dissolved, one of my favorite challenges each year was to remake a recipe from a cookbook we already owned. But, not any recipe, we needed to turn to a page number that included the current year. Back in 2016, I reached for the Throwdown with Bobby Flay cookbook that my mother-in-law had gotten me years ago, since we loved that show. It was easy to make a decision to turn his pot pie into a vegetarian lentil pot pie!
Picking the Pot Pie
Since we watch these shows together, I waited until Tim was home from work to increase the excitement and turned to page 216. I landed on the Chicken Pot Pie episode of Throwdown. Bobby had won (shocker), but after I reduxed his chicken pot pie into a veggie lentil pot pie, Tim and I think I could take him down in a vegetarian edition of Beat Bobby Flay.
I won’t lie and say you can whip this up on a Wednesday during a long work week, but taking the time when you can is absolutely worth it. Now, as a mom, I don’t get to cook detailed recipes as often as I’d like, but really miss how therapeutic cooking feels for me, so dive into recipes like this when I can on the weekend. A lentil pot pie sounds more than perfect during the winter edition of the 2020-2021 pandemic, too!
Flavorful Lentil Pot Pie Dough
What I was most nervous about here was the dough. I am clearly not a pastry chef, and at the time having made pie crust only once before. I used a mixture of mostly whole wheat pastry flour and some imported Italian 00 flour (the kind I love for homemade pasta). I blended the flours with Earth Balance brand buttery spread. Sweet potato added extra moisture, nutrients, and color!
I was nervous using vegan butter and the wheat flour consistency wise, especially since I was experimenting with sweet potato. Still, I was thrilled to be successful the first time I tried! Don’t worry, I didn’t have one of those fancy pastry cutters for cutting the butter into the flour either at this time. I just used my potato masher and it all worked out fine! It may seem like you aren’t getting the right consistency but once you dump the dough on the floured counter and knead, everything comes together.
Veggie Lentil Pot Pie Filling
After making the dough and throwing it in the fridge, you’ll prep all of your veggies. I prefer to dice pretty finely, but go with bigger pieces if you prefer larger and more crisp chunks in your pot pies.
The filling takes a bit of TLC. Normally when things are cooking on the stove for a while, I take time to clean up and prep another dish. But if you don’t pay attention every 5 minutes, it may start to stick to the pot.
Assembling Your Pot Pie
Once the filling is done, you’ll be able to roll out the dough. You want to cut it to fit around your ramekins – about 1/4- 1/2 inch extra on each side, diameter wise. Then, fill the ramekins up about 3/4-7/8 of the way with your mixture.
If you don’t keep the dough in the fridge at least a couple of hours, it may not seal well over the ramekin. I learned this the hard way. If you’re low on time, throw it in the freezer for a half hour and then transfer to the fridge for another half hour. Be sure when you lay the dough over, that you press and seal around the sides well and that you don’t just push into the top – this will cause the dough to break.
Then the easy part – pop them right in the oven and bake for a short 18-20 minutes!
Lentil Pot Pie
This vegetarian lentil pot pie with flaky sweet potato crust is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night!
Sweet Potato Crust
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/4 cup organic 00 flour (or unbleached all-purpose)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter cut into pieces
- 1 large egg or Just Egg replacer
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1 cup sweet potato puree (from large baked sweet potato)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 medium onion diced (about 1 1/4 C)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup organic 00 flour (or unbleached all-purpose)
- 4 cups unsweetened soy milk warm
- 6 ounces mixed mushrooms (I used cremini & baby bella) finely chopped
- 2 large carrots finely diced
- 1 medium leek quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 C)
- 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 3 cups cooked (or low-sodium canned) lentils
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg beaten (as egg wash for crust)
Sweet Potato Crust
In a large bowl stir flour, salt, and pepper together before cutting in the butter. The mixture should form a course meal.
Whisk the egg, soy milk and sweet potato together before adding to the flour mixture. Stir well with a rubber spatula until well incorporated.
Pour mixture on a floured surface and need until dough is no longer sticky and slightly smooth. Form a ball and flatten before wrapping in plastic and placing in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees as you prepare the filling.
Melt butter in a medium-large saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, cover and let cook about 5 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add carrots and leeks plus 1/2 C of the soy milk, stir, and cover for 5 minutes.
Add the flour to the mixture and stir occasionally until a light brown color is formed. Then, slowly whisk in the rest of the milk and reduce heat to medium. Add thyme and peppers. Cook 20-30 minutes, until thickened. If it becomes too thick, add extra milk or water to thin.
Once thickened, add the peas, mushrooms and lentils. Stir well and reduce to a simmer.
Cut dough in half and roll each half separately on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut circles slightly larger than the ramekin tops (mine are 4×2.5 inch).
Fill bowls or ramekins 3/4-7/8 full and cover with dough rounds. Press around edges to seal and cut several small slits in the center of the dough for ventilation.
Place the bowls on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown, about 18 minutes for 4 inch ramekins. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.