Vegetarian Pot Pie with Lentil Pasta
If you’ve wanted to make comfort food healthy, this recipe is for you. As I've told you in the past, I often try to make vegetarian versions of the meat dishes I cook. One of my favorite dishes is chicken pot pie, and today I decided to make a variation of the dish with lentils and pastina pasta. I placed the mixture in mini soup bowls and covered them with puff pastry baked until golden and flaky.
The dish is fairly healthy, yet very flavorful due to the generous amounts of ginger, soy bacon bits, coriander, parsley and cilantro. The flavors and texture are spot on for a cold evening meal.
Yields: 6 servings5 tablespoons black lentils
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
¼ cups pastina pasta
½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste (click on the link for the recipe)
3 (5 x 5-inch) puff pastry squares, store-bought
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cilantro
3 tablespoons curly parsley
1 tablespoon soy bacon bits
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetable broth
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
For the pasta: Bring about 1 quart of water to a boil. Add the pasta, bring back to a full boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the pasta is cooked all the way through evenly. Cook the pasta for about 8 minutes total. Salt the water half way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the pasta and the pasta will be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so that it doesn't stick to the bottom. Drain the pasta (do NOT rinse). Set aside in a large fine-mesh strainer.
For the black lentils: Wash the lentils. Discard any floating or odd-shaped lentils. Wash and rinse thoroughly in several water baths.
In a small pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the ginger garlic paste, soy bacon bits and lentils. Stir well and add the vegetable broth and ½ cup of water. Add the julienned ginger, turmeric powder, mint leaves, cilantro and 2 tablespoons of curly parsley. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Bring to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and keep stirring every now and then so the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pot; cook for another 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice.
Add the pastina pasta and more water if necessary (I didn't; it depends on how soupy you like it) and the remaining parsley.
Lightly brush the inside of the mini-soup bowls with butter. Remove the excess butter. Fill the bowls with the lentil pasta mixture.
For the pie crust:
Using a small-sized cookie cutter, cut out 2 holes in each puff pastry square. The disks should be slightly larger than the circumference of the soup bowls. Gather the remaining puff pastry and form 6 long strips, the size of the circumference of the soup bowls.
Place the strips of puff pastry dough around the edge of the soup bowl, then cover the bowls with disks of puff pastry. Fold the excess dough under itself. Seal and crimp the dough to fold over the side with your fingers. Press the edges of the pot pie using a fork and create a pretty design. Brush the dough with a little melted butter using a silicone brush. Make 2- 3 slits on the top of each pot pies using a paring knife.
Place the 6 mini pot pies on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F and rotate the baking pan for even baking. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the pie crust is golden and flaky.
Remove from the oven and let the pot pies cool down for about 15 minutes.
You can find black lentils (dal) at any Indian stores.
I usually use store-bought puff pastry dough from the Iranian store. I know what you're going to ask: Why the Iranian store? I have often found that the puff pastry dough sold at local chain stores is made with hydrogenated oils instead of butter. At the Iranian store, it's always made with butter. Make sure to check the ingredients on the package, to be sure it doesn't contain any lard if you're serving this meal for vegetarians.
I added soy vegetarian bacon bits for a smoky flavor and an added saltiness. You can substitute your favorite charcuterie meat (preserved meat) or simply with salt.
For a vegan version, you can substitute oil for the butter.
It is important to slit a few vents into the dough on top of the pot pie to prevent the filling from bursting out during baking.Published By: on November 1, 2010.