This elegant, hearty showstopper of a pie is 100% vegan, and perfect for winter potlucks and holiday dinners.
Every vegan and vegetarian knows the struggle: you’re invited to dinner at someone else’s house during the holidays, and you don’t want to be a pain in the ass, so you offer to bring a dish. Or you’re at a potluck with omnivores, and you don’t want to look like the sad kid who just has a bowl of kibble while everyone else feasts. So you need a dish. But you don’t want to hear a bunch of questions like these:
“Is that all you’re eating?”
“There’s nothing to that.”
“You and your weird food.”
Okay, that one’s not a question.
This is a hearty, savoury pie inspired by the other flavours that will probably be on your hosts’ holiday table (sage and rosemary, mushrooms and wild rice), so that everyone can have a piece if they like. Different, but packed with classic French-kitchen flavour. There’s no fake meat to freak anyone out. It’s not too spicy for a WASP grandma, but the fresh herbs and the creamy (yet dairy-free!) béchamel sauce are irresistible. I ate it for lunch and I’m gonna eat it for dinner.
It’s a perfect potluck dish. You can make it ahead, freeze it, and reheat it at someone else’s place. Or freeze it before it’s baked (cool the filling before adding it to the pie, if you go that route) and then put it in the oven when you’re half an hour away from eating.
Tips and Additions
I’ve used my Mom’s pie crust recipe here, although pie crust is a very personal thing. Use whatever works for you! This one strikes a balance between flakiness and holding together—it’s not lighter-than-air, explodes-when-your-fork-touches it, but it’s not heavy or lifeless either. You can use whatever mushrooms you like: I had brown criminis and white button mushrooms, and some dried shiitakes that I soaked in wine because I’m fancy. The rice adds some body to the filling and helps it hold together in thick, aesthetically pleasing slices when you dish it up.
There’s no garlic in this, and that feels weird to me as a matter of principle even though it tastes great without it. If you want, add a couple of cloves while sauteeing the leeks, or even add a whole head of roasted and mashed garlic to the béchamel sauce. I’m sure you will do no harm, except to vampires.
If Mom’s rolling-pin method of transferring the dough from the countertop to the pie dish doesn’t work, use The Kitchn’s alternate method of transferring pie dough. The shortening-based crust also doesn’t burn as easily as a butter-based one will, so score one for veganism.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening
- ice water
- ¾ cup white and wild rice mixture, cooked according to package directions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek, trimmed of its green ends, halved and sliced
- 3 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced or roughly chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp vegan margarine
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ¾ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp fresh savory, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine
- Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the shortening and use a pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until you get a consistent texture of coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle ice-cold water into the flour mixture, a few tablespoons at a time. Mix with a fork, not your hands (the heat from your fingers will warm the ingredients too much). Stir vigorously to work the moisture evenly into the flour. Note that in cold climates in winter, you might need more water than you would in summer: the air is dryer.
- When the pastry begins to hold together in a dough and pull away from the sides of the bowl, you can shape it a little bit with your hands to form a ball.
- Divide the pastry ball in two.
- On a floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out from the centre to the outer edges, not pressing the edges too hard. Keep turning and shaping the dough so that it stays roughly circular while you roll it out. As the crust gets thinner, you can really press hard while rolling; the thinner the better, so long as it's not falling apart.
- Place the rolling pin at one edge of the dough, and gently roll the dough onto the pin. Use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to a 9.5" deep-dish pie plate, and shape the crust to the dish a bit with your hands.
- Refrigerate the pie dish and the other half of the dough.
- Prepare the white and wild rice according to package directions. Set aside.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-low.
- Add the sliced leek, followed by the mushrooms. You can slice some and chop others to vary the textures.
- Sprinkle salt and brown sugar over the leeks and mushrooms, stir.
- Cover the skillet for about 5 minutes to let the vegetables sweat. Sautee until the leeks have softened and the mushrooms have become softer and smaller.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the mushroom-leek mixture and set aside in the same dish as the rice.
- In the same skillet, add vegan margarine and let it melt.
- Add the flour, whisking it together with the margarine.
- Add the almond milk, wine, and the nutritional yeast. Stir constantly while mixture thickens, which should only take a couple of minutes.
- Add the rosemary, tarragon, savory, and sage. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
- Add the sauce to the mushroom-leek filling.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove the pie dish from the fridge and add the filling.
- Roll out the remaining pie crust dough as before, using the same method to transfer it to the dish.
- Trim excess from around the edge of the dish, and pinch the two crusts together, tucking them inside the lip of the dish. Flute the edges or otherwise decorate, if desired, and use a knife to make a vent in the centre of the pie.
- Use a small amount of almond milk (no more than a teaspoon) to brush the crust of the pie, so that it will turn golden-brown in the oven.
- Place pie in the oven. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust looks nicely browned.