National Pie Week – vegan style

It’s National Pie Week!  Pie’s are very close to my heart – a rich and comforting treat, best enjoyed in winter, when the weather is gloomy.

This winter has thrown a bit of a curve ball on the pie front, as our daughter is now vegan. Previously I thought catering for a veggie diet was tricky enough (I won’t lie, the odd Greggs cheese and onion pasty did sneak in) .

Vegan cooking takes meal planning to a whole new level.  I have risen to the challenge, and now have quite a selection of vegan pie recipes that are starting to feature in the Crouch household (and they are pretty good too 😊)

So, during this week, I will be celebrating Pie Week with a different vegan pie or tart every day.  I hope you enjoy.

Cottage Pie

A family favourite using soya and lentils as as an alternative to minced lamb.  Not only does this taste delicious, it’s healthy too!

Rich and comforting Cottage Pie

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion – finely diced

1 large carrot – finely diced

Half packet of frozen soya mince (approx 175g)

100g lentils – rinsed

Bisto gravy powder, prepared to 750ml

2 x veggie stock cubes

1 heaped teaspoon Marmite

100g frozen peas

900g peeled & cubed potatoes (I use Maris Pipers)

2 tablespoons dairy free spread, splash dairy free milk (I like soya),  splash soya cream

Seasoning

Method

Fry onions in the vegetable oil over a medium heat, stirring from time to time until the onions have softened and turned golden (don’t let them catch). Stir in the diced carrot and cook for a further couple of minutes.Add rinsed red lentils, adding a little more oil if necessary, otherwise they may stick to the base of the pan.

Transfer to a medium sized casserole pan.  Add the Bisto, stock cubes and Marmite and season to taste.  Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.  If the mix is too thick, add a little more water until you get a nice consistency (this is personal taste, I like the mixture to end up with a thick gravy-like consistency.

While the soya mix is simmering, pop your prepared potatoes in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil.  Cook until tender (this varies between 10 – 20 mins), drain well then mash.

Add spread, milk & soya cream to the mash and season.  Beat well with a wooden spoon to form a nice fluffy mash.

Comforting Cottage Pie

To Assemble

Spoon the soya mince mixture into the bottom of a square oven proof dish (approx. 9 in).  Top with the mash.  Ruffle the mash with a fork, to create a textured, fluffy top.  Pop in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees, until the mash forms a nice crispy top.  Perfect served with greens, or petit pois.

(as an alternative, you could make up into 4 individual pies – as in photo – yummy yum!)