It's pretty obvious from my recent posts that my husband and I are trying to follow a mostly plant-based diet, and many of you may be wondering "why the sudden switch?.” Although I do love to eat vegetables, my revised cooking attitude is tied to an unexpected medical diagnosis. As I write this post, my husband Tobin is in surgery to remove a medical port put in place to treat Stage II Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer he was diagnosed with in August of 2019. After 6 months of grueling chemotherapy, he is DISEASE FREE and expected to recover fully without relapse or complications! I would have never guessed that my healthy, energetic, and young husband would be diagnosed with a life threatening cancer. When he came home one day in late July to tell me, "they think I have lymphoma," my world fell out from under my feet. I was in a panic- there was a week that we didn't know what type or what stage. It was the scariest time of my life. How could this be happening? Why is this happening to us? When we received the diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, we were elated! That may sound so strange- how could you be excited about a cancer diagnosis? But Hodgkin's is one of the easiest cancers to treat with a very high cure rate. Luckily, Tobin endured his chemo regimen better than we had hoped. It was no walk in the park, but with support from family and friends, a strong positive outlook, amazing medical providers, and targeted nutrition, Tobin weathered the cancer storm with more strength than expected. He was able to continue working and being a great dad and husband- plus he kept most of his hair! Although I’m convinced that the chemo drugs ultimately cured my husband, I know that diet played and continues to play a big role in his recovery. We did our research and met with a holistic nutritionist right after the diagnosis. She guided us to load up on vegetables and limit (but not omit) animal protein. So now you know why I’m bombarding you with plants! We have easily adapted to the 80/20 approach: 80% plant based, 20% animal based. When I’m cooking at home, it’s mainly vegetarian or vegan. However, we’re maintaining just enough wiggle room to allow for the occasional (responsibly sourced) burger or juicy roast chicken. This ratio works for us, and we have never felt better!
These yummy pot pies prove that eating vegetarian doesn't mean sacrificing your comfort food favorites! The combo of a mildly spiced, creamy curry bubbling under a flaky puff pastry crust is enough to tempt even the most carnivorous eater. Add some rotisserie chicken if I don't have you convinced, but I promise you won't miss the meat. If you would like to make one large pot pie instead of individuals, that's fine too- but I prefer having the filling contained in it its own little vessel so that my plate doesn't flood. Nourish your body and your soul with these delicious, veggie-packed pies. Eat well to live well!
prep time: 15 min. cook time: ~1 hr. 30 min. serves: makes 6 individual pot pies
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium yukon gold potato, diced into 1/2" pieces (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bitesized florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped chives
1-14 oz box puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
*The night before you plan to make the pot pies, take the puff pastry out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator to thaw gently overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, potato, cauliflower, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook 10 minutes stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic, thyme, curry powder, turmeric, and ginger and stir to mix. Cook the mixture another 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables in the pot and toss to coat (there should be no white flour visible). Cook the flour coated veggies 2 minutes more, stirring often so that the flour doesn't burn.
Pour in the vegetable stock and coconut milk, season with 1 tsp more of salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper, and stir to combine. Bring the filling to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook 30-40 minutes (stirring occasionally so that the flour doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot), until the vegetables are fork tender. Mix in the spinach, peas, and chives and cook 3 more minutes or until the spinach has wilted and the peas have thawed. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the filling from the heat.
Grease 6 ovenproof ramekins with butter or cooking spray. Divide the filling evenly among the containers. *The pot pies can be made up to one day ahead up to this point- just cover with saran and place in fridge. Take the puff pastry out of the packaging and dust a kitchen surface lightly with flour. Lay the pastry on top of the flour dusted surface and sprinkle a little more flour on top. Use a flour dusted rolling pin to gently roll the pastry sheet (or sheets) until it is a slightly larger rectangle. Cut the pastry with a knife into 6 equal squares (they don't have to be perfect- these will look a little rustic).
Make an egg wash by beating the egg together with 2 tablespoons of water. Place the pot pies on a parchment or foil lined sheet pan. Brush the outer rims of each ramekin with a little egg wash, lay the pieces of puff pastry on top, and press around the sides to adhere the pastry to the ramekins. Brush the tops and sides of pastry with more egg wash, cut small slits in the top of each pie, and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake on a middle rack in the oven 30-35 minutes, or until the pies are well browned and the filling bubbles. Let stand 10 minutes before serving hot.