17 Jan 2013
Every winter, once the holidays are over and everyone’s had their fill of parties for a while, I welcome the return of comfort foods.
To me, this Sweet Potato-Lentil Pot Pie with a Biscuit Crumble Crust is the perfect incarnation of the best kind of comfort food: it’s warming, filling, it appeals to all palates—and it’s vegan and gluten-free, to boot. Cooked up in a single casserole dish, with a no-roll crumble crust made from Erewhon organic corn flakes—what could be easier? I love that this pot pie is made from whole foods ingredients with loads of veggies under that simple gluten-free crust, too.
Even though I consume a whole foods diet all year round, I’m not immune to a few cookie or chocolate excesses through the holidays. Once January arrives, I crave simple, clean options a lot more, shifting focus away from desserts and added sweeteners (even if they are natural and unrefined). I found this pot pie to be one savory dish that’s every bit as comforting as, say, a couple chocolate chip cookies or a piece of apple pie (and that’s saying a lot coming from this dessert-a-holic!).
I do have a confession to make, though: I actually had never made a pot pie before I started cooking gluten-free a few years ago. Having to roll out a crust, transfer it without cracking, and fit it on top of the filling just felt too intimidating.
Curiously, once I made the switch to a gluten-free diet filled with real, natural ingredients, I became a more adventurous cook. I’m still not keen on rolled pie crust, but this one, made from crumbled corn biscuits atop the pie–well, even I could handle that! And the flavor is divine.
So in honor of the season, today I offer you a hearty vegan and gluten-free sweet potato and lentil pot pie that is not only delicious and filled with body-balancing nutrition–perfect for this time of year–but also super easy to throw together. Each serving provides enough protein to please even an avowed meat-eater, yet everything in the recipe is plant based.
My hubby, a full-fledged carnivore, scooped up a huge plateful of the pie, then mopped up any extra with remnants of biscuit topping. I had to smile at the sight of him enjoying the pot pie so much; it felt like a whole different kind of comfort.
What types of dishes say “comfort food” to you? Are they sweet or savory?
Sweet Potato-Lentil Pot Pie with a Corn Biscuit Crumble Topping
This is a wonderfully satisfying meal for a cold winter’s evening. In the biscuits, psyllium husks replace the usual xanthan gum. I find the result to be much more like a traditional biscuit texture. Note, you can freeze this too.
YIELD: Makes 6-8 servings
DIET TYPE: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1” pieces
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup red lentils
2-3 cups broth (as needed; see instructions)
1 tsp each: cumin, mild curry powder, coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or use regular if you don’t have smoked)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
Corn Biscuit Crumble Topping:
3 cups Erewhon Corn Flakes
1/2 cup Ricki’s all purpose gluten-free flour mix (or your favorite GF all purpose flour)
2 Tbsp whole psyllium husks
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup vegetable broth or stock
1/4 cup sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
Make the filling:
Spray a large (6-8 cup) casserole dish with nonstick spray or grease lightly with oil.
In a large nonstick pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, sweet potato and pepper, and sauté until onions are browned, stirring frequently, another 7-10 minutes.
Add the lentils, broth and seasonings and stir; bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover the pot and simmer until the potato is soft and lentils begin to break down, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will be thickened and soupy, though most of the liquid will be absorbed. Add the corn, then turn the filling into the prepared casserole. Set aside while you prepare the biscuit topping.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Make the biscuit topping:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the corn flakes, flour, psyllium, baking powder and salt and process until the texture of fine cornmeal (there should be no pieces of cereal visible). Drizzle the broth and oil in a ring over the dry ingredients and process again until combined.
Using a tablespoon or your fingers, dollop the sticky dough over the top of the filling in the casserole dish (it’s okay if there are some spots left uncovered). Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the biscuit topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly.
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