Here’s a dish that would look pretty on any Thanksgiving table and leave your guests licking their forks and spoons: my Vegan Mushroom Pot Pie. And here’s a little secret: that golden, puffy, flaky pastry crust you see atop that bubbling mushroom-pea-carrot filling is 100 percent whole wheat, which will make those guests think you are a freaking genius.
Hyperbole aside, these little mushroom pot pies are really cute. I like making individual servings, especially when we have few guests, but you can also bake this up as a single large pot pie. It would look just as good and taste just as delicious. The whole wheat pastry crust is easy to make, but if you’d rather not spend the time, go buy a store-bought crust. Most puff pastry crusts on the shelves are vegan, but read the label to be double-sure.
The filling for this mushroom pot pie is made with two types of mushrooms: fresh crimini and dried shiitake mushrooms. I used a combination because I wanted the chewiness of the dry mushrooms to add a satisfying bite and texture to this pie, but you can go all fresh, or all dry. The peas and carrots add more texture and flavor, but what gives this pot pie filling its incredible taste is a mix of savory herbs. I added a little of everything I still have in my Fall garden: rosemary, sage, thyme, and lavender. I also added some parsley for more freshness. But if you don’t want to do a mix, use one or two– I’d pick rosemary and thyme.
This mushroom filling can be made a day earlier and refrigerated until you are to assemble your pot pies. The filling works great as a stew. In fact, if you want to skip the puff pastry part altogether and just serve the filling with some crusty bread, you’d still come out a winner. You might want to thin it out a little with water or stock. I was slurping the filling by the spoonful from the pot, so much so that Desi thought I wouldn’t have any left for the pot pies. Ha! As you can see, I proved him wrong. 🙂
This pot pie is also a great dish to serve if you will have guests who are not vegan or vegetarian, because the hearty filling and the mushrooms stand in beautifully for meat. No one will miss the turkey.
Vegan Mushroom Pot Pie
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (either store-bought or made at home using this recipe. For the whole wheat puff pastry crust just substitute all of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and proceed as directed)
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 oz dry shiitake mushroom, sliced. Before slicing, reconstitute the mushrooms by placing them in a bowl and covering with 1 cup of very hot water. I place a glass or other weight on top because the mushrooms have a tendency to float. Leave alone for 30 minutes, then drain the mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid.
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cm medium carrots cut into a 1- dice
- 1 cm large red onion cut into a 1- dice
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cm ribs of celery cut into a 1- dice
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 2 tbsp cashew nuts soaked in 1/2 cup of water for 30 minutes, then blended to a smooth paste
- 2 tbsp of chopped fresh, savory herbs, like rosemary, thyme, and/or sage. If using dried herbs, use a total of 2 tsp.
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
- Ground black pepper and salt to taste
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- Place both kinds of mushrooms in a bowl and add ground black pepper, salt to taste, and the all purpose flour. Toss well to mix.
- Heat the 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for a couple of minutes, or until the mushrooms start to soften and brown slightly. Remove to a bowl.
- In the same pot, add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil.
- Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery. Add a pinch of salt and stir-fry, scraping the bottom of the pan for any bits of mushrooms or flour left behind. They will add wonderful flavor.
- When the onions and carrots start to soften but not brown, add the mushrooms back into the pot along with 1 tbsp of herbs and all of the mushroom stock.
- Stir well, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Add the remaining herbs and cashew paste. Stir well to mix. The stew should have thickened because of the flour you dredged the mushrooms in, and if it is getting too thick, add some water or stock to thin it out.
- Add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley.
- Turn off the heat.
Assemble the pot pies:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Roll out the puff pastry and, using a glass or a cookie cutter, cut circles or squares large enough to fit over the ramekins or pie plate you will use. I cut circles just large enough to fit over the ramekins I used, but because the pastry shrinks when it cooks, the stew bubbled up through the sides of the ramekins. I don't mind it because it looks rather rustic, but if you want a more polished effect, make sure the puff pastry covers the top of the ramekin completely.
- Spoon the mushroom filling into the ramekins and cover the tops with the puff pastry circles or squares.
- At this point, for a prettier crust, I like to brush on a mixture of 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp nondairy milk on top of the crusts-- this makes them really golden, but it's completely optional.
- Cut a small slit in the top of the puff pastry in each ramekin.
- Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the tops are all golden and puffy.
- Remove from the oven, let stand 15 minutes before serving.
More pot pies from the archives: