Welcome to Meatless Monday with Mindy!
Why do I post Meatless Monday recipes? I'm hoping to inspire even just one person to begin a more healthful eating pattern. "Preventing obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers is possible through healthful eating habits and a physically active lifestyle", according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Meatless Monday campaign also states "going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."
I'm hoping that even just one person takes on upgrading their weekly meals by going meatless at least one day a week. Once you start down that healthier path, who knows what else you might find yourselves capable of. If that is you, won't you stop back by and let me know?
This week was mostly rainy and quite cool in NE Ohio. Even though we are in the middle of summer, it felt more like autumn. When cooler weather kicks in, I always think of comfort food. Soups, stews and easy one dish meals that are creamy, hot and stick to your ribs are the kind of food I crave...ya know? Unfortunately, most of these types of recipes are also notoriously loaded with saturated fats and are high in calories.
Although my family has been trying to continually upgrade our diets to eat healthier for quite some time, there is something about traditional comfort foods that calls my name when the weather cools. So on a quest to have the best of both comfort and healthy, I began a search for a Pot Pie I could feel good about serving. My search didn't yield much of what I was craving. I certainly found Pot Pies that were healthy, but not creamy. Or meat versions that had more veggies added, but were still very high in saturated fats and calories. So I finally decided to develop my own. I've always made my own pot pies anyway, without a recipe and using meat, "cream of" soups or Béchamel sauce's (white creamy sauce). But since I've gone meatless, I haven't even attempted a pot pie of any kind...that is until this Monday.
Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie
My honey and I really like the taste of roasted or grilled root veggies, so I decided I would start with those. I quartered brussels sprouts and thickly diced sweet potatoes, carrots and yukon gold potatoes and laid them out on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet.
I rubbed the tops of these veggies with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkled some salt over them. I then popped them into the oven at 425F degrees. It took about 35-40 minutes for these to brown up.
While those were in the oven, I cleaned and cut green beans that were fresh picked from my dear friend Kris's garden. (Thank you Kris!) and steamed those until they were just barely tender. It was about 1 cup.
I also rinsed some frozen peas and let them sit to thaw. I used 1 cup.
As well as some fire roasted frozen mushrooms, also 1 cup.
I then began to make a Béchamel sauce that I found on a site called Veggieful.com. This sauce just happened to be vegan and exactly the consistency and flavor I'd been looking for to replace my very fattening traditional recipe. I tweaked it only ever so slightly using rice milk instead of soy milk. Here is the recipe
1/4 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 cup tightly packed finely minced onion
2 garlic cloves pressed in a garlic press, or finely minced
1/4 cup corn starch
2 cups rice milk
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB nutritional yeast
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
In a pot over medium high heat, add the margarine, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes until the margarine has melted and the onion is transparent.
Add the corn starch and stir until it forms a paste.
Take off the heat and add the rice milk slowly, mixing to incorporate as you continue to add more milk. Add the lemon juice and stir.
Once the milk and juice has been incorporated, return to heat on low.
Add the nutritional yeast.
Add the salt and pepper to taste along with a pinch of nutmeg. Stir until smooth and the sauce begins to thicken. Be careful to keep the sauce moving in the pan so it doesn't burn on the bottom. Take it off the heat after it begins to thicken and let it cool.
Pull your veggies out of the oven. This browning brings out the sugars and makes these veggies taste...oh... so wonderful! Might as well leave the oven on. You're going to use it again.
Scrape the roasted veggies into a large bowl and add the steamed green beans, peas and mushrooms.
Pour the Béchamel sauce over the veggies and mix well but being careful not to break up the roasted veggies.
Dump this lovely mixture into an oven proof, broiler proof dish or pan. I used our cast iron skillet.
Now this is where I got lazy. I still haven't found a reputable vegan crust to replace a traditional crust recipe....yet. So I cheated here and used a standard refrigerator pie crust. Not vegan, and not low fat. Sorry. Use whatever you have proved more healthful here. I'll eventually find a good recipe. I promise.
Cover your veggies with pie crust or whatever you desire. Cut steam holes in the top then brush with melted margarine. I used the vegan margarine and melted it. Then brushed it over the top of the crust.
Pop the skillet into the oven at 425F degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Then turn oven to broil. Make sure your skillet is about 4-5 inches from the heat source and broil for about 2 minutes. Watch this carefully as it browns very quickly.
Spoon this into a dish and enjoy!
This should make 4-5 servings....should being the key word. There were two of us eating this and we didn't have that much left over... just sayin'. This was another hit with both my honey and me. This'll be a keeper too.
What have you been making meatless lately?
I'd love to hear your comments. Don't be shy, share below.
*All photo's taken by Dave Howell
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