Feb 03, 2015

Cauliflower-crusted Spinach Pie… vegan, gluten-free and oil-free!

Spinach pie! Oh, my! Yes, it’s true. I (you, we) can once again enjoy that marvelous flavor of a traditional Greek spinach pie… minus the butter-laden crust and artery-clogging cheese! Can I do a happy dance now? Because Greek spinach pie, a.k.a spanikopita, was always one of my favorite dishes, prior to switching to whole food, plant-based eating.

What’s really unique about this pie is its crust. The cauliflower adds another dimension of nutty, sweet flavor that is truly fabulous. It’s not a crispy crust, it’s actually pretty soft, but it is easy to slice and portion nonetheless and wonderful to enjoy, knowing that you’re getting that extra dose of cruciferous nutrients from the cauliflower. Oh, yeah, babe! Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off. It’s actually pretty easy to make. Without further gushing, here is the recipe…

Ingredients:

~ for the crust

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1-1½ cups blanched almond flour
  • 3 TBS ground flax seeds

~ for the pie filling

  • 1 medium, sweet onion, diced
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • 1 pound frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
  • 14-oz. block extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled into cottage cheese-sized pieces.
  • 1 cup unsweetened, plant-based milk (I used soy) + 2 TBS arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBS tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
~ topping
  • dash of ground nutmeg and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare your crust first. Preheat oven to 350° F. Rough chop the cauliflower (omit the thick stems) and add it to a food processor. Process/pulse until the cauliflower is pretty well pulverized. Then add the almond flour and the flax and pulse until well combined. Add more flour if the mixture seems too wet. The “dough” will be wet, but should hold together a little when pinched. 
  2. Lightly oil a deep dish pie plate (a spray oil is best as it minimizes the amount you need).
  3. Spoon the crust mixture into the plate and push it up the sides, shaping it into a crust as you go. It will be pretty thick (see photo above).
  4. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove and begin on your filling ingredients while the crust is cooling off.
  5. In a large sauté pan, water sauté the onions until tender.
  6. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the milk and arrowroot powder, and stir well to combine.
  7. Place the milk in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Mix the arrowroot powder with 2 TBS of water to form a slurry and add this to the milk, stirring consistently to avoid lumping. When the mixture is almost boiling, take it off the heat and add to the filling mixture, stirring well to combine.
  8. Spoon the filling into your crust and press down firmly, forming into a mound. You will have a LOT of filling. It’s okay, your pie will be tall!
  9. Top with a little ground nutmeg and/or ground black pepper.
  10. Bake for one hour, covered loosely with foil.
  11. Let cool to just warm before serving (about 30 minutes). This will ensure that the pie sets up properly.
Opa!

Healthy trails,

20 responses to “Cauliflower-crusted Spinach Pie… vegan, gluten-free and oil-free!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This recipe looks amazing! I love reading your blog!

  2. Tracy says:

    This looks great! I can't wait to try it, might omit oiling the pie dish, see how that goes 😉

  3. I have a giant box of fresh, organic baby spinach. How much should I use instead of the frozen?

  4. Anonymous says:

    This looks really good. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. debbie says:

    I will be trying this recipe this weekend. Could I grind my own flour from raw almonds?

    • That would probably be okay, Debbie, though I haven't tried it myself. The blanched almond flour is pretty fine in consistency so if you can get a fine enough flour then I would say to give it a try!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I made this tonight and we loved it!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. Rhondy C. says:

    Hello Helyn,

    I am new to your site and loving it! There several of your recipes that I cannot wait to try.

    I do not include tofu (soy) in my family's diet and wanted to know if I might substitute the tofu with a vegan ricotta or feta type cheese. I do not know the purpose the tofu is serving in the recipe, but do you think this would work?

    As for the milk, I would like to use coconut milk. Do you think this will be okay and with a denser milk will I still need to use the arrowroot or tapioca flour?

    Your guidance is greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing your talent.

    • Hi Rhondy!
      The tofu takes the place of cheese, so yes absolutely you can sub with any vegan cheese that you like. Yes, still use the arrowroot or tapioca. Enjoy!
      Helyn

  8. Rhondy C. says:

    Hello Helyn,

    Just wanted to report back. I made this dish for my family and every one requested seconds. This recipe is a winner and I will surely be preparing it again.

    However, I did have a slight problem with the crust. It was not a dough consistency as you described above, but more like a moist pate. I am not sure what I may
    have done differently. I followed your instructions as given. Could I have over processed the ingredients causing the cauliflower to release more water?
    Please let me know what you think.

    • Hey, Rhondy! You didn't do anything wrong. I have to change my wording. It really isn't like a "dough" it is very wet, as you experienced. Did it hold together for you to slice and serve? Mine did. But different cauliflowers have different amounts of water content so I'm sure sometimes the results will vary. The other thing I realized (I just made this again for my son and his girlfriend the other day!) is that it is best to process the cauliflower first and then add the other ingredients. This helps with an even crust consistency. I will be modifying the directions. But I'm glad you all enjoyed it anyway! :))

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