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…
~ for the crust
- 1 small 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
- 1/2 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
- 3 TBS psyllium husks (helps the pie set up, don’t omit!)
- 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
- dash of ground nutmeg and ground black pepper
- 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.
- Lightly oil a deep dish pie plate (a spray oil is best as it minimizes the amount you need).
- 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).
- Bake the crust for about 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove and begin on your filling ingredients while the crust is cooling off.
- In a large sauté pan, water sauté the onions until tender.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, except the milk and arrowroot powder, and stir well to combine.
- 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.
- 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!
- Top with a little ground nutmeg and/or ground black pepper.
- Bake for one hour, covered loosely with foil.
- Let cool to just warm before serving (about 30 minutes). This will ensure that the pie sets up properly.