Crispy polenta pastry with a kale nut roast filling - this vegan Christmas pie makes the perfect centrepiece for the festive dinner table.
There are two types of people in the world: those who would read "kale and polenta pastry with a kale nut roast filling" and think 'why?', and those who would think - 'that's my Christmas Dinner sorted''. If you fall into the second category, read on!
This festive vegan Christmas pie makes kale, that bright green, mineral-y superfood, the star of the show, and is just perfect with roast potatoes, gravy and all the trimmings of a traditional Christmas dinner.
And most importantly, you can make it well in advance and freeze it, or make the pastry one day, the filling the next and assemble the pie on Christmas Eve with nothing to do but bake it on Christmas Day.
And of course you can totally go to town with your pastry decoration - I crimped the edges and made a border of holly leaves, but there are all sorts of creative things you could try.
The choice of nuts is also up to you - I used a combination of chestnuts and cashews, but walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or even peanuts would work just as well.
There are many reasons why kale is one of my favourite vegetables. I love that it is almost all grown right here in the UK, so isn't being flown half way around the world like so much of the produce we buy in supermarkets.
It is insanely good for you - hard to beat in terms of nutrients per gram, and tasty too. And most of all, it is incredibly versatile - at home in stir fries, curries, pasta sauces and stews as it is roasted until crisp and scattered over a 'goodness bowl' or wilted and served alongside a roast dinner.
Please note: photograph for illustrative purposes only.... my Christmas dinner is always significantly larger than this!
How do you like your kale? Will it be featuring in your Christmas dinner?
For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
"Brilliant! Chock full of easy recipes and great tips and advice" Hello! Magazine
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Vegan Christmas Pie
For the pastry:
- 50 g kale
- 230 g plain flour
- 35 g polenta
- 100 g dairy-free block margarine
- 40 g grated vegan 'parmesan'
For the filling:
- 300 g pre-prepared cubes butternut squash and sweet potato
- 75 g kale
- 1 leek
- 2 slices bread
- 250 g mixed nuts (I used chestnuts and cashews)
- 250 ml vegetable stock
For the pastry:
- Remove any tough, woody stalks from the kale, then place it in a saucepan or frying pan with a few tablespoons of water, and heat gently until it is wilted. Tip it into a mini-chopper or blender, add 2 tbsp water and blitz to a smooth puree. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, place the flour, polenta and margarine into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, run the margarine in to the flour by hand). Stir through the vegan parmesan and mix to combine, then stir in the kale mixture and add a splash more water until it comes together into a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill until needed.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Tip the butternut squash and sweet potato onto a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and toss until fully coated, then roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove any woody stalks from the kale. Place on another baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and toss until fully coated, then roast for 4-5 minutes until just turning brown, (but not too crispy).
- Finely chop the leek and fry with a splash of oil over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until soft. Tip into a large bowl.
- Toast the bread, then use a mini-chopper or food processor to blitz into breadcrumbs. Tip them into the bowl with the leeks.
- Pulse the nuts in a mini-chopper or food processor until they are chopped (but not too finely). Tip into the bowl with the leeks and breadcrumbs. Pour in the vegetable stock and mix to combine.
- Roll out the pastry until it is roughly the thickness of a £1 coin. Use your loaf tin as a template to cut the pastry to size. Grease the loaf tin with cooking spray or margarine, and line it with the pastry, pressing right into the corners, to seal the pastry together.
- Place a third of the nut roast mixture into the bottom of the pastry case, followed by half the butternut squash and sweet potato chunks, followed by half the kale. Repeat with layers of nut roast, squash, kale and then finish with the remaining nut roast.
- Roll out the offcuts of pastry to make the lid of the pie. Wet the edges of the pastry with a little water, then place the lid on top. Press down to seal the edges, trim any excess with a sharp knife, then crimp the edges with your fingers.
- Roll out any remaining pastry as thinly as you can, then cut out holly leaves (or any other decoration). Wet the bottom of the leaves and stick them to the top of the pie. Use a sharp knife to pierce two small holes in the top of the pie, to allow steam to escape.
- NB. you can freeze the pie at this point until required - just defrost before cooking as below. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out and slice to serve.