BACK-TO-SCHOOL ROAST VEGE PIE

When I'm cooking for someone the first time, I usually go vegetarian - just in case. It meets most religious and ethical requirements and tends not to aggravate majority of allergy sufferers. For people like my Dad, a hard-core carnivore, he likes the pumpkin swapped out for roast lamb but the feta also works really nicely with roast chicken leftovers.

This is a versatile dish that can be adapted to most fridge scraps. If you don't already, try bulk grilling or steaming veges once a week. Introduce them cold on salads or warm as panini fillers and pasta toppers. Freeze these pies in small batches and reintroduce at a later date as novel flavours in tasty pie form.

wellness recipes for healthy living fitness food roast veges with lemon ginger garlic olive oil

This recipe can be made dairy, lactose or gluten free by swapping out the stuff you can't eat for the non-allergenic options you already stock in your fridge. For the record, our diet is mostly vege, low gi, low-gluten, low dairy and low sugar. I say low because we don't rule out anything in my kitchen and although our diet is pretty strict Monday to Friday, weekends are cheat days and anything goes.

Other issues are cashew and raw pineapple because I am actually allergic to the best foods in the world. Apart from that, we have no major sensitivities. With Edward's propensity for upper respitatory tract infections, it's always snot season in our house, so we avoid high-energy, irritating, muccus forming foods and their groups ie. sugar, dairy, refined carbs.

wellness recipes for healthy living fitness food roast veges with lemon ginger garlic olive oil

The pie pictured above uses leftover pumpkin and butternut from this tray of roast veges dressed with fresh grated ginger, crushed garlic, lemon zest, loads of cracked pepper, himalayan salt and lashings of olive oil. The sauce is combination of yoghurt and lite sour cream blitzed with either some roast chicken stuffing or a handful of the roast veges.

Dairy free fiends will love either blitzes with a good coco yoghurt. I make my own with coconut cream and a cap of my probiotics plus a tsp of raw sugar in my hotwater cupboard overnight. Sounds crazy but it totally works with pureed stuffing or veg as a creamy pie sauce gravy. Warm it in a pan and stir to combine, then mix in the baby spinach leaves until soft.( NB. any wilty/squish greens love this pie: spinach, bok choy heads, morning glory, leeks, basil, broccoli)

Busy mums should keep some sort of ready-made pastry on hand at all times. Maybe you have the time and energy to make it from scratch. I don't. Lacking both time and inclination, I keep a few prerolled sheets handy for tarts and pies and cheese puffs. Sometimes you just need some naughty comfort food and bread aint gunna cut it.

My personal fave is puff because it offers pleasing with mix of crisp and light flakiness and bites of chewy texture. Spring roll and filo pastry are delicate and crunchy enough to offer balance to soft gooeyness of this pie when it's ready. Bin Inn do a great ready made GF pastry mix you can make DF too by selecting your own fat to mix in. Nuttalex works great in this recipe.

Steps:

1. Blitz 1/2 cup of leftover roast stuffing with 2 tbs of natural yoghurt and 2 tbs of sour cream or 2tbsp of coco yoghurt and 2tbsp of vegan mayo ( click the links for my recipes). I use greek & lite for dsiry lovers but you just use whatever is already in your fridge. No stuffing? No problem. Either increase the white sauce. Don't like dairy? Drop it. The blitzed stuffing works well with water or stock to make a gravy for the pie.

2. Warm the sauce in a pan and stir through the baby spinach leaves until soft but not completely wilted.

3. Cut pastry squares into diagonal triangles. Centre a small triangle layer of the spinach sauce. Don't get carried away. You are putting another layer of sauce on top and there is nothing worse than a soggy sweaty pie.

4. Cover the sauce layer with roast veges. If you are a meat eater, dot your meat between the veg for even distribution.

5. Fill the gaps between veges with chunks of feta cheese. Vegans should swap feta for beetroot or if you need that bite, raw almonds blended up with garlic and lemon and a touch of evoo, left to set overnight is pretty close.

6. Spread a final layer of spinach sauce on top and fold the pasty over so the corners touch.

7. Press the edges together with a fork and glaze with egg yolk or coconut oil for vegans / egg allergies.

8. Bake at 180 in a pre-heated, fan-forced oven until golden brown on top. About 10-15min.

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