I’m bundled up in my thickest socks and have no fewer than two blankets wrapped around me. The wind is howling outside and the rain is pelting our windows. It’s been like this for a couple days now. By the time it’s over, Vancouver will have had three storms rip through the city in a single week. And while nobody gave our cats a heads up, they can clearly sense it: both Taro and Forrest are on high alert, posted at the living room window with their tails wagging furiously.
It’s safe to say, we’re staying in this weekend. And besides furiously reading this for bookclub on Sunday, I plan on spending most of my weekend doing rainy-day things. Stuff like watching movies with the fireplace on, baking and eating (of course). I’m not quite sure what I’ll be whipping up baking wise, but I definitely know I’ll be digging into one (or two) of these veggie pot pies.
Nothing says comfort food like a piping hot pot pie that’s fresh out the oven. It’s the perfect warm hug on a chilly day. The filling's like a hearty stew - and to top it off, you get a crispy, savory crust on the top. Up until recently, I wish I could say we had pot pie on the regular. But to be honest, the whole crust thing really threw me for a loop. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good crust here and there. But a good roll-out pastry crust takes time - and not to mention it’s typically loaded with gobs of butter and white flour. Not my kind of casual weeknight dinner.
To get the best of both worlds (pot pie + weeknight sanity), I’ve started making my pot pies sans crust. Before you start freaking out about losing a critical part...do know I’ve replaced it with a “crust” of golden potatoes instead. I was inspired by the scalloped potatoes dish I made for our annual Friendsgiving recently. Because if there’s one thing I would swap crust for, it would be layers of crispy potatoes.
For the filling, I like to use a hearty combination of veggies: carrots, mushrooms, leeks, kale, potatoes and peas. Given that pot pie is usually “chicken pot pie”, I wanted to include a plant-based protein that wouldn’t distract from everything else going on. Chickpeas are the perfect addition. They not only add protein, but also a bit of extra texture. And they retain their shape and firmness after a trip to the oven. In short, chickpeas fit right in. I use canned chickpeas, but you could also cook your own from scratch. If using the canned kind, make sure you rinse them thoroughly before adding to the mixture.
It goes without saying that the filling can be tailored to your tastes. Don’t have any leeks on hand? Add a bit more onion instead. Don’t feel like kale? Try spinach, or skip the greens (nobody’s looking). One substitution I wouldn’t recommend is swapping out the fresh thyme. Thyme adds a ton of flavor to this dish. So while I know it can be annoying plucking off 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves...I promise it’s worth it!
I’ve been making this recipe using 6 mini-ramekins, but it would probably also work with a single baking dish. The amount of potato slices required for the “crust” will vary slightly based on your cooking vessel. I like to ensure I have 1 pound of baby potatoes set aside when making this (aim for ones the size of large golf balls), but it never hurts to have a bit extra just in case. Leftovers can be refrigerated (covered) and re-heated until warm the following day.
Veggie Pot Pies with Crispy Potatoes
- 1 to 1¼ lb baby potatoes, divided (see note 1)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1½ cups diced carrots
- 1½ cup chopped cremini mushrooms (or button mushrooms)
- 1 cup chopped leeks
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (unflavored and unsweetened)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 (15 fl oz/14 oz/398 ml) can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 cup thinly sliced lacinato kale (or curly kale)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (more for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (more for garnish)
- Preheat oven: Position a rack in the upper-third of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Set aside 6 ovenproof ramekins (8 oz/250 ml each, see note 2).
- Chop some potatoes: Finely chop ¾ cup of potatoes. Set aside the remaining whole potatoes for the crust (we'll use them later).
- Sauté veggies: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and mushrooms, sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add leeks and garlic, sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Boil: Sprinkle in rice flour and stir until vegetables are evenly coated. Pour in vegetable broth and non-dairy milk, stirring vigorously to prevent any clumps from forming. Add the ¾ cup chopped potatoes and thyme. Cover pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Slice remaining potatoes: Meanwhile, thinly slice potatoes (about ⅛-inch thick) for the pot pie "crust". (If you have a mandolin, you could use it here).
- Stir in other ingredients: Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in chickpeas, kale, peas, salt and pepper. Let cook until kale begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Assemble and bake: Divide mixture into ramekins. Layer sliced potatoes on top. Generously brush the tops with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Potatoes: Choose potatoes the size of large golf balls. The potatoes will be used in both the filling and as the "crust", so have some extras on hand if you end up being a bit short for the crust.
- Ramekins or baking dish: If your ramekins are smaller than 8 oz (250 ml), you'll likely need extras on hand. Alternatively, you can skip the ramekins and use a medium baking dish instead (such as an 8-inch round casserole or an 11 x 7-inch casserole dish). The amount of potatoes needed for the "crust" will vary based on the size of your dish so have extra on hand in case you need it.
- Serving suggestions: You could pair these veggie pot pies with a side salad, bread, and/or roasted veggies. Or skip the sides and double up on the veggie pot pies, if serving as a main.
A friend invited us to dinner and made this potato crust pot pie. I loved it and am going to make it this weekend. Great flavors. My husband is not a fan of chickpeas, normally, but he really liked them in this dish. Thanks!
Hi Anita! We're thrilled to hear your friend made this for dinner. Hope you enjoyed re-creating it at home too! Thanks for taking the time to write in - we really appreciate it:)
Can you sub squash for potatoes?
Do you think using a mixture of white potatoes and sweet potatoes would turn out fine?
Is there a flour alternative I can use (that’s GF) if I don’t have brown rice flour?
My family consumes so much meat that when it's my turn to make dinner I always look for vegetarian recipes. This one was a total winner. It was super delicious and creamy and rich and perfect. I served it with some garlic baguette and a green salad.
Hi Maxi! Such a lovely note to receive this morning. Absolutely LOVE how your family all takes turns cooking dinner for each other! And we're so happy you chose one of our recipes for your recent dinner. The garlic baguette and green salad sound delish. Thrilled to hear the pot pies were a hit with you and your family. Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely rest of your week
what size baking dish would you recommend if no mini ramekins are available? Thanx!
Hi Kelly! Thanks for this question! I went ahead and tested this recipe with one single baking dish instead of mini ramekins. Works great! You're looking for an ovenproof dish with a minimum 6 cup capacity. The baking dish I used was 8.5" x 11" (and approximately 2" tall), but really, the size is fairly flexible as long as the dish can hold at least 6 cups of filling. The surface area will vary depending on the size of dish you use, so you may want to have a few extra little potatoes on hand for the topping. Hope this helps - and let me know how it goes! I've updated the recipe notes as well in case others have the same question:)
This is the best vegan recipe I have ever made. So so delicious.
Hi Megan! That's so awesome to hear. Comments like that make our day. Thanks so much for sharing xx
Where have you been all my vegan life? Holy mmf... This, and your creamy vegan ramen are EPIC. Quality and flavorful. I’ve been trying a lot of recipes in the last couple of years and most sources have some great recipes but are ultimately hit or miss. After trying these two recipes of yours, I trust you. (I actually already took a chance and made these for my stepmom; no regrets!) Thank you!!
So great to hear from you Dana! So glad you enjoyed the Veggie Pot Pies (& the Creamy Vegan Ramen)!! And thanks so much for sharing our recipes with your stepmom. No regrets is exactly what we like to hear;p
Totally know what you mean about hit/miss recipes on the interweb. It's such a fascinating resource that makes it so easy to share recipes...but it also means a lot of both good and bad recipes floating around! LOL. Glad you're enjoying ours; that honestly makes us so happy to hear. Thanks for taking the time to write in. Have a great rest of your week!
if i made this as a casserole, how long would it take to cook?
Hi Sheri! Great question. The filling is already cooked, so the oven is primarily to let the flavors meld together and also to crisp up the potato "crust". I don't suspect it'll take much longer to cook if you upgrade everything to a casserole container instead of mini ramekins, as the potatoes need to cook just the same. I would keep my eye on the potatoes starting at the 30 minute mark, but budget some extra time just in case (e.g. +5-15 minutes over and above the 30-40 minute window). It varies depending on how thick you slice the potatoes, how much you overlap them on the casserole dish, and of course how accurate your oven is. A few other notes that come to mind:
-I imagine the casserole dish may require more potato slices to cover the top. If that's the case, do make sure to scale up the oil accordingly so they crisp up nicely.
-If your oven has "hot spots", rotate your casserole dish half way through for even browning
-You could use baby potatoes like the recipe says, but I'd be interested in how regular potatoes turn out! Let me know how it goes with the dish - I'm interested in knowing the cooking time as well!