I love my greens- kale, collards, chard, chrysanthemum, arugula, dandelion, spinach, turmip greens, beet greens, mustard greens- the list of lovely leafy greens could go on, but simply put, I like greens. Most of the time I’ll enjoy them in some sort of soy sauce and garlic based stir fry, but every now and then I like to shake things up- and this cheesy, creamy, savory kale pie is a perfect way to taste a different side of kale. I chose to do a savory pie, because in addition to loving greens, I also love savory. You might be able to tell that from the recipes I publish- while desserts have their place, I nearly always lean towards the salty over the sugary, the potato chip over the chocolate chip, or the kale pie over the cherry pie.
The most tricky part of the recipe is rolling out the crust. The dough is incredibly simple- it is composed of only flour, water, oil and a little salt. After mixing the ingredients together, kneed for a few minutes to form an even dough. Put the dough back in the bowl and allow to settle for at least 30 minutes before touching it again. This pie has a top and a bottom crust, but because the bottom crust has to cover the sides of the pie tin as well as the bottom, it uses about 2/3’s of the dough. Use a rolling pin to stretch the bottom crust into a thin layer that covers the entire tin, then add the filling (you can cook this while you’re letting your crust settle). Roll out the top crust in the same way and lay it on top of the filling. Use your fingers to go along the edge and pinch the crusts together, creating a fully sealed border around your pie. Because you do need a way for steam to escape, it is important that you cut vents into the top crust- use a sharp knife to cut 4-6 slits, around 2 inches in length, radiating from the center of the pie
The mushrooms are part of the filling that gets cooked along with onions, garlic and kale. I first used crimini mushrooms (they’re cheap, and I prefer them to button mushrooms), and they were perfect. The next time I made this dish, there were only shiitake and oyster mushrooms in the fridge- throwing caution to the wind, I threw both types of mushroom, finely diced, into the pot. The result was amazing- perfect. In short, I’m not sure you could find a bad mushroom to do the job- use what you have, purchased or foraged, and let me know the results!
Another ingredient to lookout for is the vegan cheese- I use the Vegan Cheese at Trader Joe’s, which is both good and decently priced. For those of you not near a Trader Joe’s, Diaya would be another acceptable option.
Savory Kale Pie
- 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ½ cup room temperature water
- 1 cup of mushrooms diced (crimini, shiitake, oyster or mixed)
- 1 medium sized onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 bunches of kale, with the thickest parts of the stem cut of, leaves cut into bite sized pieces
- ½ a cup of vegan mozzarella or parmesan
- ¼ a cup of nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Oil for cooking
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crust first by stirring with a wooden spoon and then with your hands. When it has formed into something dough-like, kneed on a hard, flat surface for couple minutes before returning it to the bowl and letting it sit for 20 minutes.
- Cook the filling by heating oil in a large pot and adding the onions, garlic and mushrooms, cooking for 2 minutes. Next add the kale along with a little salt. Cook with no lid, stirring frequently, until the mixture has wilted and decreased in size and most of the moisture has evaporated (around 10 minutes). Take off the heat and mix in the cheese, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425. Set up pie crust by dividing it into two pieces, one about twice as large as the other. Roll the larger crust in a circle, until it is big enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie tin. Fill the crust with the kale filling, patting down gently to compress it. Roll out the second piece of dough until it is large enough to sit on top of the pie. Pinch all along the edge shut and use a sharp knife to cut a few air vents on the top. Cook 35-45 minutes, until the top is hard and golden and the filling is bubbling through the air vents.