Photo by Kate Duncan Photography
Please don’t be put off by the lavatorial name, these Lentil Potty Pies are comfort food at its best, and a delicious, albeit, slightly sneaky way to wedge a few unsuspecting veggies into your child’s diet. You with me?
I’ve revamped this dish and come up with a healthy remake of a family favourite. Replacing meat with a hearty lentil filling that still provides a high-prowess protein richness, makes it a tailor-made vegetarian meal that will satisfy even the most grumbling of bellies.
I’ve broken down the content of the dish nutritionally so that you can be inspired to give it a whirl. The traditional high-carbohydrate potato topping has been substituted for cauliflower mash, a much more nutritious option that so closely resembles the real thing and good ammunition for diffusing a picky-eater panic-fest. Talk about a fuss-free mindset reset!
My potty pies are also the perfect size for a nutritious leftover lunchbox snack for budding foodie kid-preneurs. Don’t be afraid to pep them up with your favourite seasoning or mixed herbs. You can pack them with whatever vegetables you like. I find that versatility is the key when dealing with little (or not so little) fuss-pot eaters.
You can also whip up a little extra of the cauliflower mash topping, and keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge to use throughout the week as a side dish and in a range of family friendly recipes.
Leaving the kids aside for just a moment, baking individual pies is a nifty idea if you’re eating alone, simply serve with a leafy salad or some steamed veggies and freeze the remaining pies. Your thighs will love you for it.
Nutty and earthy in flavour, don’t be fooled by lentils’ small size or low calorie content, they’re packed with nutrition and a versatile ingredient that work in a range of salads, baked casseroles, ratatouilles, curries, soups and even spreads.
Think of them as a fuss-free and low cost way to bulk up the protein content of any meal, with a whopping twenty six percent of their calories attributed to protein! This makes them a staple meat-alternative amongst vegetarians and vegans. But you don’t have clean and green to enjoy the countless health benefits of lentils.
Available in red, brown, and green varieties, not only have lentils been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, these legumes are an excellent source of folate and magnesium, two vital minerals required by the human body to function efficiently.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Their high insoluble dietary fiber is a thumbs up for maintaining good digestive health. Collective squeal!
For ease of digestion it is recommended that you soak your lentils, preferably overnight, in some filtered water and drain and rinse them prior to cooking to reduce anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that can make lentils difficult to digest and reduce nutrient absorption.
Rivaling lentils with its very own versatility, Cauliflower the queen of the cruciferous tribe, can be used as a stand-alone ingredient, riced, roasted, steamed, added to curries, soups, frittatas, muffins, burgers, patties, used as a bulkening ingredient in desserts, or mashed into the ultimate creamy, fibre-rich comfort food.
It’s gorgeous snow-white appearance and mild flavour means you can dress cauliflower up any way you choose, it’s like a flavour sponge and the options are endless.
Unlike other cruciferous vegetables, much of the nutrition of cauliflower is stored in the florets or curds. This nutrient-dense vegetable has even been found to reduce the production of lipids that increase heart disease when they are in high concentration within the blood. What’s more, cauliflower is an amazing source of Vitamins C and K- making it an excellent flu-fighting and anti-inflammatory agent.
Mashing cauliflower brings out its goodness and creaminess, and by adding nutritional yeast you can easily replicate that delicious traditional savoury cheesy flavour with a total of zilch trans fats, artificial colours and preservatives.
Not to be confused with gluten-heavy baker's yeast, which is still active and can build it’s new home inside your stomach, depriving you of essential nutrients, nutritional yeast is the healthy answer to an underlying cheese addiction. Thanks casomorphins.
Gluten-free nutritional yeast may be one of the best additions you can make to your diet in terms of nutrition and flavour if you’re cutting down on dairy. It has a nutty, cheesy taste and provides a wealth of protein, vitamins, and minerals that the whole family can benefit from. You can find nutritional yeast at almost any health food store, and nowadays even in the health food aisle of most large mainstream supermarkets.
Nutritional yeast is a microorganism known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae that’s grown on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once harvested, nutritional yeast undergoes heat treatment to deactivate it before it’s flaked into what looks like cheese-flavoured oat bran. Once you’ve taken the plunge and begun experimenting with nutritional yeast, you’ll start adding it to just about everything. Use nutritional yeast as a replacement for Parmesan cheese. Add it raw to salad, or sprinkle it over air-popped popcorn, pizza, stir it into soup or toss it into pasta.
Nutritional yeast is a particularly great source of B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, B-6 and niacin. In fact, just half a tablespoon of some brands will provide you with your daily requirement of essential B vitamins that help you extract the energy from food and produce red blood cells. Most brands of vegan-friendly nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12, which is usually found exclusively in animal products.
It’s also a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce and that you must therefore consume from food.
When transitioning to a wholefood diet, there is a misconception that you’ll be subjected to bland, tasteless meals but adding ingredients such as nutritional yeast can give you nutrition and flavor and help to expel such myths.
While getting kids to eat real, wholesome food at dinner may seem like an impossible task sometimes, I’d love you to give this recipe a go and you might be pleasantly surprised at how it’s instantly gobbled up and seconds are ordered.
These little potty pies are super easy to make and a very handy way of using up any spare veggies you have on hand.
Here’s to having a new, nutritious recipe to throw into the family dinner rotation.
Lentil Potty Pies
VG, WF, GF, SF, NF
Ingredients for filling
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 brown onion chopped finely
- 1 ½ cups of mushrooms chopped
- 1 zucchini diced small
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- Good pinch oregano
- 2 tsps. dried thyme
- Celtic Sea salt
- 1 cup carrots diced
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- ¾ cup lentils (rinsed)
- 3 cups vegetable stock (sugar and additive free)
- 1 TBS wheat free tamari
- ½ cup frozen or fresh peas
Ingredients for Cauliflower Mash
WF, GF, SF, NF
- 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 TBS butter
- 1 TBS nutritional yeast flakes
Cauliflower mash method
- Put the florets in a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, covered, until tender — the florets can be verging on soft, but shouldn’t be falling apart.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a blender or food processor and add butter, yeast flakes, a pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Blend until smooth.
Potty Pies Method
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
- Make cauliflower mash and let stand
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat
- Add the onions, and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes
- Add the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, oregano, thyme, and season and cook for 5 mins
- Add carrots, lentils and stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook for 20 minutes until stock has evaporated, then stir in tamari, and peas
- Transfer mixture to individual pie dishes
- Gently spoon the pre made cauliflower mash over the top, scraping a fork across the surface to create little trenches in the mash.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the mash has a crispy top
- Remove the pie from the oven
I’d love to know what you think? Please leave your comments below 🙂