Saturday, June 7, 2008
Summer Squash Pie - Veganized
Have you ever been so attached to something that you carry it around with you for years?
In the late 1980's, my mother cut out the Summer Squash Pie recipe pictured above from the "Cooking Light" section of Southern Living magazine. (This was before the Cooking Light magazine even existed.) I remember coming home to visit my parents during university summer break and my mother and I made this pie. It introduced me to the beautiful and delicious pattypan squash (pictured below) and soon became my favorite summer recipe.During the subsequent years I moved around a lot: to Virginia to work on a horse farm, to North Carolina for grad school, to Tampa to work, to Clearwater when I married, and to my current location when my husband decided to go back to school. I kept that recipe safely tucked away like a family jewel, bringing it out only during the summer months when the pattypan squash became plentiful at the farmer's market.
Two summers ago was my first vegan summer. I pulled out the recipe but then tucked it away again, vowing to make it at some point using tofu in place of the eggs called for in the original recipe. After reading about all of the success people were having with Susan V.'s tofu quiches on Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, I realized I needed to give my recipe a go using tofu once the pattypan squash became available. Several few weeks ago I gave it a try and the results were amazing. This recipe is another one that deserves fair warning on the delicious meter. I always eat at least half a pie in one sitting and for that reason, always double the recipe. Enjoy!
Summer Squash Pie
You will need one glass pie plate and a large pot for sauteeing the vegetables. You also need a food processor or blender to blend the tofu mixture.
7 small or 3 large pattypan squash, (1/2 pound), sliced 1/4 thick (across, not stem to navel)
olive oil spray
1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves, washed (I used prewashed baby spinach leaves)
1 medium size yellow squash, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large vidallia onion, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 12 ounce pkg lite firm silken tofu, drained
1/4 cup soymilk (I use Edenblend rice soy beverage)
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp tahini
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
vegan cheese slices (0ptional, I did not use any on the pie pictured)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
To begin, arrange your pattypan squash slices around the outside edges and bottom of your pie plate, cutting them to fit (see photo below). These will form your "crust". Spray your pot with olive oil, remove the slices from the pie plate and saute them 2 to 3 minutes on each side until tender and lightly browned. Spray your pie plate with oil and arrange the slices again in the pie plate as shown in the photo below.
Saute your spinach briefly until wilted. Remove from pan, drain any excess water and then roughly chop. Set aside.
Spray your pot again and saute the chopped yellow squash, bell pepper, and onion over medium high heat until tender. Remove from pot, reserving 1/4 of this mixture, and spooning the rest into the prepared pie plate.
In a food processor or blender, process the tofu, soymilk, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, tahini, turmeric, and salt until smooth. Add in the spinach and process briefly to combine or combine by hand in a separate bowl. Pour this mixture over the vegetables in the pie plate. Sprinkle with the reserved squash, bell pepper, onion mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. If you are using vegan cheese slices, cut them into strips and place them on top of your pie about 5 minutes before the pie is done.
For variation I have also made this pie using asparagus or kale instead of spinach, adding in sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. The combination of vegetables you use are really endless, so experiment a bit and let me know how it goes.