The recipe for the crust is gluten-free and can be made vegan. R and I don’t operate under any dietary restrictions, so we usually use butter, but I’ve suggested some vegan substitutes (Green Kitchen Stories uses coconut oil). The benefits of this crust are not reserved to those with gluten sensitivities and intolerances: the oats and almonds pack a triple punch of protein, healthy fats and fibre.
The filling is also originally a vegan recipe. We’ve added cheese to the recipe; the original called for nutritional yeast and by all means can be added in place of the Gruyere.
9-1/2 inch glass pie pan
1 cup oats
2/3 cup almond meal/flour (or grind whole almonds in the blender - need not be blanched)
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (or use a vegan substitute: Earth Balance or coconut oil, for instance)
3-4 tbsp ice water
1 block (14-oz) firm tofu
1/4 cup milk (dairy, unsweetened soy, unsweetened almond)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/3 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes, tightly packed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup grated Gruyere (or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast)
Salt and pepper
Grind the oats in a blender or food processer until they’ve reached a flour-like consistency. It’s fine if there are some small pieces remaining. Put the oat flour in a large bowl and add the almond meal, cornstarch and salt and whisk together until uniform.
Now cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork or a pastry blender until you are left with small pea-sized crumbs. Then add the water by the tablespoon, forming the dough gently into a ball. The dough should feel somewhat wet, but should not stick to your hands.
Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge and put it in the centre of the pie pan. Press the dough outwards to fill the pan. Once the crust has been formed, you may cover it again with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to blind bake it.
While the crust is blind baking, you can get started on the fillings. In a blender or food processor, add the tofu and the milk and puree until creamy. Set aside.
Dump the spinach into the pan and stir it around for a minute or two. Once it’s wilted, remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix together the spinach-mushroom mixture with the basil and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the creamy tofu, oregano and nutmeg and mix together. Finally, add the Gruyere and blend well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
At some point during this process, you will have probably removed the empty piecrust from the oven. Keep the oven on. Pour the filling into the pre-baked piecrust and place into the oven on the centre rack; immediately turn the temperature up to 375F. Bake for about 35 minutes. The top should have browned slightly and should be firm to the touch.
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.