Upside Down Root Vegetable Pie
from Ayurveda Today, Volume 23, Number 3, Winter 2010

Ingredients for the crust

For the crust

1 1/2 cups whole spelt or other whole grain flour, plus a little extra for rolling out crust
1 tsp. thyme
3 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. cold water
A pinch of salt

Preparation of the crust

Combine the flour, thyme and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and cold water. Using a fork or your fingers, work the oil-water mixture into the flour mixture until you are able to form a ball of dough that sticks together. Add more water if needed. Place the dough in the fridge while you prepare the filling. If lack of time for a homemade crust prevents you from making this recipe, choose a ready-made pastry crust that is free from hydrogenated oils or margarine.

Ingredients for the pie filling

1 1/2 cups soft, silken tofu
2 Tbs. arrowroot powder
2 Tbs. tamari or shoyu or 1 tsp. mineral salt
1/3 cup vegetable broth or water
5 cups grated root vegetables*
2 Tbs. ghee
1 pinch hing
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. whole caraway seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds ground
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger root
1/3 cup coarsely chopped oil-cured black olives
1 handful finely, chopped flat leaf parsley

Vata = Pitta = Kapha =


Preparation of the pie filling

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Prepare the sauce: Using a blender, food processor, or hand mixer, blend the tofu, arrowroot powder, tamari and vegetable broth or water. Blend until smooth. The consistency should be like a very thick pancake batter. Set aside.

Prepare the veggies: Using a large wok or pan, warm the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the hing and both whole seeds. Sauté for a minute before adding the grated root vegetables. Continue to stir and stir and stir until the raw edge is taken off the vegetables, about 5 minutes. Then add the paprika, cumin powder and ginger root. Stir well. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the chopped olives and parsley and set aside, uncovered. 4. Roll out the dough. You’ll need to roll the crust out large enough to cover a 9-inch pie pan. Set aside.

To Assemble the Pie

Pour the blended tofu mixture over the vegetables and mix well.

Liberally oil a 9” pie pan, then pour the veggie-tofu mixture into it.

Lay the crust over the top of the pie pan. Tuck the edges of the crust down the sides of the pan.

Bake at 350º F for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the pie settle for five minutes.

Using a knife, working around the sides of the pan, free up any crust that may be stuck to the sides. Place a serving plate larger than the pie plate over the top of the pan. Using oven mitts, firmly hold the serving plate on top of the pie pan. Working swiftly, flip the bottom pie plate onto to the serving plate. Set the serving plate down and tap around the top of the pie plate. When the pie has completely fallen, lift the pie dish away. The veggies will be sunny side up and the crust on the bottom.

*I used a mixture of equal parts of celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke, carrot, turnip, and parsnip. As there are many possibilities in the realm of roots, you could also experiment with rutabaga, sweet potato, daikon radish, beet or others.

Note: One of the wonderful aspects of Ayurveda is the practicality of applying its principles wherever we find ourselves. For example, its basic nutrition guidelines that include wise food combining, using spices to antidote problematic foods, and eating local and seasonal foods have no borders to their application. Currently residing and cooking in France, I am inspired by local and traditional recipes and how I can adapt them to fall within those guidelines. The tartetatin, a quintessentially French upside down apple tart, was the inspiration for this vegetable pie. The result is a complete shift from sweet to savory by using seasonal, vata-grounding root vegetables, tofu for protein, and a nutritious whole grain flour and herb crust for a hearty, winter, all-in-one dish. Bon appétit!

Michele Schulz’s love for Ayurveda began over 14 years ago and infuses her offerings of nutrition, cooking, and yoga. From her adoptive home of France and internationally, Michele gives Ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle consultations, as well as cooking and yoga workshops. Michele can be reached at micheleschulz@gmail. com.
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