Winter Pie in Quinoa Crust

This dish is hearty for winter weather, but light on the palate. The quinoa crust made with a little almond flour is filled with protein and makes this a complete meal! The crust is pre-cooked a little bit before the filling goes in; this makes for a firmer crust under your pie. We recommend white quinoa for a traditional crust you can lift from the pie plate, and for a nicer look to the dish. Red works and tastes good, too. And don’t worry if this winter pie crumbles as you plate it—it’s still delicious!
By / Photography By Mary McClung | December 18, 2015

Instructions

For the crust:

Cook quinoa by bringing the chicken broth to a boil, adding quinoa and lowering heat to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes. Cook off any additional water by removing lid and stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir occasionally until the quinoa is cooled.

Stir almond flour in with cooled quinoa until well mixed. Mix egg with fork and dash of water, then add to quinoa/flour mix along with canola oil and salt. Stir until well incorporated. 

Lightly coat a pie pan using non-stick spray, or a small amount of oil poured into pan and spread around.

Spoon quinoa mix into the pie plate. Smash into crust form about ¼-inch deep. (A silicone spoon/scraper or your hands work well for this task.) If it sticks, dip spoon or hand in a little water, but don’t make crust wet. You may have quinoa left over, which can be used on top of the pie before baking.

Bake crust for 20 minutes. The quinoa mix is heavy and will fluff only slightly during cooking.

For the filling:

While crust cooks add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan and reheat. Add sweet potatoes and onion. Cook for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes. Pour sautéed veggies into mixing bowl. Add ⅓ of the cheese, balsamic vinegar, herbs, olive oil and salt to taste.

Crumble ⅓ of the cheese onto the bottom of the pie plate to make a light layer to taste. Pour filling over cheese in the crust. Smooth to an even level. Use any leftover quinoa to dollop around the top of the pie, flattening a little for even cooking.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F. Remove from oven. Use last ⅓ of cheese to crumble or dollop around the top. Cook 10 additional minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes to set crust again. Serve in pie portions.

*To make this a meat dish- add in your favorite sausage and substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth.

 

 

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Ingredients

Crust
  • 1 cup white quinoa, rinsed
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth*
  • 1 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1 egg, large or x-large
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil (plus a little for the pie pan)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Filling
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided (4 tablespoons for the filling, plus more for the pan)
  • 1 pound spinach and feta chicken sausage in casings (or your favorite flavor)* Optional but elminate for a meatless dish
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and chopped into small, even pieces
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 package, or 6-8 small, Crimini mushrooms (or your favorite), sliced
  • 12 ounces goat or other crumbly, tart cheese (blue is another good choice)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • Salt to taste *smoked salt is preferred
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