It doesn’t get cozier than vegan pot pie. It is loaded with carrots, onions, celery, peas, and chicken-style seitan. Then it’s bundled up in a creamy cashew sauce.
This holiday-worthy dinner got a whole lot easier since it’s made with store-bought frozen crusts! And yes, there’s a top and bottom crust for maximum yum factor. Vegan & gluten-free option.
One of my favorite things about food blogging is seeing how my recipes take on a life of their own.
Food blogging is largely a solitary pursuit. (Except for my orange roommate who regularly comes by while I’m working – eager for treats, cuddles & fetch time.)
There’s recipe testing, food photography & editing. There’s writing, pin making (for Pinterest), and social sharing.
Then my recipe goes out into the world. And the people who make it in their homes take it and make it their own. It becomes a part of their special occasions or daily routines.
One example of this is my mini vegetable pot pie recipe. I shared it back in 2016.
In that recipe, vegetables in a cashew cream sauce are ladled into mini cocottes. Then they’re covered with homemade pie dough.
What results are individual pot pies. Perfect for Thanksgiving, vegan Christmas dinner, and winter dinner parties.
Frozen store-bought crusts are an easy shortcut
A reader and fellow Iowan, Janis, has made that recipe loads of times with just one difference. She uses frozen store-bought crusts for a full-sized pie.
Plus, frozen crusts usually come two to a pack. So you get both a top & bottom crust out of it. That makes it doubly cozy!
As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I’m not the pie maker in our family. That falls to my husband, David, who has been making them from scratch since childhood.
So using a pre-made dough option is right up my alley! (In fact, until this post, I don’t think I’d ever put a crust on top of a full-sized pie. So if I can do it, you can too!)
I’ve had Janis’ substitution on my to-do list for a long while now. As we’re speeding into the holiday season, I made it a priority this week.
I knew there would be a lot of you, like Janis, who would like to make a pot pie for your holiday gatherings. It would be a terrific main course on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
And we can all use some shortcuts every now and again – especially this time of year.
Where to find frozen vegan pie crusts
There are a surprising amount of vegan options these days when it comes to pie crusts. Check out the frozen section of your favorite co-op, natural grocery store, or the health market of your mainstream grocery store.
I picked mine up at Natural Grocers. The crusts I used are from Wholly Wholesome. The 9 inch crusts come two to a pack.
(By the way, they also have a gluten-free vegan pie crust. Although, I’ve never tried it. )
There are lots of options, though. Just read the ingredient labels to find a crust that will work for you.
Don’t thaw the crusts until you are ready to cook
What makes using frozen crust especially convenient is that you don’t need to thaw it until you’re ready to start cooking!
Frozen crust doesn’t take long to thaw. So as soon as you’re ready to cook, pull the frozen crusts out of the freezer, and put them on the counter. By the time you are ready to fill them, they will be thawed.
Also, if you’d rather serve the pot pie in a nicer pie plate, this is the time to move it. After you take the crust out of the freezer, move it to a standard pie plate within the first half hour or so, and it will still hold its shape.
Chicken-style seitan is a delicious addition
Since I was making a new version of my vegan pot pie, I decided to make another switch this time around. Instead of chickpeas or Great Northern beans, which I used in the individual pot pies, I went with seitan instead.
Seitan gives a wonderful chew to vegan pot pie. It’s reminiscent of the chicken pot pies I grew up eating.
You can use an 8-ounce package of store-bought seitan, like Upton’s Naturals traditional seitan. Or use 1 ½ cups of homemade seitan chicken, chopped in bite-sized pieces.
If you’d prefer to keep this vegan pot pie gluten free, just use gluten-free pie crusts. Then opt for 1 ½ cups of chickpeas or Great Northern beans instead of seitan. Your call!
With rosemary, thyme, garlic, and onions, it is loaded with warming flavors. The cashew cream sauce coats all of the vegetables in a way that’s incredibly satisfying.
How to make this recipe
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then pull a double pack of frozen pie crusts out of the freezer to thaw. Put them on the counter.
Now it’s time to make cashew cream. Blend raw cashews and water in a high speed blender.
If you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll need to help your standard blender. You can either soak the raw cashews for several hours ahead of time, then drain the cashews before continuing with the recipe.
Or grind the dry raw cashews in a clean coffee grinder until they become like a flour. Put the ground cashews into your blender. Then continue the recipe as written.
Sauté onions, garlic, and spices in a soup pot. Then add water, vegetable bouillon, carrots, potatoes, green peas, seitan, and salt. Cover and cook for 7 minutes, until the potato has softened slightly.
Then it’s time to add the cashew cream from the blender, stir, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Carefully ladle the pot pie filling into the bottom pie crust in its tin.
Take the second pie crust, and invert it over the top of the pie. Pull off the tin from the top crust. Then carefully pull at the crust to lay lightly over the top.
If the top crust has any tears, dab your fingers into aquafaba (chickpea liquid) or water. Then use your moistened fingers to smooth out the tears.
Remove any excess crust from the top. Press the tines of a fork along the edges of the crust all the way around to secure the top and bottom crusts.
Then dab your fingers into chickpea liquid or water (or use a pastry brush if you prefer), and add a very light coating to the top of the pie.
(Aquafaba is what vegans use instead of egg wash. It helps the crust to brown.)
Or instead of aquafaba, you can finish the crust with a light layer of olive oil for nice browning.
Cut a few slits into the top of the pie. They will be air vents, so that steam can escape while cooking.
Put the pie onto a baking sheet. It will catch any filling that may bubble over. It also makes it easier for putting the pie into and out of the oven. (The aluminum pie tin is a little wobbly otherwise.)
Bake on the bottom rack for 30 minutes.
The pie interior will be bubbling hot when you remove it from the oven. So wait at least 15 or 20 minutes before slicing into it. The longer you wait to slice into it, the firmer the filling will be.
How to transport pot pie
If you’re taking your pot pie to a holiday potluck or gathering, I recommend using a 9×9 insulated carrier. I used one to transport my pot pie to a Thanksgiving potluck recently.
After I pulled the pot pie out of the oven, I gave the dish about five minutes to cool before handling. Then I moved it to an insulated carrier.
It was in the carrier for two hours. And it was still nice and warm by the time I pulled it out at the potluck! (Here’s the one I used.)
Chicken-style vegan pot pie
- 2 (9-inch) frozen pie crusts
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons raw cashews*
- 2 cups water divided
- 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion in medium pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon no chicken base Better Than Bouillon
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots cut into coins
- 1 medium Russet potato about 6 ounces, chopped in small to medium pieces
- 1/2 cup green peas Fresh or frozen are fine
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups chopped seitan chicken or an 8-ounce package of seitan
- Aquafaba** liquid from can of chickpeas or olive oil, to use as vegan egg wash on top of pie crust
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Take the frozen pie crusts out of the freezer, and put them on the counter to thaw.
- Make the cashew cream. Put the raw cashews into a high speed blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until it is completely smooth, a thick cashew cream. Set aside.
- Bring a soup pot to a medium heat with extra virgin olive oil. Saute onion in oil for about 5 minutes, until it has softened slightly and is fragrant. Add garlic, celery, dried rosemary, dried basil, and saute for for a minute more. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups water, vegetable bouillon cube or Better Than Bouillon, carrots, potato, green peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and seitan chicken. Bring to a simmer. Then lower heat, cover, and cook for 7 minutes, until the potato has softened slightly.
- Add cashew cream from blender and cook for 5 minutes more over a low medium heat, so that the cashew cream can reduce slightly and flavors can combine. Stir occasionally. Taste for salt. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon, if necessary. But keep in mind, the filling will continue to condense while it bakes.
- Use a ladle to put the filling into one of the crusts.**
- Then take the second crust and invert it over the top of the bottom crust. Remove the tin from the second crust. Gently pull the top crust, so that it lightly lays evenly over the bottom one. If the top crust has any tears, dab your fingers into aquafaba (chickpea liquid) or water. Then use your moistened fingers to smooth out the tears.
- Remove any excess crust from the top crust. Press the tines of a fork along the edges of the crust all the way around to secure the top and bottom crusts. Then dab your fingers into chickpea liquid or olive oil (or use a pastry brush if you prefer), and add a very light coating to the top of the pie. (Aquafaba is what vegans use instead of egg wash. It helps the crust to brown.)
- Cut a few slits into the top of the pie. They will be air vents, so that steam can escape while cooking.
- Put the pie onto a baking sheet. It will catch any filling that may bubble over. It also makes it easier for putting the pie into and out of the oven. (The aluminum pie tin is a little wobbly otherwise.)
- Bake on the bottom rack for 30 minutes.
- The pie interior will be bubbling hot when you remove it from the oven. So wait at least 15 or 20 minutes before slicing into it. The longer you wait, the firmer the filling will be when you slice into it.
Thank you to Janis for the great tip on using frozen pie crusts to make vegan pot pie!