In my defense, I think I was more into the idea of the pot pie rather than the pot pie itself. I loved that I got a whole pie (!!) to myself, I loved that it was super creamy in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way, and I loved how all that sauce soaked itself into the buttery crust so that it was both crisp and soggy all at the same time.
It was a fairly short-lived love affair, however, as my mom eventually realized that one pie contained five days’ worth of sodium and enough calories to fuel us through three marathons, and immediately removed all traces of them from our freezer. I haven’t had one of those in years, and while I can’t say that I really miss them, pot pie will always have a special place in my heart.
One of my favorite challenges as a vegetarian is figuring out how to remake some of my favorite childhood comfort foods without the meat and with a major veggie overhaul. An added bonus is that I often feel better about eating them since they are usually not as heavy as their meat-filled counterparts. As it turns out, the thing I loved most about chicken pot pie as a child was not the chicken itself, but rather the cream sauce and the buttery crust, so it was pretty easy to transform the pot pie into a meatless main dish that satisfied my comfort food cravings.
In this rendition of it, I’ve replaced the chicken with chickpeas and added in a rainbow of seasonal veggies, including sweet potatoes, carrots, Swiss chard and peas. A hint of smokiness is added into the mix with a dash of smoked paprika and the whole thing is topped off with a layer of puff pastry, which gives you the buttery crispy crust without actually requiring you to take the time to make pie dough from scratch. As an added bonus, this is a one-pot meal that can go from stove to oven to table in around an hour, half of which is hands-off time while you wait for the puff pastry to bake. Use ramekins to make single-serve chickpea pot pies if you prefer — just make the filling in one big pot and then distribute it among the smaller containers and top each with a piece of puff pastry before baking.
As an alternative to baking the filling in one big pot, you can divide it among smaller oven-safe dishes for a portion-controlled, single serving option. These might bake faster, so start checking them at the 20 minute mark.
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