Monday, August 10, 2009

Farmer's Market Vegetable & Bean Pot Pie

This time of year I sometimes go overboard buying fresh vegetables at the nearby farm stand. I guess when you live in the northeast, where winters are so long and the growing season so short, you get a little excited when you finally see lots of fresh, green things sprouting up all around you! This was the case this week. I had a refrigerator overflowing with more vegetables than I could possibly eat and had to use them before they spoiled.

Most store-bought pot pies, even the vegetable variety, are beyond the limits of a diabetic's diet because of the double crust and the over-abundance of potatoes. Not so with this recipe! I've included a few potatoes to disguise the fact that most of the white, starchy-looking chunks are turnip. (They look and so closely resemble the taste and texture of potatoes, my family never even suspected!) The base of this pot pie is a creamy, delicious mixture of vegetables and beans as thick as a stew, then topped with golden, flaky layers of phyllo to give it that distinctive pot pie crust. The beans provide protein and fiber, while adding creaminess and more substance to truly make this a satisfying meal.

Farmer’s Market Vegetable & Bean Pot Pie
(Makes 6 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups of low-carb vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces (use a combination of 1 or 2 zucchini, 3 small turnips, 1 or 2 yellow squash, 1 cup broccoli florets, 1 leek or whatever you have on hand)
2 or 3 small red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces with skin (about ½ cup)
salt & pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 ¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can cannellini beans (15 oz.), drained and rinsed
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons fat-free ½ & ½
6 sheets of phyllo dough (can be purchased in the frozen section of grocery)
1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing between layers of dough
3 teaspoons of freshly grated Parmesan, if desired

1. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and add onion, carrots and celery. Add a little salt and pepper and cook until vegetables begin to soften. Add the 6 cups of vegetables, 1 more tablespoon olive oil, bay leaf and thyme and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften and have taken on some color.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir to coat vegetables; stir and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add stock, stirring constantly until flour and stock has blended and has started to thicken into a sauce. Reduce heat further to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally until vegetables are almost, but not quite, cooked through. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350-degrees.

3. Remove from heat and add beans and peas. Add the fat-free ½ & ½ and stir to combine. Remove bay leaf and thyme stems (leaves should have fallen off). Check seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Divide mixture into individual oven-proof dishes or pour into one large casserole dish.

4. If using individual serving dishes, take one sheet of phyllo dough, cut into four rectangles and lay one rectangle on top of one of the dishes, tucking in corners of dough to fit. Coat lightly with olive oil (or use a pump oil sprayer, such as Misto). Top with another small rectangle and repeat with oil. If desired, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese and/or pepper, then repeat layering of dough and oil with remaining two small rectangles, ending with a light brushing of oil on the top. Follow the same procedure for the remaining dishes. (If using one large casserole dish, do not cut phyllo, but lay one sheet on top of the casserole dish filled with vegetables and coat lightly with oil. Repeat with remaining five sheets of dough ending with a light coating of oil on the top.)

5. Place individual dishes on a baking sheet (not necessary if using large casserole). Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and crispy. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: 219.8 calories, 33 g carbohydrates, 7.5 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 5.2 g fiber, 8 g protein.

Variation: Use a can of black beans and add chili powder, cumin and a few dashes of hot sauce to create a spiced up Mexican version.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this compare with a store-bought Pot Pie? If you thought eating one of those store-bought pot pies was healthy because it was vegetable, think again! For comparison, one serving made by a well-known vegetarian food company is a whopping 420 calories, 54 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat, 4 g fiber, 9 g protein.

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