Butternut Squash Pot Pie

Butternut Squash Pot Pie | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

I didn’t intend to make this butternut squash pot pie.  A couple weeks ago, right in the middle of third (or fourth) blizzard, Josh was stuck in Baltimore and I was alone in the apartment in need of a project. I wanted to make pie crust – a gluten free and vegan pie crust – and after some searching, I came across this recipe. The pie crust called for vegan butter and vegan shortening, neither of which I usually buy, but included recipes to make both from scratch. Made with a coconut oil base and without weird ingredients, I decided to give both the butter and shortening recipes a try.  The butter surprisingly tasted similar to real butter and the shortening looked convincing, so I continued on to the pie crust. The recipe calls for regular wheat flour, but I used gluten free all-purpose, cup for cup. I was skeptical of the reviews that said the pie crust was “flaky, tender and buttery” and that the dough “rolls like a dream,” but the science was explained and I decided to give it a shot.

As those of you who are gluten free and/or vegan know, many things that claim to “taste like the real thing” are lying. But this pie crust is legit. Roasted butternut squash goes with anything in my book (as seen here, here, and here), and leeks make anything taste comforting to me. The filling for this butternut squash pot pie is extremely forgiving. If you’re vegan, simply substitute the chicken and bacon with chickpeas (as noted in the recipe), more vegetables or even tofu. If you eat meat, other types would be great here too (ground beef, chicken breast, pork – just remember to buy pastured, organic when possible). Leeks, cranberries, sage and thyme give this pot pie a distinctly wintry flavor that will go well with whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand, so feel free to experiment.

Butternut Squash Pot Pie | Our Four Forks | #vegan #glutenfree

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Utica Greens

Utica Greens | ourfourforks.com

When people think of Central New York, they rarely think of specialty food. Unless you live there, you probably wouldn’t know that Syracuse has some of the best barbecue in the northeast, apple fritters are worth attending those god-awful apple festivals for and that Utica Greens even exist.

 

Josh is from Westmoreland (a Utica suburb), which is where I was introduced to Utica Greens. We ordered them one day – along with wings of course- from Knuckleheads, one of the only restaurants in Westmo. I was immediately obsessed: garlicky spicy sautéed greens mixed with breadcrumbs, cheese and prosciutto. I wasn’t, however, obsessed with how I felt after cleaned out the styrofoam takeout container almost by myself. Of course, I set out to create a healthy version of Utica Greens.

 

This is our second month of our “Take Two” series, in which we create two versions of one recipe: one vegan, one not (be sure to check out our first installment, Moroccan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie). Here, both recipes for Utica Greens are gluten-free and healthier than the Knuckleheads version. One contains bacon and parmesan (remember to buy from quality sources!), while the other uses shiitake “bacon” and almond-nutritional-yeast parmesan “cheese.” No wonky, soy ingredients here; just real food substitutes.

 

Utica Greens | ourfourforks.com

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Moroccan Shepherd’s Pie With Sweet Potato

Moroccan Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato | Our Four Forks

Isabel and I have talked about our food philosophy before. Although we don’t like to label ourselves there is one fact we can’t avoid: Isabel doesn’t eat meat and I do. Other than that (seemingly big) difference, we are on the same page about what we consume. We both try to make high quality plants a priority (vegetables rule the plate), put an emphasis on nutrient density and limit our consumption of gluten.