The Perfect Meat-Free Dinner or Sunday Lunch.
You will love this gluten free vegetarian delight.
It is bursting with goodness and is a great option when you want to have a meat free meal that tastes just as good as it looks.
And if by any chance there happens to be any leftovers then it is just as nice cold as it is hot. It is also the ideal lunch when you are in a hurry and need something decent to eat.
This tasty recipe serves 4 and takes about 15 to 20 minutes to prepare plus cooking time.
500gm pack of frozen spinach (check the label for any dodgy places of origin), thaw and then squeeze off the excess liquid – preferably try to source some locally grown fresh silver beet
½ cup of fresh mint – chopped – use basil if you don’t like mint
2 tbs roasted pine nuts (optional – can also use pepitas)
3 free range eggs
1 cup of evaporated milk
1 spring onion (eschallot) thinly chopped
¾ cup of your favourite tasty mature cheddar cheese – grated
Baby spinach, rocket and ripe cherry, grape or tom thumb tomatoes for serving salad (some diced avocado is nice as well)
Above is the basic recipe but here are some flavour boosters you can add if you are feeling a bit adventurous; either way it is a very tasty dish.
2 to 3 slices of short cut bacon finely diced
2 to 3 small to medium mushrooms finely diced
1 to 3 cloves of garlic chopped finely plus a long red chillie (or flakes) if you like a bit of heat.
For the Rice Pie Crust:
1¾ cups of salt reduced chicken stock (homemade is even better)
¾ cup of brown Basmati rice (or other brown rice) – you might also like to try this; use 25% black rice and 75% brown Basmati.
1 free range egg gently beaten
2 tbs of toasted sesame seeds
1 tbs fresh rosemary finely chopped
Now for the How-To:
1. Pie crust. Put the rice in a medium saucepan (with lid) and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil over a medium heat stirring occasionally. Soon as it boils reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer away for 20 to 30 mins until all the stock is absorbed. Keep an eye on it towards the end as it can stick and burn if it gets too dry. When done, let it stand for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 22cm pie dish with olive oil (make sure it is not too shallow as there is a fair bit of filling (I use one of Grandma’s old enamel ones). In a mixing bowl combine the rice, the beaten egg, sesame seeds and rosemary. Stir well to combine and season with pepper and ground pink Himalayan salt. Now press the mixture evenly into the base and sides of the dish with the back of a tablespoon. Bake for 15 minutes or until it is firm and then set aside for 10 minutes to cool a little.
3. If you decide to use the flavour booster in the “cook’s note” then fry off the 3 ingredients (giving the bacon a minute or two before adding the others) in a small frying pan with some good quality olive oil. When done put in a mixing bowl with the spinach and pine nuts (if using) and combine.
5. Whisk together the 3 eggs, spring onions and milk in a jug and pour over the spinach. Top this with the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 35 minutes until set and nicely browned. Set aside to cool slightly while you plate up the salad. Just be aware it will fill your pie dish to almost overflowing.
6. For the salad; halve 6 to 8 baby tomatoes per person on a board and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and Himalayan salt and let sit for 15 minutes to absorb the seasoning. Put a handful of mixed baby spinach and rocket on each plate, spread with tomatoes and avocado if using. For a dressing I just pour over some apple cider vinegar with honey (you can buy this already mixed at Coles) and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t overdo it.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.