The “superfood” kale seems to be making an appearance everywhere these days - added to juices and green smoothies, eaten raw in salads, stir fried, baked into chips, and now in my Kale and ‘Feta’ Pie. Superfood is a term that is thrown around fairly freely, so where is the truth in these claims to health of this fibrous green? Is it really any better than spinach or other green veg?
I have to admit, like a typical health food blogger, I do love kale but mostly for the taste and fibrousness of this dark green leafy. A little research left me pleasantly surprised with the evidence behind the health claims. Kale is a cruciferous veg (along with broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage). There have been numerous studies revealing the health benefits of including cruciferous veggies in our diet to boost mood and help prevent cancer. Kale is also a potent source of vitamin A (important for eye and skin health) as well as calcium, antioxidants and phytonutrients. It has been shown to lower cholesterol and it’s high fibre content make kale one of the best bile-binding veggies (meaning that it combines with carcinogenic bile acids and helps remove them from the body).
Okay, so that is quite a list and certainly enough for me to jump on the kale bandwagon. Personally, I’m not a fan of the term ‘superfood’ as I think it gives the illusion that these foods somehow possess super powers to dramatically improve one’s health when consuming them. In reality, they are just slightly more nutrient dense foods that should be included in a balanced diet for optimal health, rather than relying on them to cure all ailments or to ‘balance out’ less healthy food choices.
I am always finding new ways to incorporate kale into my diet so today I want to share with you the most delicious kale and ‘feta’ pie with sweet potato crust. This pie is reminiscent of a traditional spinach and feta pie but uses crumbled tofu, creamy tahini and nutritional yeast to replace the cheese. The ever-so-slightly sweet pastry combines perfectly with the creamy kale filling and light and tangy avocado cream. This pie keeps really well and is extra delicious the next day served cold if you happen to make enough for leftovers. It’s a great way to use up wilting greens so feel free to sub in spinach leaves or rocket as I’m sure you would have great results with these too.
Lets jump on the kale bandwagon and get cooking our Kale and ‘Feta’ Pie!
Kale and 'Feta' Pie with a Sweet Potato Crust
This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, vegan. Serves 4. Takes 75 min.
YOU WILL NEED:
SWEET POTATO CRUST:
- Around 500g of sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 3/4 cup besan (chickpea) flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour (or other starchy flour such as potato or corn)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 large bunch kale leaves, stems discarded
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp tahini
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 500g firm tofu, crumbled into small pieces
- 1 avocado
- juice of 1 lemon or lime
- handful of fresh coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tahini
PREPARE THE CRUST:
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
- Steam or boil sweet potato until very soft
- Add all pastry ingredients to a blender and process until completely combined. Spoon out all of the pastry mix (it will be very sticky and not doughy at all at this point but don't worry it will come together).
- Place pastry dough in a bowl, cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (this is crucial otherwise you will not be able to roll it out)
MAKE THE FILLING:
- While the pastry is chilling, prepare the filling: add all ingredients except for half of the crumbled tofu and the pepitas to a food processor and pulse until just combined but still fairly chunky
- Add the pepitas and pulse once or twice until just broken
- Stir through the remaining half of crumbled tofu
BAKE THE CRUST:
- Take the sweet potato dough out of the fridge and carefully roll out using a rolling between between two sheets of baking paper until around 2cm thick
- Grease a round spring-form pan with a little coconut oil. Carefully peel back one sheet of baking paper, pick up the dough and flip it upside down into the oiled tin. Peel off the remaining baking paper and use your hands to press the dough evenly around the tin
- Place the dough in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes until just starting to turn golden
ADD THE FILLING:
- Remove the crust from the oven and spread the kale filling inside. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes until the tofu pieces are crispy and golden on top
MAKE THE AVOCADO CREAM:
- While the pie bakes, make the avocado cream: add all ingredients to a blender or simply mash by hand until smooth and creamy
- Remove the pie from the oven, top with avocado cream and serve! This pie keeps really well and is delicious cold the next day for lunch - ENJOY!