Herbed-Lentil-Vegetable Seasonal Holiday Pie

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IMG_0701 (1)It’s packed with fresh herbs of the season and it is baked to perfection in a warm phyllo wrapper. Who would not want this as the centerpiece to a delicious holiday meal? And it is way easier than it looks!

When I saw a picture of this “vegan holiday roast,”I thought the whole carrots were super cool and knew I had to make my own version. Mine is way easier than that recipe with a flavor combo that really works. Lentils, walnuts, parsley, savory, rosemary and thyme. And a splash of ume plum vinegar. Serve with other seasonal favorites like roasted butternut squash and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Notes: Vegetables are not evenly sized which is why cooking is not an exact science. My measurements are intended to make nice amount of filling so don’t worry about the exact number/size. It will all work out.

Also, phyllo dough is sensitive and can break which is not usually a problem when layering but can be when the break happens after the roll. Check out how mine broke on the top right of the loaf in the photo. But it was still delicious!

And lastly, there will most likely be herbs leftover. For parsley, I like to chop it all up and make it into parsley ice cubes. But for the heartier herbs – savory, rosemary, thyme – leave them on the stems and place at the bottom of a freezer safe bag (BPA free plastic). Then, roll the bag and press the air out as you go. Use the herbs when needed.

1 medium sized onion (red or yellow, or 1/2 of a big one)
2 small leeks (or medium one), white part and some of the green
2 big cloves of garlic (or 3 small ones)
6 carrots, divided (thin ones are good for the whole ones in the filling)
A big handful of freshly chopped parsley
A smaller handful of freshly chopped savory, rosemary, and thyme (a few sprigs each)
Salt, a big pinch
Freshly ground pepper, a few turns of the mill
White pepper, a shake or two
1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
3 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
1 cup cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 thin scallions
6 sheets of phyllo dough *
Olive oil, use the good stuff

*Phyllo dough usually comes frozen. Check the package for instructions on how to thaw and then organize your pie making accordingly.

Cook the lentils according to the package. Strain and let cool

Start by prepping the vegetables. Peel and cut the onion into a small dice. Clean the leek very well and slice in half and into semicircles. Press the garlic. Peel and grate three of the carrots  using a box grater or processor. Peel the other 3 carrots but leave whole. Chop the herbs. Use a lot of parsley and less of the others, but make sure there is nice amount that makes everything smell great. Make the flax eggs and set aside.

Roast the walnuts in the oven at 325 for 8 to 10 minutes or until they smell good. Let them cool and then break them up just a bit. Set aside.

Par cook 3 of the carrots by steaming them until just tender.

Water or oil sauté the vegetables starting with the onions. When they are soft and translucent, add the leeks, and garlic. When they are looking bright, add the carrots. Mix together well and season with a big pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper and white pepper. When all of the vegetables are soft and bright, take off the heat and set aside.

Mix the lentils and walnuts into the vegetables. Add the herbs, ume vinegar and flax eggs. Mix well to combine. Take half and process it in the food processor. Remix back into the rest.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.

Phyllo dough is tricky to use so pull the 6 sheets out of the box and then cover with a towel while working to get the pie together. I like to lay the sheets right onto the baking sheet so when it is rolled it is already on there.

Brush each sheet with oil and lay one on top of the other. Lay the mixture across the end closest to you and flatten it a bit. Place the parcooked carrots on the mixture spaced out nicely. Add the scallions in between the carrots.

Pick up that end of the dough and roll it over itself, stopping to tuck in the ends about halfway, until it is all the way rolled. Brush the top with oil and slice air vents into the top at an angle, the size of the pieces you want. Bake for 30 minutes or until it is starting to get nice and brown.

Let cool just a bit and then slice. Enjoy!

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