The Essence of Aromatics: Tofu Veggie Pot Pie
Aromatic vegetables and herbs — including carrots, onions, celery, thyme, peppercorns and garlic — have been kitchen staples for centuries. How far? At least since the 18th century when the term “mirepoix” (a combination of carrots, onion and celery) was coined in French cooking. These flavorful ingredients are often the base of soups, stews, stocks and sauces, and provide more taste than you may give them credit for.
Just imagine if you switched out onions or carrots in a recipe for chicken noodle soup with bell peppers or zucchini. The flavor profile would be totally different and lacking in aroma. And, if you're trying to cure that cold with homemade chicken noodle soup, it may not work if the carrots and onions are missing! These aromatic vegetables offer up their unique nutritional profilesand provide our bodies with the vitamins and polyphenols needed to beat the common cold.
Another classic comfort food dependent on the use of aromatics is the pot pie. The carrots provide a slightly sweet flavor to the filling, while the onions, celery and thyme give it the lovely aroma and taste of what mom use to make. If you've only had frozen pot pies, you must try a homemade pot pie as soon as possible. Your opinion will surely change.
While the recipe below looks like a long list of ingredients, the process should not scare you away. You can even take a couple shortcuts to make this a super easy weeknight meal for the family. I took a shortcut here and used a frozen puff pastry crust to top off the pot pie, but a homemade crust is always a welcomed option! If you have no interest in tofu, you can easily leave it out and add in chunks of store-bought rotisserie chicken or diced turkey to the vegetable mix. I had some leftover asparagus pieces on hand, so I threw them into the veggie mix as well. That's the best thing about a pot pie — you can personalize it. Just be sure to include the aromatics!
Tofu Veggie Pot Pie
Recipe by Karman Meyer, RD, LDN
1 frozen pastry crust
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
14 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed
1 sprig fresh thyme
Ms. Dash Garlic Herb Seasoning, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. olive oil
½ cup diced onions
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced carrots
¼ cup frozen peas, unthawed
½ cup sliced mushrooms
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp. Ms. Dash Garlic Herb Seasoning
1 ½ cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup flour
2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. water
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and tofu cubes. Make sure tofu is spread out in a single layer. Cook tofu for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tofu is golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a stockpot, sauté celery, onions and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for 4to 5 minutes.
- Add peas, mushrooms, thyme and Ms. Dash seasoning and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add vegetable broth and Greek yogurt, being sure to stir well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together milk and flour to create a roux, then add to stockpot and mix well. Add in black pepper.
- Allow to simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. If mixture looks to thick, add more vegetable broth.
- Once thickened, add tofu cubes to vegetable filling. Pour mixture into casserole dish (I used a 7x5x2-inch casserole dish).
- Place pastry dough over the vegetable filling, allowing approximately an inch extra to come over the edge of the casserole dish. Remove any excess dough.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and water. Brush pastry dough with egg wash.
- Place pot pie dish on a baking sheet to prevent a mess in your oven! Bake for 25 minutes, or until pastry crust is golden brown. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Karman Meyer, RD, LDN, writes and develops recipes for her personal blog, Nutrition Adventures, specializes in diabetes management and geriatric nutrition in Nashville, and owns and operates food event company Oh My Nosh! with fellow dietitian Lindsey Joe. Follow her on Twitter.