Veggie Pot Pie with Fennel and Potatoes
This comforting veggie pot pie recipe delivers a cozy, filling, and healthy meal. Loaded with tender, flavorful veggies, perfectly seasoned, and topped with a flaky puff pastry crust, this is a plant-forward meal that pleases everyone.
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We’re always excited about comfort food. We’re always excited about a new meatless meal. But, all too often the Venn diagram of those criteria amounts to a whole lot of pasta. Don’t get me wrong, we’re pasta-lovers through and through, but sometimes you just want to put a few more plants in “plant-based.” Ya feel me?
Say hello to our new favorite: a veggie pot pie loaded with carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and herbs, and topped with a flaky-yet-foolproof puff pastry crust. This is based on Aida Mollenkamp’s vegetarian pot pie, which introduced me to the beauty of adding fennel, and of making the roux right in with the veggies. This version has extra potatoes (hearty!), thyme and lemon (flavor!), veggie stock (staple!), and a prep time achievable by mere mortals.
Ingredients and shopping tips
Here’s what you’ll need to make this veggie pot pie tonight. It may seem like a lot but don’t be intimidated. The finished product is 100% worth the effort! See the full recipe below for detailed amounts and instructions.
- Yellow onion
- Fennel – if you haven’t cooked with fennel, let this be your opportunity to try it! It’s typically sold right alongside other fresh produce. If you simply can’t find it, swap in leek or celery or leave it out entirely. The flavor will be different but still excellent.
- Potatoes – either russet or Yukon gold work beautifully.
- Parsley – fresh is a nice touch, but dried is fine.
- Lemon juice – just a squeeze but it makes the whole dish!
- Whole milk
- Egg – optional but a nice finishing touch to give the pastry a beautiful golden sheen.
- Dried thyme, kosher salt, black pepper
- Veggie broth
- Puff pastry – one sheet, defrosted
- Frozen peas
How to make veggie pot pie
I’ll tell you straight, this is going to take a few minutes to prep. It’s not to be made when you’re running on fumes.
This is comfort food for a lazy day. Gather your ingredients and start about an hour and a half before you want to eat. You’ll be happy and calm while it comes together, and there will be plenty of time to relax–and clean up, if you want–while the pie bakes.
Of course, your first step is to prep the veggies. Chop everything. If you’re intimidated by the fennel, don’t be! Here’s a quick visual guide to what you’re going for.
You’ll also need to chop the carrots, onion, and potatoes, and slice the mushrooms unless you bought pre-sliced. Then cook all of that together in a Dutch oven, and season season season. The veggies will start to get soft.
Now the magic: you can make the creamy, delicious, roux right in the same pot. You’re skeptical, I know. “No lumps?” Trust, friend. Just keep stirring and there will be no lumps. The most important element here is to fully incorporate the flour before adding the liquid–as in the middle picture below. Then add the liquid, stir well, and let it bubble and thicken for a few minutes.
Now add in the peas, parsley, and a big squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon seems small but I promise it’s transformational! Thanks to Samin Nosrat, we know that every dish needs a little acidity, and the lemon does the job perfectly here, adding brightness and the tiniest hint of citrus flavor.
Scoop the mixture into a baking dish, and cover with puff pastry. If there’s any excess pastry, trim it off, or press it up against the sides of the baking dish. If it’s tucked under itself in a second layer, the texture will be off when it bakes.
Cut a few slits to allow steam to escape, pop it in the oven, and voila! Veggie puff pastry, at your service.
Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Gently cut the pastry, scoop generous portions out into bowls, and watch the crowd go wild.
Can I make this ahead?
Yes! You can prepare the filling 1-2 days ahead of time, store in the fridge, then cover with the pastry and bake as directed when ready to eat.
You can also make the entire pot pie ahead of time. Let the baked pie cool, then cover it tightly and store in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat at 350 degrees F for around 25 minutes, tenting the top with foil so the pastry doesn’t burn.
Can I make this in individual portions?
Absolutely! Individual portions are fun to serve, and it’s barely more work. Just divide the prepared filling among the desired number of ramekins or other oven-safe dishes, cover each with a piece of puff pastry cut to fit, and bake as directed. The cooking time is the same.
- As noted above, swap out the fennel for leeks or celery.
- Add or replace any of the veggies with green beans, corn, or cauliflower.
- In place of the puff pastry, top with pie crust or biscuits. The biscuits used in this chicken pot pie recipe would be fantastic.
Veggie Pot Pie with Fennel and Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 head fennel chopped
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and diced (we love either russet or Yukon gold)
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12-14 cranks freshly-ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk divided
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 sheet puff pastry defrosted
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chopped carrots, onion, and fennel, and cook about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the potatoes, mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms shrink and release their liquid. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the broth, followed by 1 cup of the milk, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until the liquid mixture is smooth. Bring it to a simmer and cook until it thickens a bit, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the peas, parsley, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Be sure to taste at this point, and add more salt, pepper, or thyme as desired.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 1 tablespoon whole milk to form an egg wash.
- Scoop the pie filling out into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Carefully lay the puff pastry over the filling, trimming any excess from the edges. Cut slits in the top to form vents, and brush lightly with the egg wash.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. You may see the mixture bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Fennel is optional but really nice in this dish. See notes and photos in the recipe for a guide if you haven’t cooked with it before! If you prefer, you can leave it out or sub with leeks.
- When laying the puff pastry across the top of the pie, be sure to cut the excess and, if desired, crimp them up vertically along the edge of the baking dish. If you tuck excess pastry in, so that it’s in two horizontal layers, that portion may be soggy and undercooked.
- Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp / Food Network.