About this recipe: Enjoy the taste of the Mediterranean with this vegetarian pie. It's packed with vegetables and chickpeas cooked in red wine with tomatoes and Italian herbs, and is topped with a Parmesan, sun-dried tomato and fresh basil mash. Serve with a seasonal green vegetable, such as Savoy cabbage, for extra vitamins and minerals.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
Use canned cannellini or flageolet beans instead of chickpeas. * Replace the celery with 2 chopped carrots. * Add chopped black olives to the mash rather than sun-dried tomatoes. * If Italian herb seasoning is unavailable, use any combination of dried basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and sage. * To make a spiced lamb pie, sauté 2 chopped red onions, 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, both seeded and chopped, 2 crushed garlic cloves, and 1–2 seeded and finely chopped fresh red chillies in 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in 2 tsp each ground cumin and coriander, then add 350 g (12½ oz) lean minced lamb and cook for 3–4 minutes or until browned. Add 1 small diced aubergine, 250 g (8½ oz) halved button mushrooms, 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g, with the juice, 2 tbsp tomato purée and 200 ml (7 fl oz) lamb or beef stock or red wine (or a mixture). Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. For the topping, cook the potatoes, then mash with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 100 ml (3½ fl oz) semi-skimmed milk. Mix in 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander and seasoning to taste. Transfer the lamb mixture to an ovenproof dish, cover with the mash and bake as in the main recipe.
Chickpeas, like other pulses, are a good source of dietary fibre. This is present mainly as the soluble type of fibre, which is helpful in reducing high blood cholesterol levels. * Courgettes are a good source of the B vitamins niacin and B6. It is important to eat the skins as this is where the greatest concentration of these nutrients is to be found. * Celery provides useful amounts of potassium as well as a compound called phthalide, which is believed to help lower high blood pressure.
A, B6, C, E, copper * B1, folate, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc * B2, B12
I modified it slightly to make it vegan, and replaced the celery with carrots (because I hate celery). I didn't have Italian herb seasoning, so I used a little thyme, some basil, oregano, and a load of parsley, and I also omitted the red wine. For the potato topping I left out the egg, parmesan and milk and instead used red palm and canola oil (and some water to improve the consistency). I was delighted with the result, and will definitely be making this again! - 28 Mar 2012