It is ridiculously embarrassing for me to admit this, but one of my favorite childhood meals was chicken pot pie. From a box.
In my defense, I think I was more into the idea of the pot pie rather than the pot pie itself. I loved that I got a whole pie (!!) to myself, I loved that it was super creamy in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way, and I loved how all that sauce soaked itself into the buttery crust so that it was both crisp and soggy all at the same time.
It was a fairly short-lived love affair, however, as my mom eventually realized that one pie contained five days’ worth of sodium and enough calories to fuel us through three marathons, and immediately removed all traces of them from our freezer. I haven’t had one of those in years, and while I can’t say that I really miss them, pot pie will always have a special place in my heart.
One of my favorite challenges as a vegetarian is figuring out how to remake some of my favorite childhood comfort foods without the meat and with a major veggie overhaul. An added bonus is that I often feel better about eating them since they are usually not as heavy as their meat-filled counterparts. As it turns out, the thing I loved most about chicken pot pie as a child was not the chicken itself, but rather the cream sauce and the buttery crust, so it was pretty easy to transform the pot pie into a meatless main dish that satisfied my comfort food cravings.
In this rendition of it, I’ve replaced the chicken with chickpeas and added in a rainbow of seasonal veggies, including sweet potatoes, carrots, Swiss chard and peas. A hint of smokiness is added into the mix with a dash of smoked paprika and the whole thing is topped off with a layer of puff pastry, which gives you the buttery crispy crust without actually requiring you to take the time to make pie dough from scratch. As an added bonus, this is a one-pot meal that can go from stove to oven to table in around an hour, half of which is hands-off time while you wait for the puff pastry to bake. Use ramekins to make single-serve chickpea pot pies if you prefer—just make the filling in one big pot and then distribute it among the smaller containers and top each with a piece of puff pastry before baking.
Easy Chickpea Pot Pie
A meatless riff on the comfort food classic. These creamy pot pies are filled to the brim with hearty veggies and stick-to-the-ribs chickpeas, then topped with puff pastry baked golden brown.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced
- 1 (10 oz) bag frozen peas
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (14.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 oz frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Add the olive oil to a large dutch oven or another large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the onions along with a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, 3–4 minutes.
- Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and another pinch of salt to the pot. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies start to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the vegetable broth to the pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, 5–6 minutes.
- Stir the Swiss chard, frozen peas, and chickpeas into the pot, cooking until peas are warmed through and Swiss chard has wilted, 2–3 minutes.
- Add the flour to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining vegetable broth. Increase the heat to medium and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the filling has thickened. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is big enough to cover the pot. Drape the puff pastry over the pot and cut a few slits in the center so that the steam can escape as it cooks.
- Bake until the puff pastry is lightly golden and the filling is bubbling, 30–35 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
As an alternative to baking the filling in one big pot, you can divide it among smaller oven-safe dishes for a portion-controlled, single serving option. These might bake faster, so start checking them at the 20 minute mark.