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28.05.2020

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A super easy, one-bowl “pie” with spinach, beetroot greens, lettuce and leeks. Cornmeal and spelt flour bring the greens together into a sliceable slab which is perfect with a tomato salad for a light dinner or lunch (or even breakfast), or on its own as a snack. Nutritional yeast and marmite provide the extra depth of flavour that is sometimes missing from pies without cheese.

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: Lettuce leaves, beet leaves with their stalks, dill, spring onions and leeks all layed out on a wooden surface. Just above them is a chopping board with some chopped spinach and a knife on it.

I adore pies of all kind. I adore eating them, but I don’t particularly adore making them. They stress me out, as I’m always worried the pastry won’t cook properly. Luckily, out of the hundreds of pies made here in Greece there are some that are ideal for anyone who has this weird kind of anxiety.

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: a large bowl with chopped mixed greens inside. To the top of the image is a chopping board with leeks and onion on it, and to the bottom (half visible) is a baking tin with two small cups, one containing coarse salt and one containing sesame seeds. A small jar of olive oil is also barely visible next to them.

These pies are made with a flour or cornmeal batter. Not having to roll out pastry made them a much easier option back in the day when one couldn’t just pop out and get a pack of ready-made phyllo. Hence the nick-name “lazy person’s pie”. They are also known as “flour-pies” and can be made with various cheeses instead of greens (or a combination).

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A large bowl with cornmeal is in the middle of the image. To the top of the bowl are small jars with nutritional yeast, olive oil, soy milk, marmite, and a chopping board with a lemon and grater on it. To the bottom of the bowl is a tiny ceramic dish with black pepper, and a baking tin with two small cups containing salt and sesame seeds.

But let’s talk about this one in particular. What I love most about it is its versatility. You can use any greens you have on hand. Spinach is almost always a major player, but you could mix and match with anything that takes your fancy, or anything you have lurking in the produce draw. You can use wilted or bruised leaves, so it’s a great way to avoid food waste too. For example why throw out the outer leaves of that lettuce you just bought? Here I’ve used spinach, beetroot leaves and stalks, lettuce, leeks (whole), spring onions (whole), dill and spearmint. Other greens I would try are escarole (aka endive, the leafy green kind), chard, kale (not a lot since it’s strong tasting), lamb’s lettuce, sorrel, chervil etc.

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A large bowl with mixed greens in batter, ready to be transferred to a baking tin.

So many greens to choose from! Spring always makes me want to eat even more veg. If you’ve been tempted to buy a whole lot and you’re not sure how to use it up, you can always check out the Love My Salad website. This is my third recipe for the site and I am always excited to contribute new dishes!

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A large baking tin with a mixed greens and batter mixture. The top has been sprinkled with sesame seeds and drizzled with olive oil. To the side are a small jar of olive oil, a spoon and a small glass cup of sesame seeds.

Back to our pie. As regards the flour, the traditional version that inspired me to create this recipe uses only cornmeal (flour made from corn). I, however, replaced part of the cornmeal with spelt flour. Cornmeal is quite coarse and I felt that the spelt evened things out a bit somehow. Feel free to use only cornmeal if you prefer or if you can’t find spelt (also known as dinkel).

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A large tin containing a baked pie with greens. Around the sides of the tin are two linen napkins.

Another very non-traditional twist in this recipe is the addition of nutritional yeast and marmite (a food spread made from yeast extract). These are in no way Greek ingredients, but I’ve added them because they impart a great depth of flavour to the pie while keeping it plant-based.

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A close side view of the pie with some slices removed and placed one on top of the other so as to reveal the pink beetroot stems inside.

The main feature that makes this pie (and all others of its kind) “pie-like” is its thinness. To achieve it you need a large dish or tin. If it’s baked in a smaller dish it will be more bread-y/cakey. Not quite what we are aiming for. If you don’t have a dish or tin as large as mine use a large baking tray (maybe the one that came with your oven?) as long as it has a little bit of a “lip”.

Easy Greek “Flour Pie” with Cornmeal, Spelt and Mixed Greens (Spinach and Beets) www.thefoodiecorner.gr Photo description: A large baking tin containing a cooked greens pie. Some slices have been removed and placed on a piece of baking paper at the side of the tin. A knife is lying over the edge of the tin, its tip touching the pie. To the bottom of the tin are two linen napkins.

Right, I think I’ve babbled more than enough. Time to let the cooking do the talking! (But do also check the notes, there’s a few of them today!)

Ingredients

80 g onion, chopped
100 g leeks, chopped (green parts included)
250 g spinach (mature leaves, not baby spinach)
150 g beetroot leaves (with stalks)
100 g romaine lettuce
30 g dill (with stalks)
100 g spring onions, chopped (green parts included)
10 g spearmint leaves, chopped
2 tsp coarse salt
1 ½ Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs marmite
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp black pepper
360 ml (1 ½ cup) soy milk
120 ml (1/2 cup) water
1 tsp + 90 ml (6 Tbs) + 30 ml (2 Tbs) + extra for greasing pan, good quality olive oil
300 g cornmeal
200 g spelt flour (or use all cornmeal making a total of 500 g)
30 g (1/2 cup) nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbs sesame seeds, optional

Step 1

Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and sauté the onion and leeks until softened and slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes (turn heat to medium/low if necessary so it doesn’t burn). Set aside.

Step 2

Chop or tear the spinach, beetroot leaves, lettuce and dill into large pieces (this retains flavour) and combine in a large bowl. Add the spring onion and spearmint. Sprinkle with the salt, add the cooked onions and leeks, and then toss and massage the greens until they start to wilt. Add the lemon juice, marmite, zest, sugar and pepper. Continue to toss and massage the mixture with your hands until it wilts some more and the ingredients become incorporated (watch that sticky marmite!). It will be wet and juicy but don’t squeeze out the moisture.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 180C degrees (conventional).

Step 4

Pour the soy milk, water and 90 ml of olive oil into the bowl with the greens. Add the cornmeal, spelt flour and nutritional yeast. Mix with your hands until all the dry ingredients become moist and everything is evenly distributed.

Step 5

Generously grease a 40 cm round baking dish or tin with olive oil and spread the mixture evenly over the bottom. It should be very thin. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds if desired, and drizzle with the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes until the mixture is set.

Step 6

Let the pie sit for 5 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm from the oven with a tomato salad for dinner or lunch, or enjoy cold as a snack.

Notes:
-This recipe makes 6 servings if eaten as a meal. As a snack it could serve about 12.
-Weigh the greens when dry.
-Sautéing the onion and leeks first is optional, but it does add to the flavour. If you prefer, just add them raw along with the rest of the greens.
-You can use whatever greens you have on hand. Check the blog post for more info.
-I used pre-packaged/cut spinach (see ingredient photo) and it was cut smaller than I would have liked. If you are using whole leaves tear or chop them into larger pieces.
-If you can’t find a baking dish large enough, use your oven’s baking tray (see blog post for more).
-The pie in the photograph was made with cornmeal only. If you add spelt the colour will be slightly darker.
-You can easily halve the recipe and use a round 30 cm baking dish.
-This post is sponsored by Love My Salad. All opinions are my own.

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