Vegan Cheese and Onion Pie

December 10, 2019

Cheesy (and totally dairy-free!) potato and onion filling is baked up between layers of flaky puff pastry crust to make this scrumptious vegan spin on classic cheese and onion pie! 

This was one of the most gratifying recipes I developed all year.

Once I found out that cheese and onion pie was a thing, I pretty much had to veganize it. And what better time than the holidays for something so rich and decadent?

But my hopes weren’t that high. I realized on the morning that I first attempted the recipe that it could be a huge pain to get this one right. There are so many ways to go about something like this! And many of them could turn out to be pretty bad.

So as I pondered the bowl of soaking cashews and the block of silken tofu sitting on my counter, I decided to scrap all my complicated plans and go with something super simple for the cheesy element of this pie: coconut milk. Best decision ever!

What is Cheese & Onion Pie?

Table Set with Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie with a Slice Cut Out and Sitting on a Small Plate

Cheese and onion pie is an English creation. I’ve looked at a lot of recipes for this dish, and frankly, besides the fact that they’re all pies filled with cheese and onions, they don’t have much in common. Some recipes use a lot of onion, some just a little. Some involve browning the onion, while some boil it. Cheddar seems to be the most popular type of cheese, but some recipes use other varieties. Some have eggs. Some have potatoes. Some have other stuff.

TLDR: cheese and onion pie is an English pie filled with cheese and onions. And whatever else you want!

Making a Vegan Cheese and Onion Pie

Slice of Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie on a Plate with Pie Dish, Parsley and Onions in the Background

The Filling

Our filling has a potato in it. The potato helps add some bulk to the filling, and potatoes are delicious, so I went with it. Just peel, dice and boil it until it’s fork tender.

While the potato cooks, you can start the sauce by cooking some thinly sliced onions in olive oil. Keep them over low heat and let them slowly cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until they soften up and just begin to brown.

Next you’ll add some garlic. Garlic doesn’t seem to be a typical ingredient in cheese and onion pie, but since our version is vegan we’re seasoning it with what’s available. Just cook the garlic for about a minute, until it becomes very fragrant.

Now start adding flour, just a bit at a time, stirring it in to create a thick paste that coats the onions. Once you’ve added all of the flour, let it cook for a minute and start adding coconut milk, a bit at a time. Use a whisk to combine the flour and coconut milk and to break up any big clumps.

Collage Showing Steps 1-4 for Making Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie: Cook Onions Until Soft, Sprinkle in Flour, and Pour in Coconut Milk

Now it’s time to season the sauce. Add some nutritional yeast, mustard, and hot sauce. You’ll also be adding some white miso paste, which is pretty thick. I recommend spooning some of the sauce into a separate cup, then whisking in the miso. When the mixture is smooth, add it to your sauce.

Let the sauce simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes — that’s about all it needs to thicken up. Remove the sauce from the burner and fold in the potato. Now just add some salt and pepper to taste, and your filling is done!

Collage Showing Steps 5-8 for Making Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie: Add Seasonings, Whisk Miso Together with Sauce, Whisk Sauce Together, and Stir in Potato

Assembling the Pie

I went with not so traditional puff pastry for the crust, simply because puff pastry is absolutely delicious and lots of brands are accidentally vegan.

Grab a pie dish (I recommend a deep one), lightly oil the surface, and roll a sheet of your puff pastry so it’s large enough to cover the bottom and sides. Drape it in the dish and poke a few holes in the bottom.

Transfer the filling into the pie dish, then roll out a second piece of puff pastry for the top of your pie. Arrange it over the filling and trim any excess dough from both sheets using a knife or kitchen shears. Pinch them together tightly to create a seal.

Cut a few slits in the top crust and brush it with olive oil. Bake the pie until the top crust is flaky and browning around the edges.

Collage Showing Steps for Assembling Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie: Arrange Pastry in Pie Dish, Fill with Filling, Cut Slits in Top Crust, and Brush it with Olive Oil

You can serve your pie hot, in which case it will be a bit sloppy, or let it cool and firm up.

Pair of Hands Holding a Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie Over a Table

Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie FAQ and Tips

  • Make ahead option: You can prepare the filling up to two days in advance and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. On the day of serving, take it out of the fridge an hour or two before filling and baking the pie to bring it up to room temperature.
  • How do the leftovers keep? The puff pastry will lose it’s crispness over time, and I haven’t found a way to get that back when reheating. But the pie will otherwise stay delicious! Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Can this pie be made with regular pie crust? I’m pretty sure it can, though the cook time might be a bit different. Keep a close eye on it while it bakes! Use my homemade vegan pie crust, or your favorite store-bought crust.
  • If you’re using frozen puff pastry, don’t forget to remove it from the freezer to thaw about 2 hours in advance. 
  • Does the hot sauce make this pie spicy? Not if you stick with the amount called for in the recipe and use a mild brand. I used Crystal brand and couldn’t detect any heat at all.
  • Can I omit the hot sauce? I don’t recommend it, as the hot sauce helps the pie taste cheesy. If you must leave it out, add a splash of vinegar to balance the flavors.
  • Where can I find vegan puff pastry? Many brands of frozen puff pastry are vegan. I used Pepperidge Farm.
  • Where can I find miso paste? Try the international foods section of your supermarket, or buy it online.

Hand Using a Pie Server to Remove a Slice of Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie from a Pie Plate

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Vegan Cheese & Onion Pie

Cheesy (and totally dairy-free!) potato and onion filling is baked up between layers of flaky puff pastry crust to make this scrumptious vegan spin on classic cheese and onion pie! 

  • 1 large russet potato, (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, (divided)
  • 1 pound yellow onions, (thinly sliced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon prepared whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mild vinegar-based hot sauce ((such as Crystal brand))
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, (or to taste)
  • Black pepper, (to taste)
  • 2 sheets frozen vegan puff pastry ((about 1.1 pounds or 490 grams), thawed)
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and add the potato. Boil the potato until fork tender, about 10 minutes.

  2. When the potatoes have finished cooking, drain them into a colander and return them to the pot.

  3. While the potatoes boil, coat the bottom of a medium skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil and place it over medium low heat. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the onions.

  4. Cook the onions for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and just beginning to brown.

  5. Raise the heat to medium, add the garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute, until the garlic becomes very fragrant.

  6. Being to sprinkle in the flour, a bit at a time, stirring to form a paste that coats the onions. Continue cooking and stirring for about a minute after adding the last of the flour.

  7. Begin pouring in the coconut milk, a bit at a time, and whisking it in to blend it with the flour.

  8. After all of the coconut milk has been added, stir in the nutritional yeast, mustard and hot sauce.

  9. Spoon a bit of the sauce out into a small cup and whisk it together with the miso until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet and whisk to combine.

  10. Let the sauce simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until very thick.

  11. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the potato. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

  12. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  13. Lightly oil the bottom of a 9-inch deep dish pie plate*.

  14. Roll one of your puff pastry sheets until it’s large enough to cover the bottom and sides of your pie plate. Drape it into the pie plate and use a fork to poke a few holes in the bottom.

  15. Spoon the filing into the pie plate.

  16. Roll the second puff pastry sheet until it’s large enough to cover the top of the pie. Drape it over the pie.

  17. Trim any excess pastry around the edges, then firmly pinch the top and bottom sheets together to form a seal.

  18. Use a knife to cut a few slits in the top of the pie, then brush it with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

  19. Place the pie into the oven and bake it until the top crust is flaky and beginning to brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.

  20. Remove the pie from the oven and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can slice it hot, in which case it will be a bit sloppy, or let it cool a bit to firm up.

  21. Serve.

If you don’t have a deep dish pie plate, a small casserole dish (about 1.7 quarts) can be used.

The post Vegan Cheese and Onion Pie appeared first on Connoisseurus Veg.

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