June 22, 2010

Cheese and Vegetable Pie with Sweet Potato Crust

Another hot summer night, and we're still settling back in after a whirlwind weekend of my sister's wedding in Connecticut. I have not gone grocery shopping, nor do I intend to, so I'm looking to use what I have on hand for dinner... there are sweet potatoes in the produce bowl, a carton of cottage cheese in the refrigerator. We have eggs, fresh feta, and some frozen and pantry staples. Time for a vegetable and cheese pie with sweet potato crust!

This pie is a savory creation that only tastes rich -- it's actually a very light on calories and fat, but has amazingly deep flavor and texture. I'll warn you right now that you are going to want to eat the whole pie in one sitting. If you did, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but the leftovers the next day are possibly even more delicious than when it comes hot out of the oven. The flavors have the chance to settle together  and blend overnight. Plus it looks neater the next day: since the cheese and egg isn't so hot, a slice of pie actually comes out in one piece, as you can see from the below picture.

Perhaps best of all is the fact that the whole thing is incredibly easy to make. It's a pretty pie, with it's orange crust, layers of spinach and onion on the bottom, cheese in the middle, and tomato and feta on top, and so it only looks labor intensive. Enjoy this as dinner, bring it to a brunch, or do as I did and bring a slice to work for lunch! P.S.- my crust was not pretty or evenly rolled, since I threw this together for dinner, so if you bring it somewhere you might want to even out the edges on top!

Cheese and Vegetable Pie with Sweet Potato Crust:
Olive-oil cooking spray
1/2 cup diced onion
8 oz (about 8 cups) baby spinach, or 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
3 whole eggs
1 cup fat-free or 1% cottage cheese
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled and divided into 2 portions
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil or dill, or 3 tsp dried basil or dill, divided into 2 equal portions
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. sea salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, or 1 can of diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tbsp grated Asiago or Parmesan

Heat oven to 350°. Coat a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the plate and 1" up the sides with the sweet potato crust. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Coat a sauté pan with cooking spray and sauté onion over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add spinach to pan and let wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain excess fluid from onion and spinach mixture. In a bowl, beat eggs, then stir in cottage cheese and half the feta. Add half the basil or dill and set aside. Spoon onion and spinach mixture into pie plate over the crust. Layer on egg mixture, then  top with the tomato. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until egg is set and a knife inserted into pie comes out clean. Turn off the oven, then sprinkle the grated Parmesan and the rest of the feta evenly over top of pie and top with remaining basil. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut pie into 4 wedges. Serve immediately.
Adapted from an Epicurious recipe

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