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Zero-Waste Allotment Veg Pasties

Zero-Waste Allotment Veg Pasties

These rustic, meat-free pasties take their lead from Greek spanakopita (spinach & feta cheese filo pies) and are the perfect treat for picnics. They can be made with any combination of greens you like – it’s all about using up whatever you’ve got lurking in your fridge.

Soil Association ambassador Rosie Birkett came up with them after a meagre and rather random haul of greens from her allotment - a mix of spinach, chard and kale along with some window-box herbs. The cumin in the pastry adds a pleasing earthiness, while the za’atar brings a bright blast of herbaceousness. Serve with a simple tomato salad.

rosie's freshly baked allotment pasties presented on a plate

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 slices of preserved lemon, deseeded and finely chopped (shop-bought or see page 151), or grated zest of
  • ½ unwaxed lemon
  • 250g mixed greens (chard, spinach, watercress, kale) and soft herbs (lovage, parsley, dill, basil, tarragon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 75g fresh curd cheese, ricotta or cream cheese
  • 100g feta, camembert or mozzarella, diced or roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Fermented Green Chillies (page 146) or
  • Shop-bought pickled green chillies (optional)
  • Nutmeg, for grating 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp za’atar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry
  • 180g light spelt (or plain) flour, and 20g wholegrain rye flour (or 200g spelt or plain flour)
  • 100g ricotta or full-fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin 20ml olive oil
  • 1–3 tbsp iced water

Method

First, make the pastry. Place the flour(s), ricotta, salt and cumin in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the olive oil and the iced water, a tablespoon at a time, sprinkling it all across the crumb and blitzing between additions until the dough clumps together (you may not need all the water).

Tip the dough out into a bowl and mould it into a ball. Wrap it in greaseproof paper (rather than cling film, which makes it sweat) and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and slide in the onion, garlic and preserved lemon or lemon zest with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant but not colouring, then add the greens.

Season with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice, put the lid on and let them wilt down for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat and transfer the greens to a sieve to drain, pressing down on the greens to get rid of any excess moisture.

Roughly chop them, then tip into a bowl, add the cheeses and fermented chillies (if using) and toss to combine, grating over a little fresh nutmeg and salt and pepper. Leave to cool.

Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap it and divide it into four equal balls, pressing the balls into discs. Dust the surface with flour and roll each ball out toa circle about 20cm in diameter and just a little thinner than a pound coin.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Fill each circle of pastry with the cooled greens and cheese mix, leaving a 2cm border around the edge of the filling, drizzle over a little more olive oil and fold the pastry around the filling to seal. It’s up to you how you do this. You can either fold one half of pastry over the filling, seal to the other half and crimp like a pasty, or you can fold the edges up into the middle like an envelope or a little bag. Once formed, place on the lined baking sheet and chill for about 10 minutes, until firm.

Remove the pies from the fridge and brush them with the beaten egg. Scatter over the za’atar and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.