Spring should be in the air right now.. but it hasn’t completely arrived in Ireland just yet. It was one very rainy and cold weekend again, so I took comfort in making a heartwarming recipe. We all know beef Wellington, fillet steak coated with pâté and duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry and baked in the oven which is a treat to meat lovers, but there isn’t much out there for vegetarians to enjoy, so I decided to make my own vegetarian version.
I ended up making a mixture of pistachio nuts with spinach, kale, red onion and mushrooms and added some tofu and sweet potatoes to it. It was the first time I ever ate and used tofu but I knew it is a bland ingredient on its own. Luckily it absorbs the other flavours very well which is why I went for a good amount of flavourful pistachio nuts, onion and potatoes. It didn’t take me very long at all to make this recipe, the longest part was waiting for it to be ready in the oven! I served it as individual portions, by using with small baking tins, making it very cute to serve too.
Best part of it all is that tofu, kale and spinach are superhealthy for you! Tofu is a great source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It’s also an excellent source of iron & calcium and magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. Tofu is also thought to provide the same sort of protection against cancer and heart disease as soy beans.
Kale is a very good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids phosphorus, protein, folate, and niacin. It’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer and it’s now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system.
Last but not least we have spinach! According to Medical News Today: “Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals. The possible health benefits of consuming spinach include improving blood glucose control in diabetics, lowering the risk of cancer, lowering blood pressure, improving bone health, lowering the risk of developing asthma and more.”
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!
Serves: 4 people
- 300g mushrooms
- 800 sweet potatoes
- 2 red onions
- 200g curly kale
- 200g baby spinach
- 325g tofu
- 175g pistachio nuts (with shells: 280g)
- two rectangular puff pastry sheets (375g each)
- 4 teaspoons of dried rosemary
- 1 egg
- pepper & salt
Get out a large pot and fill it up with water and a bit of salt. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them in half and add them to the pot and bring to a boil. We’re only partially boiling them, no need to have them fully boiled as they’ll go into the oven for 45 minutes later. So once the water boils, let them boil for only 3-5 minutes. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool down a bit before chopping them in tiny bitesize pieces.
Meanwhile you can chop up your onions and mushrooms in slices. The onion don’t have to be too finely sliced, they’re going into the mixer next. For the mushrooms make sure to do slice it up in small pieces as you want them fully fried before mixing. Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion and mushrooms and fry until the onions are glazed and the mushrooms have browned.
Fill the large pan again with water and a dash of salt, bring to a boil. Break the leaves from the kale stalk, trim away the tough centre stalk. Wash, then shred into small pieces (this is going into the mixer too so no need to make it very small). Cook for 1,5 minute, then add the spinach and cook for another minute. Drain and set aside.
Now get your mixer and add onion, mushroom, kale, spinach, pistachio nuts and season well with pepper and salt. Mix mix mix until you have a thick paste.
Chop up your sweet potatoes if you haven’t done so already and slice the tofu up in small bitesize pieces too. Stir the paste together with the tofu and potatoes (don’t stir too hard, you don’t want to break up the potatoes and tofu). Now get a baking tin/ceramic pan and line it with parchment paper. I used small baking tins of about 20×12,5cm and about 3cm high. You can of course use a large casserole too and make one big Wellington.
If you go for the small portions: Cut your puff pastry into 2 pieces and put them in your baking tin. You can roll the dough out a little bit but don’t make it too thin or it might burst. Put the dough int your dish, and fill it up with a few scoops. I made mine a few centimeters higher than the tin, so it would turn into a lovely shape in the oven.
Fold over the pastry, start by folding over left-right and finish with top-bottom. Pinch the dough together so there are no gaps (which will cause the pastry to open in the oven). Now break and egg and stir it together. Use a pastry brush to cover the top of the pastries and sprinkle some rosemary on top.
Put them in the oven at 200° for 30-45 minutes until lovely golden brown. If you have some leftovers, the best way to prepare them again the next day is to pop them in the oven in/on an ovenproof plate for 7 minutes and then put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes, the microwave will heat up the filling, the oven will make the crust lovely and crusty again after being in the microwave.