What can I say about this dish? It is very special to me as it is the first family favourite meal I ever veganised. Everyone knows spinach and potato is a winning combination: saag aloo; spanakopita; spinach and potato knishes – you can’t go wrong when these two ingredients hang out together. This recipe is based on a recipe I used to make often when following the Slimming World programme. That recipe was a low fat version of Dale Pie.
I have no idea what Dale Pie actually is; the only thing I have found reference to online with a similar name is Denby Dale Pie, a meat and potato pie. The Dale Pie I and my mother and sister used to make was a simple casserole of spinach and potato smothered in low fat soft cheese and topped with crushed tortilla chips. This is the fancy-pants big brother of that recipe. It has evolved to become more rich, more flavoursome and, of course, cruelty free.
My mother and father are avid lovers of the humble white potato. In fact, I grew up eating potatoes virtually every day. Unfortunately, those potatoes invariably came with a side of some kind of animal flesh or another. I’m glad to say that my own little family is a meat-free household and that, since we have such a varied diet, we tend to eat potatoes more like once a week than once a day! However, when we do, this is my absolute favourite way to eat them and I hope it will become one of yours too!
This recipe is shared with Gluten Free Fridays and Fiesta Friday.
Spinach and Potato Casserole in a Creamy Garlic Sauce
1kg potatoes, cut into 1.5cm approx. chunks
Olive oil spray
200g shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
200g baby spinach
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
For the sauce: 150g cashews (soaked if not using a high speed blender)
1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Pinch dried chilli flakes
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Juice ½ lemon
For the breadcrumbs: 1 slice slightly stale thick white bread (Use gluten free bread if necessary)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Leaves from 3 sprigs thyme, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
- Boil potatoes until tender, then drain and leave to steam dry.
- Place a medium frying pan over a medium-low heat and spray with olive oil. When hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated. Add the spinach one large handful at a time, stirring until wilted between each addition. Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme and parsley.
- Preheat the oven to 200oC/gas mark 6/400oF.
- To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Spread the spinach mixture over the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish in an even layer. Spread the potatoes on top. Pour over the sauce in an even layer. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the breadcrumbs, combine the bread, thyme and garlic in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. With the motor running on a low speed, drizzle in the olive oil. Process until combined.
- When the casserole has been baking for 20 minutes, remove the foil and spread the breadcrumbs on top. Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve with a side of roasted or steamed veggies.