Greens Pie is a healthy twist on shepherd’s pie. It’s loaded with veggies and leafy greens and topped off with a millet-amaranth crust. It’s a terrific dinner option for St. Patrick’s Day, Pi Day, or any day you’re craving a healthy comfort food. This nutritious recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
You’re going to be seeing a lot of “reruns” here on my blog this year. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and while the I stand by the older recipes, their accompanying photos aren’t really up to snuff anymore. Case in point: Greens Pie with Millet Mash. This is a dish I’ve photographed twice. The first set of photos were taken with my first generation iPhone right before I ate the meal. I tried to “style” the second set, but they’re pretty laughable now. Hopefully the third time will a charm.
This Greens Pie was inspired by a recipe from Clean Start by Terry Walters, and it’s sort of a healthy twist on the traditional shepherd’s pie. Here millet and amaranth replace the mashed potato crust, and greens make up the bulk of the filling. Mushrooms and beans give it a toothsome, meaty texture. My friend Karyn is always telling me how much she loves it.
What is Amaranth?
Millet and amaranth are two really nutritious grains that just aren’t used enough. Both are tiny little grains that don’t take too long to cook, and they go really well together. Both are also gluten-free, so this dish is good for people who have gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Amaranth is considered a pseudocereal, because it’s actually a seed. It was a staple food for the Aztecs, who used it to make tamales, tortillas, and hot cereal. It’s very small – about 1.5mm in size.
Amaranth contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It also contains high amounts of fiber, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and E. It’s been known to reduce inflammation in the body and aid in lowering cholesterol levels.
What is Millet?
Millet is also a pseudocereal, and it originated in Africa and Asia. The grains slightly larger than amaranth, about 2.5mm.
Like amaranth, millet is also high in protein, and it contains large amounts of fiber, B vitamins, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Some of its many health benefits include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, aiding in the prevention of heart disease, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.
How to Cook Millet and Amaranth
Amaranth has a 1:3 grain to liquid ratio, and it needs only about half an hour to cook. Millet has a 1:2 grain to liquid ration, and like amaranth, it only needs half an hour to cook. I have used more liquid than the grains require to cook them in this recipe, because I like them to get soft and mushy, mimicking mashed potatoes. I like to use vegetable stock rather than water when I cook grains, because it infuses them with extra flavor.
- Before you cook your grains, you should place them in a fine mesh strainer and check for any small pebbles. Then give them a good rinse with cold water.
- To cook both grains, you add the grains and the liquid to a medium-sized pot and bring it to a boil.
- Once in boils, you reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Let the grains cook for about half an hour, or they’re soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Both millet and amaranth can be cooked ahead of time and frozen until you’re ready to use them.
How to Make Greens Pie with Millet-Amaranth Crust
This recipe may look a little daunting, but I promise you, it’s easy to make!
- While your grains are cooking, you cook the vegetables. Start by heating the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and cooking it until it begins to brown.
- Then you add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and beans. Cook them for another 10 minutes or so, until they soften.
- Next you add the greens, cooking them until the wilt and turn bright green. If you pan is small, you may need to add the greens in batches.
- Then you mix together the stock, tamari, rice vinegar and cornstarch and add the mixture to the pan. You should let it cook for a few more minutes to thicken.
- Finally, you spread the vegetables out at the bottom of a casserole dish and top them with the grain mixture. Bake for about half a hour, and dinner is ready!
Feel free to adjust the filling to your liking. If you don’t like mushrooms, you can omit them and use zucchini or bell peppers instead. Collards can be used instead of chard. Chickpeas can be used in the place of cannellini beans. Play with the recipe and make it your own!
Greens Pie with Millet Amaranth Crust
For the Crust
- 3/4 cup millet
- 3/4 cup cup amaranth
- 4 cups vegetable stock
For the Filling
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
- 1 small red onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 10 ounces white button or crimini mushrooms sliced
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1 14 ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 large bunch Swiss chard stems removed, chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1 large bunch Kale stems removed, chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, for serving
Place the millet and amaranth in a pot with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low setting and cover. Simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and have a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish ready.
While the grains are cooking, heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until it becomes translucent and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and beans, and continue to cook, stirring frequenly, for about 10 more minutes, until the vegetables have softened.. Add the chard and kale, and cook until they become tender and bright green. You may need to add the greens in batches, depending on the size of your pan.
Whisk together the vegetable stock, rice vinegar, tamari, and arrowroot in a small bowl. Pour over the vegetable mix and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Transfer vegetables to your casserole dish. Carefully, spread the millet-amaranth mixture over the top. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot.
Other recipes you might enjoy include:
- Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Millet Mash Crust
- Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Shepherd’s Pie
- Chickpea Pot Pie
- Baked Farro with Tomatoes and Herbs