Southwestern Summer Vegetable Pie (recipe)

August 30, 2013


This is one of those wonderful recipes that comes out fantastically no matter how hard you try to wreck it. If you broadly generalize, you only need three ingredients—2 cups cooked grain, 6 cups chopped/sliced vegetables, 3 ounces grated cheese—well, and seasoning. The beauty of it is you can use whatever you have lying around, as you will see below when you compare how I made it tonight with the original.


As are many of my favorite vegetables, tomatillos are currently in season and I wanted to get some at the farmer’s market this afternoon. I found an excellent tomatillo soup recipe (by the way, disregard the photo of the red soup that is the default and click through until you find the lovely photo of green soup in a square white bowl—that’s how it really is, and I pulled the chicken rather than diced it) but since we’ve been in the depths of the summer sauna for the last week, soup is kind of the last thing on my mind, delicious though that recipe is. Then I remembered the Cooking Light (magazine) roasted vegetable tart that I’ve been making for years and knew I could make a Southwestern version based around the tomatillos. I trotted over to the market and filled my bag up with the fixins, then quickly retreated back to the subpar air conditioning in the office.

Thursdays during the non-winter season (this is Minnesota, we were still having snow in April and May this year) the market happens downtown on Nicollet Mall. It’s an offshoot of the larger, daily market on the west edge of downtown. It’s pretty good, though I’d estimate that about half of the vendors don’t grow anything and peddle the B- or C-string commercial produce that stores and restaurants reject. I’m a little skeptical that those bananas were grown here in the northwoods.


For actual farmer-grown stock, it is my impression that the best bet is the stalls on the north end between 5th and 6th Streets. And if they don’t grow what they sell themselves, at least they have the courtesy to hide the commercial waxed cardboard boxes and remove the stickers from the items. But I’m confident that their offerings are homegrown. I remembered from a couple years ago that the one family had tomatillos—big, giant, fresh tomatillos. Tomatillos are one of my favorite, newer ingredient discoveries. I gave them a shout-out three years ago. You should try them if you are unfamiliar with them. My favorite way to use them is in my “Mexican” pizza—you can get the scoop on that under the third photo in this post.

Anyway, I’ve kept you long enough. Here’s the original recipe, and below is how I made it tonight. For simplicity’s sake I copied and pasted some of the instructions but that doesn’t mean I’m a plagiarist (erm…). I’m just lazy. You don’t be lazy and make this!


Southwestern Summer Vegetable Pie
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1/4 cup regular quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup red quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup black rice, cooked
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1-1/2 cups sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced tomatillo
1 medium tomato, sliced
salt, pepper, oregano, crushed red peppers to taste
1/2 cup pepper Jack cheese, grated

Cook the grains according to package directions. Combine in a medium bowl and let cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and olive oil together in a bowl. Place mixture in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes.

Because the tomatillos and tomatoes cook down and get watery, I did the following. Place the tomatillos in a second baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. You can do this concurrently with the peppers and onions. At the same time, sauté the tomatoes until their liquid is reduced, about 7 or 8 minutes. Combine all cooked vegetables in a bowl. Stir in seasoning.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.

Combine the egg white and Swiss cheese with the quinoa mixture. Press into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese over quinoa crust. Top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.


3 Responses to “Southwestern Summer Vegetable Pie (recipe)”

  1. offmotorway Says:

    I’ve never tried black rice, I’ll have to see if we can get it in the UK! But I love the look of this, and can experiment with different bases!

  2. kellydna Says:

    I had the black rice left over from another recipe. It has a slightly sweeter flavor than white varieties and gives off lots of color.

  3. […] desk. I usually eat at my desk whether I pack or go out and bring something back. Today it’s the veggie pie recipe I posted last week. In this week’s version I used brown rice, a poblano pepper, a red bell […]

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