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Vegan Nigerian “Meat” Pie

by Tomi Makanjuola (@Vegan Nigerian)

This quintessential Nigerian snack was a prominent staple in my childhood – either as an after-school snack or a weekend treat. I have found memories of my family driving to one of the many eateries in Lagos to pick up a half dozen of the pies for us all to enjoy. When I was old enough to start cooking on my own, I was SO proud when I was able to nail a homemade version of the dish. After going vegan, it was reassuring to know that I could still recreate this snack, particularly thanks to the availability of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.

As the name suggests, the central ingredient in the traditional recipe is ground meat, and the pastry layer often contains egg and butter. But to make the plant-based version, I prefer to use soy-based mincemeat, and I replace the dairy ingredients with a plant-based alternative – Flora Margarine.

It’s an easy recipe to make and I really appreciate how with just two easy substitutions, I can still create a dish from my culture and my childhood that meets me where I’m at in my life’s journey now as a vegan. Anyone, even kids, can make this dish, and the best part is rolling out and filling the dough – there’s just something so therapeutic about the process. I love it as a great lazy Sunday afternoon activity.

Once finished, I can assure that you’ll have a savoury pastry to satisfy all taste buds. Whenever I make the dish for others, I always receive positive feedback – it’s hard not to love a flavourful, savoury pastry such as this. In fact, the first time my family – all meat eaters – tried it, I didn’t tell them it didn’t contain meat. Needless to say, they were very surprised to learn it was 100% plant-based!

Enjoy!

                                                                         

DID YOU KNOW? A traditional Nigerian meat pie calls for dairy butter in the pastry dough. Replacing dairy butter with plant margarine in Tomi’s recipe saves 3.12 kg CO2-eq, which is equivalent to the emissions from 27 plastic bottles!

*Based on published research
Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers, by J. Poore & T. Nemecek. 2018.
Large-scale regionalised LCA shows that plant-based fat spreads have a lower climate, land occupation and water scarcity impact than dairy butter. 2020.

For more information see https://upfield.com/purpose/environmental-footprint/

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 500g or 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 300g or 1 1/3 cup cold Flora plant margarine, cubed
  • 60ml or 1/4 cup cold water
  • 56g or 1/4 cup Flora plant margarine, melted (for brushing)

 

For the filling:

  • 28g or 2 tbsp Flora plant margarine, for the pan
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 350g or 3/4 pound vegan mince meat
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 16g or 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 240ml or 1 cup vegetable stock

Instructions

(time est. approx. 30 minutes)

  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
  2. Make the pastry by mixing the flour, salt, baking powder and curry powder in a large bowl.
  3. Add the cold cubed margarine and use your fingers to rub it into the flour until you get a crumbly texture.
  4. Slowly add the cold water and mix until a firm dough is formed. Do not over-mix. Wrap the dough in cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Make the filling by heating 2 tablespoons of Flora plant margarine in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the vegan mince “meat”, diced potato and carrot. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
  6. Dissolve the corn flour into the vegetable stock and pour into the pan. Simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool completely.
  7. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and divide into 10-12 equal-sized balls. Take one piece and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a perfect 15cm or 6” circle. Brush a little water around the edge of the circle and place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center. Fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers to seal. Pierce the top with a fork to allow steam to escape. Place on an aluminum foil or wax paper-lined baking tray. Repeat this process for the rest of the dough and filling. Brush the top of each pie with melted Flora plant margarine.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Best served hot or warm with a side salad.

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