- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

You can never have too many choices for vegetarians at Thanksgiving — so here’s another one to add to your list.

This delightful savory pie is light enough to leave room for all those great holiday side dishes, and it has such a good texture-and-flavor combination that turkey lovers might want to dig in as well. Make one or more mushroom pies up to several days ahead of time and refrigerate them. This way, your alternative (or additional) Thanksgiving entree will be ready to heat and eat on the big day.

Please note that this pie also is a perfect light supper for the days following the holiday, when we need less bulk as we literally decompress from all that richness. Enjoy.

Mushroom pie with spinach crust

The pie can be made two days ahead and refrigerated. To reheat, let it come to room temperature, then cover lightly with foil and place in the oven at 300 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.

1 tablespoon canola oil or butter

1 cup minced onion

½ teaspoon salt

3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 large egg

1 cup firm yogurt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup grated Swiss cheese (any kind)

½ cup minced fresh parsley

1 spinach crust (recipe follows)

Paprika for the top.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and wait about a minute. Add the canola oil or butter (let it melt), and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion and salt and cook until the onion begins to soften (5 to 8 minutes). Add the mushrooms and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat about 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Gradually sprinkle in the flour, mustard and herbs, stirring as you go. Cook and stir over medium heat another 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

In a medium-large bowl, beat together the egg, yogurt, black pepper, grated cheese and parsley. Beat in the mushroom sautee. Pour this filling into the prebaked crust, and lightly dust the top with paprika.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Makes 4 main-dish servings or 5 to 6 appetizer servings.

SPINACH PIE CRUST

Nonstick spray for the pan

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces fresh spinach, cleaned and finely minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup wheat germ or fine bread crumbs

A few grates (or dashes) of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray a 9- or 10-inch pie pan with nonstick spray.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and wait about a minute. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn up the heat to medium high, add the spinach and salt, and saute quickly until the spinach is limp.

Remove from heat, add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Pat into the prepared pan, using a fork at first and then your fingers to mold the crust.

Prebake for 15 minutes. No need to cool before filling and rebaking.

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