Spinach and Ricotta Pie (pastry crust version)
This is my favorite GLUTEN FREE spinach and ricotta pie recipe that I created for my husband Paul who loves his pies. It’s low GI and high in omega 3 and complete protein to fuel your body with essential nutrients for health and wellbeing. The pie will keep for about 3 days in the fridge. You can eat hot or cold.
Leafy greens such as spinach are the greatest food around and an excellent source of vitamins minerals and fibre. The darker the leaves the more nutrients it contains.
Ricotta is a good source of protein, which encourages muscle growth and repair. Protein will also supply your body slow-release energy to drip-feed your muscles after a workout. Cottage cheese is also fantastic if you don’t have ricotta. TO MAKE IT DAIRY FREE substitute the ricotta for smashed white cannelini beans blended with a little roasted garlic and hint of olive oil. They make a great replacement for the ricotta in the recipe and are high in protein and fiber to help lower cholesterol, make you regular and keep blood sugars stable.
My pastry is made from health giving ground almonds and linseeds. Almonds are packed full of protein + good monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol and keep you fuller for longer. They are also a great source of Vitamin E that research suggests can slow premature cellular ageing. Linseeds are full of omega 3 which your body must obtain from the food we eat. A diet high in omega 3 can help support your metabolism, lower insulin levels, decrease appetite, accelerate the loss of body fat, elevate mood, stabilize blood sugar levels, maintain healthy serotonin levels, increase energy levels, increase the health of the immune system. Omega 3 also helps stimulate the secretion of leptin which is a hormone that is produced by fat cells in the body. Elevated leptin levels help to suppress the appetite and burn any stored fat held within our fat cells.
400 g ground almonds
3 tablespoons ground linseed
3 organic / free range eggs
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Combine almonds linseeds, sea salt, eggs and oil into a mixing bowl and mix through using your hands until you form a lovely dough. Roll out into a round shape between 2 sheets of baking paper then line a 25 cm pie plate that has been lightly brushed with olive oil and coated in almond meal to prevent sticking. Should look like this:
500 g spinach leaves
2 leeks sliced or onions sliced
pinch black pepper and sea salt
handful fresh basil, sliced
400 g fresh ricotta cheese
In a large deep pot, saute onion or leek until soft over a low to medium heat in 1 tablespoon of olive or grape seed oil. Add spinach leaves – you may have to add in 2 batches if spinach doesn’t fit it, but that’s cool. Season with a little sea salt, pepper, nutmeg and basil. Cook only until spinach has wilted then remove from the heat and drain out any excess liquid.
Add the ricotta and mix through until combined. Now remember if you want to make this dairy free use cooked cannelini beans in place of the ricotta and puree with roasted garlic and a little olive oil. fold this through the spinach. Ricotta however gives a lovely creaminess to the pie and mellows out the spinach.
Spoon the filling into the pastry lined pie shell and bake for 35 – 45 minutes in a moderate 180 C oven until golden.
Serve alone or with a baby spinach salad drizzled with aged balsamic and enjoy.