These little spinach and lentil parcels are perfect picnic food, and make a lovely healthy vegan lunch. They are quite robust, so hold together well and can be eaten easily with your fingers.
Like most recipes made with yeast, spinach and lentil parcels take a little time to make, but of course you can get on with other things whilst the dough is resting.
What you'll love about the recipe
- These little spinach and lentil pies are delicious for a vegan lunch or as part of a spread for dinner.
- Perfect for meal prep, they'll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and freeze well
- Spinach and lentil parcels are healthy! Packed with spinach, lentils, other veggies and spices, there's plenty of protein and fibre to keep you feeling full. And using this olive oil dough makes them much healthier and lower in saturated fat than a pie made with flaky pastry.
Flour. I’ve used half wholemeal, half white flour in this recipe. Using a wholegrain flour increases the fibre, and adds more nutrients such as vitamin B, iron and magnesium. Either strong flour or plain flour will work for this recipe, so use whichever you have available.
Olive oil. The dough for these spinach and lentil parcels is made with a higher proportion of oil than normal bread dough. This makes it flexible and easy to handle and roll out. Olive oil adds a great flavour to the pastry, but if you prefer you can use another healthy cooking oil.
You'll also need some dried yeast, warm water and salt.
If you don’t have time to make the dough, you can use ready-made pastry instead. Filo pastry would be a crispy lower fat option, but puff or flaky pastry can also be used. If you are using bought pastry, make the pasties into a simple semi circle rather than triangles. You could also make a large pie which would be even easier.
Spinach and lentil pie filling
The filling for these delicious parcels is made from a flavoursome and healthy mix of veggies, lentils and spices.
Onion, celery and garlic make a good flavour base.
Lentils. You can either use Puy lentils which hold their texture well and have a delicate flavour, or green lentils. Red lentils aren't suitable for this recipe as they'll be too mushy when they are cooked.
Spinach. Frozen spinach is very convenient, but you could use fresh if you prefer. You could also use kale instead of spinach.
Spices. Turmeric and cardamom give a warm fragrance to these spinach and lentil parcels. The spices also add health benefits. Turmeric is very good for you and can help to reduce harmful inflammation which can lead to a number of serious illnesses. If you fancy a touch of heat, you could also add some curry powder or chilli if you prefer. (If you are a fan of turmeric, why not try this spiced porridge for breakfast one day!)
Making the dough
I prefer to make the dough with a food processor. But if you do want to make it by hand, this dough is very easy to knead.
Simply mix all the dough ingredients, and knead for a few minutes until the mixture becomes smooth and elastic.
Leave the dough to rest for 1-1.5 hrs in a loosely covered bowl. The dough will rise and double in size.
Once the dough has rested, divide it into 8 pieces and roll into circles 15cm in diameter.
Making spinach and lentil parcel filling
Whilst the pastry is resting, make the filling. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and celery for a few minutes until starting to brown and soften.
Add the garlic, lentils, spices, seasoning and water and bring the mixture up to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the spinach and simmer for a further 10 minutes. The vegetables and lentils should be soft and all of the water should have evaporated. It’s important to make sure that the filling mixture is quite dry by the time that it has finished cooking in the pan, so that it doesn’t leak out when the pies are baking.
Shaping the parcels
You can make the parcels into whichever shape you wish. I’ve made these into triangular shapes like Greek spanakopita, but you could make them into traditional pasty shapes if you prefer. Either way, make sure that the edges are sealed well.
To make the triangles, place the filling in a roughly triangular shape at the centre of the dough and moisten the edge of the circle with water. Take up the dough on each side of the triangular filling forming a pyramid. Squeeze the edges together well. This youtube video demonstrates how to make the triangular parcels better than I can explain it!
For a classic pasty shape, simply place the filling on one half of the circle of dough, allowing a 1.5 cm edge for sealing. Moisten the edge of the circle with water, fold over and seal by squeezing together with your fingers. If you want to crimp the edge of the dough, this video shows you how.
Place the spinach pasties on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees (170 fan) for 20 minutes.
Serving and storage
Spinach and lentil parcels are delicious served warm or cold with a salad. You could also serve them as a starter or canape, in which case make them a little smaller. They will store well in the fridge for a few days. They also freeze perfectly.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, these little vegan spinach pies are a very healthy choice. The dough is lower in fat than pastry, and as it's made with olive oil it's very low in saturated fat. The tasty filling is a nutritious mix of vegetables, lentils and spices.
Not only is frozen spinach as healthy as fresh, it can actually retain more of its nutrients in some circumstances. Most vegetables are frozen within hours of being picked, whereas spinach that has been sat on the supermarket shelf for a day or two will have lost some of its vitamins. Of course if you are picking spinach fresh from your garden, nothing will beat that!
Other healthy lentil recipes
If you're a fan of lentils, why not try this lentil burger recipe. The burgers have a perfect texture and hold together really well. If you'd like to try some red lentil recipes, this red lentil bolognese or red lentil shepherd's pie are a real treat.
Spinach and Lentil Parcels
- 100 g wholemeal flour
- 100 g white flour plain or strong
- pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried instant yeast
- 50 ml olive oil
- 100 ml lukewarm water
- ½ onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 stick celery finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled and very finely chopped or crushed
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 50 g Puy lentils or green lentils
- 200 g frozen spinach can also use fresh
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 350 ml water
- Add all of the dough ingredients to a bowl and stir until mixed. Turn onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Alternatively mix and knead in a food processor. Turn into a loosely covered bowl and leave for 1 - 1.5 hours until doubled in size.
- Divide the rested dough into 8 pieces and roll into circles 15cm diameter.
- Meanwhile make the filling. Fry the onion and celery in oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, lentils, spices, seasoning and water, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the spinach, and cook for a further 10 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and the lentils are tender.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees (170 fan)
- Divide the mixture into 8 and place each portion into the centre of each dough circle. Moisten the edges of the dough, and form into triangles or semi-circular pasty shapes. (See notes above for further instruction and video links if required). Seal the parcels well.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve warm or cold.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.