Rice, Leek & Spinach Pie (Not-quite-Nigella)

Amazing! This is such a wonderfully delicious vegetarian dish. With the sweetness of soft cooked leeks, fragrant spiced rice, two types of cheese & the goodness of spinach – a complete meal.

Serves: 6-8

1 cup/200g/7ozs. white rice – cooked in
1.5 cups/375ml/12.7flozs. vegetable stock for 15 mins absorption method.

30g/1oz butter
1-2 tablespoons oil
3 leeks (around 250g/8.8ozs), white part only & sliced finely (see note below)
6 cloves garlic, peeled & diced
500g frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup currants or sultanas
2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Sprig of thyme
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups/240g/8ozs shredded tasty or cheddar cheese
1/2 cup/45g/1.6ozs. parmesan cheese
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper for seasoning

For pastry:
2.5 cups/375g/ 13ozs. plain all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup/250ml /8.8flozs milk
1/3 cup/75g/2.65ozs natural yogurt or sour cream
5 egg
2 Tabs oil
1 tsp salt
2 Tabs melted butter to brush on afterwards
1 tsp nigella seeds

Step 1 – When rice/broth is cooked through, add butter & oil to a large saucepan on medium heat & melt the butter. Add the leeks, cook until soft. Add garlic – cook 2-3 mins. Add the spinach, cooked rice, currants, chilli flakes, cumin, nutmeg and thyme and cook for 5 minutes or so until fragrant and tasty. * (You can do this part ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days. On the day you want to use it, mix the rice mixture with the beaten eggs, two cheeses and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper).

Step 2 – For the pastry dough mix the flour, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. In a jug measure the milk, yogurt or sour cream, egg, oil and salt. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix together with a spatula until starting to come together. Then add a kneading attachment to your mixer and knead the dough until elastic (around 5-6 minutes on the lowest speed). Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl and allow to rise until double in size. **(I actually prefer letting this rise, covered, in the fridge overnight where it can prove for up to 3 days as long as it is completely covered).

Step 3 – When it is time to bake the pie, line the base & sides of a 20cm/8inch springform tin. Take dough from fridge, allow it to rest on the counter for 20 minutes. Cut dough into two: one 2/3 of the total weight, the other 1/3. With the larger portion, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface – to  fit the tin and the sides, so roll it out quite large & thin. Transfer dough to the lined tin and gently coax it against the sides of the tin – allow to rest for 5 mins. In the meantime roll out the 1/3 portion of dough to fit the top of the pie.

Step 4 – Preheat oven to 180C. Fill pie with the rice mixture then top with round of dough & crimp the edges, trimming dough with scissors (I use the leftover dough to make pizza-cook’s treat!).
Cut a hole in the centre of the pie for steam to escape – bake for 45 minutes.

If browning too much at 30 mins, cover with a sheet of foil. You want it to cook the whole time so that the dough cooks on the base and sides. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with nigella seeds after. Serve with your favourite marinara or tomato based sauce (needs no salad).


Don’t want to make it a pie? This makes a WONDERFUL pilaf!! Just make the rice itself and serve it with fish or chicken!

Use bought pastry! Filo pastry works really well with this pie. Use 8 sheets of buttered filo pastry for the base and 6-8 layers of filo pastry for the top!

What can I use instead of leeks? If leeks aren’t in season try the same weight in golden eschallots or the white parts of spring onions.


The millet polenta ‘crust’ is topped with a quick kale pesto then a mound of everything bright, fresh and springy – asparagus ribbons and tips, a ton of fresh greens and microgreens.

Serves: one 9-10 inch pizza

for the crust:
1 cup millet – soaked in purified water overnight
1 Tab ghee or neutral coconut oil, plus more for oiling the skillet
juice of 1 lemon
3 cups warm vegetable broth
sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup almonds – soaked in purified water overnight
1 garlic clove
sea salt
about 3 cups roughly chopped kale
juice of ½ lemon
½ cup olive oil

1 bunch asparagus
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
neutral coconut oil or olive oil for drizzling

topping options
fresh salad greens
nutritional yeast
hemp hearts (de-hulled seeds)

vegie peeler

the crust
1.  Drain & rinse the millet, place into food processor. Grind until partially broken down.

2.  In medium saucepan warm up the ghee/oil over medium heat. Add millet, stir to coat.

3.  Add lemon juice and stir until absorbed; for about 30 seconds.
Add the broth, salt, garlic powder & black pepper, and bring to a boil while stirring.

4.  Lower the heat & simmer for 10 minutes. Mix in the flax and simmer another 10 mins until creamy. Stir frequently to prevent clumping.

5.  Oil a 9-10-inch cast iron skillet or another heavy bottomed oven-proof pan. Evenly spread the millet over the bottom to make the crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let set.

to make the pesto
1.  Drain & rinse the almonds, optionally slip them out of their skins and rinse again. Add the almonds, garlic and salt to a food processor and grind into rice-sized pieces.

2.  Add the kale & lemon and grind into pesto. With the motor still running, slowly add in the oil through the funnel.

to make the pizza
1.  Preheat oven to 230° C. Bake millet crust for 20 minutes.

2.  Cut off tough ends of asparagus sprigs, discard them. Shave sprigs into ribbons with a veggie peeler. Reserve the leftover, unshaved parts and cut them into bite-sized pieces.

3.  Remove crust from the oven, evenly spread the kale pesto over it (maybe leftovers).
Pile the asparagus ribbons & pieces on top of the pesto. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, drizzle with oil and place under the broiler, on the low setting, for another 10 minutes.

4.  Remove from the oven, cool slightly before topping with greens & microgreens, if using. Optionally, garnish with nutritional yeast and hemp hearts, slice and serve.