My vegan cheese, onion and potato pie is a plant-based version of the old school dinners British cheese, onion and potato pie.
Many people have fond memories of enjoying cheese, onion and potato pie for school dinners or served up by their parents or grandparents.
This pie is packed with classic cheese and onion flavours and complimented with the cheesy sensations that only nutritional yeast flakes can provide! If you are not familiar with nutritional yeast you are in for a surprising treat. Or if your not too keen on nutritional yeast then suspend your scepticism as this recipe will change your mind!
Many traditional recipes do not have a pastry crust so this can be omitted for a quicker pie. But the wholemeal pastry is such a crisp, nutty and melt-in-the-mouth wholesome experience that it is so worth the extra effort.
This pie is perfect for wowing dinner guests or served chilled for picnics, buffets, pack lunches or simply everyday enjoyment.
What is an old School British Cheese, Onion and Potato Pie?
Basically this old school pie was served up for school dinners during the 60s, 70s and 80s and came with or without a pastry crust. More typically the pie was simply potatoes and onion boiled together, mashed and cheese added. This mix was scooped into a casserole dish with extra cheese added to the top, and baked until golden.
Often sliced tomatoes where placed across the pie for a classic touch.
Some sources refer to this pie as a Cheese and Onion pie whilst still containing potato.
What is a Vegan Traditional Cheese, Onion and Potato Pie?
Traditional cheese, onion and potato pie is not too common these days but it should be as it is so tasty and satisfying. My vegan version boasts a wholemeal crust that is short, buttery, crisp and nutty.
The cheesy potato and onion filling is seasoned with garlic and onion powder. With nutritional yeast providing the essential cheesy hit.
Best of all the pie is topped off with even more cheesy goodness in the form of a wholemeal vegan cheese sauce that is enriched with white miso paste.
If nutritional yeast and white miso paste are new ingredients to you, don’t stress, as these ingredients are now commonly available from UK and US supermarkets. And once purchased you’ll get more than one meal out of each product.
I frequently buy my supplies of white miso from Tesco (not an affiliate ad).
Also you may be sceptical about using wholemeal flour for the pastry and the cheese sauce. But it really does add extra flavour and nuttiness. And the extra fibre is so satiating in a good way as it doesn’t give you that heavy feeling of fullness.
However the wholemeal flour can simply be subbed out for plain or all-purpose flour if that’s what you have available. I have tried both types of flour and both are great.
How do I store leftover pie?
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, in a covered container/ the actual baking dish/ or on a plate with food wrap, for up to 3 days. Chilled leftover pie is delicious served straight from the fridge especially for lunch the next day, or enjoyed as food-on-the-go such as work/school/college pack lunch, picnic or travelling.
Can I freeze potato pie?
Yes. Cool and wrap well with freezer wrap. Freeze for 3-4 months, Defrost to room temperature before reheating. This potato pie is perfect for batch prep.
How do I reheat potato pie?
To reheat set your oven to 180 Fan/200 Celsius/390 Fahrenheit/gas 6 and heat through for about 25 minutes until piping hot. To avoid browning too much, place your pie near the bottom of your oven or cover with some loose kitchen foil over the pie. I reheated my leftover pie in already cut slices on a baking tray and not in the original casserole dish but either way is fine.
Is there any time-saving hacks for preparing this potato pie?
Yes of course!
A few ideas:
- Save time by preparing your pastry or mashed potatoes the day before. Leftover mashed potatoes are great time saver. Mashed potatoes can also be frozen. Just cool quickly and place in a freezer container. When you have enough frozen this pie is an ideal way to make another meal from leftovers. Simply cook the onions as per the instructions and add these to the already prepared potatoes along with the garlic powder, onion powder and nutritional yeast.
- Wholemeal pastry can also be frozen before it is baked. It’s always worthwhile to prepare double batches of pastry and freeze the second ball of pastry. I find that it just saves so much time. Simply wrap up your pastry ball to prevent freezer burning. The pastry will keep well for a few months in the freezer.
- Ready rolled or ready prepared vegan pastry can be used for this pie.
- Ready-made vegan cheese sauce can be used instead of homemade. If you only have vegan ready-made or packet mix white/béchamel sauce then simply add the nutritional yeast and white miso paste for the cheese sauce to flavour your ready mix.
- Prepare the pie a day or two in advance and have ready to enjoy for a quick meal. This recipe is perfect for batch prepping as it the entire pie can be frozen in the baking dish. Maybe prepare two pies at once, one for now and another for a lazy or busy day!
I can’t source white miso paste. What can I use instead?
A teaspoon or two of Dijon or English mustard is a good replacement. Or simply omit this ingredient. Perhaps add a tsp of garlic powder just for extra flavour if this ingredient is omitted.
I can’t eat nutritional yeast flakes. Can I use another ingredient?
Yes, replace the nutritional yeast for vegan cheese. Any plant-based cheese that can be grated and melted will work fine. A stronger flavour cheese will add more flavour. Add a 1/2 tsp of turmeric to the cheese sauce for extra cheesy tones.
What can I serve with cheese, onion and potato pie?
Anything you usually like to serve with pie! A few ideas:
- Baked beans
- Spaghetti hoops
- Mixed salad
- Fresh spinach
- Variety of steamed vegetables especially green veggies such as kale, chard, collard greens and cabbage
- Boiled sweetcorn, peas and carrots
- Veggie gravy
- Chopped parsley or chives sprinkled over top before serving
- Pickled onions, pickled beetroot, pickled red cabbage, etc
- Vegan coleslaw
How To Prepare Vegan Old School Cheese, Onion and Potato Pie:
- Deep pie dish/ casserole dish. I used a lasagne dish that was 27cm/ 11 inch long and 18 cm/7 inch wide. And about 6 cm/ 2 1/2 inches deep.
- Greaseproof/Kitchen paper, to line pie dish
- Rolling pin
- 225 grams wholemeal plain flour Plus extra for dusting and rolling out pastry. Alternatively use plain or all-purpose flour.
- 110 grams plant-based margarine Or vegan butter. Plus a little extra to grease baking dish.
- 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
- 3 tablespoons water perhaps 1-2 tbsp extra
For the pie filling:
- 700 g potatoes If the potato skins are unblemished they can be left on for extra nutrition. It doesn't affect the filling texture.
- 185 g onion 1 large. Rough diced.
- 50 g nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 3 tbsp plant-based milk plus enough potato water to make the potato mash
For the cheese sauce:
- 1 tbsp plant-based margarine or vegan butter
- 2 tbsp plain wholemeal flour or plain/all-purpose flour.
- 375 ml plant milk
- 25 g nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp white miso paste
- 45 grams vegan cheese grated
Prepare the pastry:
- Add the wholemeal flour and plant-based margarine to a mixing bowl.With your finger tips rub in the margarine until the mix looks like crumbs.
- Mix in the herbs.Slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough begins to come together into a ball.If your pastry ball is too sticky just sprinkle in some more flour If its too dry and crumby add a little bit more water.
- Lightly knead until you have a smoothish ball of dough. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. If the pastry is going into the fridge for longer then wrap in a clean tea towel or piece of greaseproof paper.
Prepare the filling:
- Preheat oven to 180 Fan/200 Celsius/ 390 Fahrenheit/Gas 6.
- Boil the potatoes and onions until fork tender.
- Drain but reserve the cooking liquid.
- Add the milk, onion powder, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast to the potatoes.Mash.If too dry add a few tablespoons of the potato liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake the pastry case:
- Prepare your oven dish by greasing and then lining with some greaseproof paper if necessary. I used a ceramic casserole dish so it only needed greasing and not the paper.
- Roll out your pastry until thin (roughly about 1/2 cm) and line your dish.Use the rolling pin to wrap the pastry around and drape the pastry over the dish. Carefully drop into the dish. Don't worry if it breaks as you can just press it back together in the dish. This is a crumbly pastry.Using a fork poke the pastry base all over the bottom.Trim the sides with a knife.
- Add a piece of scrunched up greaseproof or sheet of kitchen foil to cover the pastry. Blind bake the pastry case for 15 minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 160 Fan/ 180 Celsius/ 356 Fahrenheit/ Gas 4. Remove the kitchen foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the pastry case from the oven and scoop in your potato mix. Smooth the top down. Set aside while preparing the cheese sauce topping.Turn the oven up to 190 Fan/210 Celsius/ Fahrenheit 410/ Gas 6.
Prepare the cheese sauce while pastry is cooking:
- Melt a tbsp of vegan margarine in a small saucepan.Once melted add 4 tablespoons of potato water.Mix with a fork or wooden spoon.
- Add 2 tbsp of wholemeal flour and mix continuously for a few minutes to cook the flour.
- If your roux is too thick add a few more tbsp of potato water to thin.
- Slowly add the plant milk whisking all the time.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. The sauce will become thicker. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning.
- Take off the heat and mix through 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes and one teaspoon of white miso paste.Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble and finish baking the pie:
- Scoop the mashed potato into the pie case and smoothing it out a little, It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Pour over the cheese sauce evenly.
- Sprinkle with the grated vegan cheese
- Bake for 25-35 minutes until nice and lightly golden. Exact times will depend on your oven and how you like your top to be. For a crispier, darker topping bake for longer.
- Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict analysis as ingredients vary. Calculations are run through nutritional computerized apps.
- Leftover pie will stay fresh in the fridge, in a covered container or covered with food wrap on a plate, for 3 days.
- Reheat leftovers at 180 Fan/200 Celsius/390 Fahrenheit/gas 6 with perhaps some kitchen foil to cover to prevent pie going to brown, for 20-30 minutes or until piping hot throughout. Don’t place the pie on the top shelf, rather place towards the bottom as you just want to warm through not over cook.
- Leftover pie is amazing served chilled for picnics, parties, buffets, pack-lunch, or just for an everyday lunch at home with a side salad. Chilled pie is very easy to cut into smaller slices.
- Leftover pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap well and remove wrappings while defrosting to room temperature. Reheat as per above guidance.
- Old British school dinner recipes often did not include the pastry base so for a quicker recipe omit the pastry, grease your baking dish, and proceed with the pie recipe. A traditional touch is sliced tomatoes placed on top.