Vegetarian Chick’n Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

updated Jan 31, 2020
Vegetarian Chick’n Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Hearty vegetables and plant-based chicken in a rich gravy and topped with cheddar-thyme drop biscuits.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook55 minutes

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Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Pot pie for dinner? Say no more. The hearty dish of tender vegetables and protein tossed in gravy and topped with biscuits or pie crust is the ultimate winter comfort food.

After cooking (and eating!) my way through several of the internet’s favorite chicken pot pies, I consider myself somewhat of a pot pie expert. I found that the best pies give individualized attention to each and every element of the dish — the gravy, the chicken and veggies, and the topping.

I also learned that the chicken itself can easily be replaced. In an effort to create a pie suitable for vegetarians or anyone working to reduce their meat intake, we found the perfect chicken substitute for chicken pot pie — and created a plant-based pot pie that rivals the original.

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

A Plant-Based Chicken Pot Pie for Vegetarians and Meat-Eaters Alike

While there’s nothing wrong with a pot pie made from frozen mixed veggies, a store-bought crust, and pulled rotisserie chicken, we felt it was time to give the pot pie a modern-day upgrade.

We started with the chicken. Instead of filling our pie with cooked chicken, this recipe uses Gardein Chick’n Strips, a soy-based vegetarian chicken substitute. When tossed in a richly flavored gravy and paired with hearty vegetables and homemade biscuits, you’ll hardly notice it isn’t the real thing — making these strips the perfect gateway to meat substitutes. Gardein is among the more established brands of plant-based chicken, so you’re likely to find them in the freezer section of your regular grocery store. 

Onion and carrot are must-haves for pot pie, but here, we’re bulking up the filling with earthy cremini mushrooms and spicy parsnips to make it more robust and flavorful. We’re also throwing in some frozen peas — fresh peas aren’t always available year-round and if they are, they’re usually starchy, not sweet. 

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Yes, a Cheesy Biscuit Topping Is Superior to Pie Crust

Buttery pie crust may be the traditional pot pie topper, but take one bite of these cheesy herb biscuits and you’ll agree that a quick homemade biscuit is the superior option. Drop biscuits are my preference for topping savory pot pies because it’s easy to add flavor to the pillows of dough with very little effort.

Remember: drop biscuits are the absolute easiest biscuits you can make. Grate that small hunk of cheddar cheese hiding in the refrigerator drawer, sprinkle in some garlic powder from the pantry, then stir in some chopped fresh thyme leaves to marry the flavors of the topping and filling. Then, use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to drop the shaggy dough atop the veggie-packed filling.

Vegetarian Chick’n Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Hearty vegetables and plant-based chicken in a rich gravy and topped with cheddar-thyme drop biscuits.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 55 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag

    frozen Gardein Chick’n Strips, thawed

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 3

    medium carrots

  • 2

    medium parsnips

  • 4 ounces

    cremini mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh parsley leaves

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups

    low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1 cup

    frozen peas (do not thaw)

For the biscuits:

  • 4 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

  • 1 tablespoon

    finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 cups

    cold heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Make the filling: Thaw 1 bag Gardein Chick’n Strips if needed. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the following vegetables, placing them all in the same large bowl: Cut 1 small onion into small dice. Peel and quarter lengthwise 3 carrots and 2 parsnips, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch wide pieces. Chop 4 ounces cremini mushrooms into 1/2-inch pieces.

  2. Cut the Gardein Chick’n Strips into thirds. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves.

  3. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables, 4 thyme sprigs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

  4. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove and discard the thyme stems. Whisk 2 cups vegetable broth and 1/2 cup heavy cream into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the Gardein Chick’n Strips, parsley, and 1 cup frozen peas. Remove from the heat.

  5. Make the biscuits: Grate 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup). Chop until you have 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and place in a large bowl.

  6. Add 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder to the thyme and whisk to combine. Add the cheese and toss to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a moist, shaggy dough forms and no dry bits of flour remain. Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup or ice cream scoop to drop the dough evenly onto the top of the filling. You should have 8 to 10 biscuits.

  7. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the biscuits are golden-brown and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving, the gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The vegetables can be chopped up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Credit: Kitchn