by Guest blogger: Jake Mowrer
of Texas A&M University
Listen to his podcast HERE
Dinosaur Pie is an invention I came up with to get my kids off the chicken tenders, freezer tots, and steamed broccoli carousel. I was absolutely adamant they were would be better off with some diversity in flavors and nutrient sources, not to mention fiber, vitamins, and ‘things not processed’. I couldn’t believe how well this particular idea worked back when my children were 3 & 5, and how they continue to ask for it by name as teenagers now!
Dinosaur Pie combines pureed white beans, spinach, and ricotta into a conventional pie shell. After baking, it is sliced and served like a (savory) pie. It can function as the main course, or as a side. Spinach imparts a cool green color, which we all thought was a little ‘dinosaurey’. Hence, the name. The recipe is malleable. Try it as per the instruction below, or jazz it up how you like.
Ovo-, Lacto-, Vegetarian (contains wheat, cheese, butter, and eggs)
Dino – filling
- 2 cups dry great northern beans – soaked overnight in water, pour off and refill a 2-3 times.
- 1 bunch fresh spinach (Cleaned and rinsed)
- 8 oz ricotta cheese (use your preferred fat content, it doesn’t matter)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose un-bleached flour
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (cold)
- 1/4 cup cold water
Pie crust (you can always use a prepared purchased crust)
- Mix flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt with wire whisk
- Cut in cold butter slices (appr 1.2 “ ea.) by ‘mashing’ into the flour with a fork until mixture resemble coarse corn meal.
- Pour in half of the cold water slowly and in a steady stream while mixing by hand or with a paddle until the dough just starts to clump together when pinched.
- Add more cold water if necessary.
- Gather the dough into a ball by working it together, but not too long
- Flatten the ball to about 5” disk, wrap in plastic and set in the fridge for ~ 30 min
- After chilling, transfer to a flat surface with a little flour on it, and begin rolling evenly until the crust will fit into a 9” pie pan. You can make the edges as artistic as you like.
- Preheat oven to 300 F and pre bake the crust for ~ 5 minutes to avoid a mushy bottom later.
- Boil 4 quarts of lightly salted water with soaked and rinsed beans placed in already. Add the onion and garlic for flavor. It is best if the beans are cooked on medium stove top setting (lightly rolling water) until they are creamy and no longer hard at all. This can take 45 minutes or so.
- When ready, drain the beans and transfer to a food processor or blender to puree. When the beans have nearly reached a creamy pureed consistency, add the ricotta and the fresh (rinsed and cleaned) spinach. Process until smooth.
- Transfer the blended mixture to a large mixing bowl and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) to taste.
- Crack and slightly beat eggs before adding to the mixture. Fold in and mix well but not too long.
- Pour into briefly pre-baked pie shell until ~ 1/8’ below the edge of the crust.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 F. Check with a knife to ensure mixture does not cling to the metal when you insert and remove.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the counter for 10 minutes.
- Slice like a regular pie and serve
About this author:
Jake was raised on a farm in north Georgia where his family produced broiler chickens and beef cattle. Growing up, the work was often hard, but the food was always good. Life on the farm is a good way to gain an appreciation for the connectivity of food production in our daily lives.
Jake now works with farmers in Texas as a Texas A&M faculty member in the Soil and Crop Science Department, and as an Extension Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to communicate the importance of managing soil as a natural resource.
How to reach Jake:
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