Ok so this is going to sound a bit odd. I know. But the truth is that I made the closest thing you’ll ever get to a fish pie as a vegan, so if it’s wrong to make ‘fish’ out of white cabbage, I don’t want to be right. Fish pie is good because it’s smokey, creamy, comforting, with big beautiful chunks of flaked fish. So, I set about finding something that would give me that unique, translucent, firm flakiness that fish has, and finally achieved it my marinating and slow cooking white cabbage in a mix of fish-reminiscent flavours. I promise you it really does work, especially as you go on to cook it in a fragrant and creamy sauce, and top with creamy mash. It takes a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it for such a veggie packed, delicious plate of comforting goodness.
Ready in 2 hours + marinating time
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 good pinches smoked sea salt
- 1 tbsp. capers
- zest and juice of a lemon
- 2 red onions
- 1 small white cabbage
- 1 carrot
- 2 handfuls of spinach or a few balls of frozen spinach
- 2 tbsp. plain flour
- 350ml plant milk
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
- 4 white potatoes
- Start off by making your fish and marinade. Place your smoked paprika, smoked salt and capers in a pestle and mortar or mini chopper and crush into a paste. Add the zest and juice of half the lemon (you’ll need the rest later), and a tablespoon of olive oil. Combine well and set aside.
- To make the fish, you need to cut the cabbage and one and a half of your onions into large 4cm chunks. It’s great if you can get as many pieces as possible to have some stalk in, as this holds the layers and flakes together and ensures some bite. I cut both the onion and cabbage in half through the stalk, and through the stalk again into quarters. I then went an cut each long quarter horizontally. Don’t worry when lots of piece flake off individually. Place in a large ovenproof dish and pour over your marinade. Rub it really well into your veg and set the dish aside to marinate, covered with clingfilm. You needs this to soak up all the flavours for at least 3 hours, but leave as long as overnight if you like.
- Next you need to slow cook the veg to bring out the sweetness and make it lovely and tender. Remove the clingfilm and cover the veg with foil. Bake in the oven at gas mark 5 for 45 minutes until tender and translucent. You can do this step ahead of time.
- Once your ‘fish’ is prepared, you can make the pie filling. Finely chop your remaining half onion and carrot, and sauté with the rosemary in a large saucepan for 5-10 minutes until softened. Stir in the plain flour, and slowly add the milk to make a sauce. Throw in the ‘fish’, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add some water if your veggies aren’t looking coated enough. If using frozen spinach, add it now, but if using fresh, just stir in at the very end.
- Meanwhile, chop and boil your potatoes for 10-15 minutes until softened. Drain and mash with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, and assemble the pie. Pour your filling back into the oven-proof dish, grate over the zest of the remaining lemon, and squeeze over the juice. Top with your mash and spike it up with a fork. Drizzle with a little oil and bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.
- Scoop out into delicious creamy portions, and serve with peas or baked beans for a plate of true nostalgia.