May 1, 2015
Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust.
Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust. Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! #vegan | www.delishknowledge.com

These pies were made for picnicking. Which, even though I can’t remember the last picnic I went on, had me dreaming of lazy afternoons in a park, wearing an oversized sun hat and dining on fresh squeezed lemonade and hand pies, both tucked into my checkered picnic basket.

Even though I was making these in our small city condo kitchen, I caught myself in daydreams of preparing hand pies for my family just before we headed outside to relax in the sun and enjoy fresh-baked treats.

Rolling handmade dough does that to me. Also, I really want to be Ina Garten.

There is something so perfectly quaint about mini, hand-held food. I make some variation of lentil salad almost weekly. I’m a huge lentil enthusiast and since it’s BL’s favorite source of protein, I am constantly thinking of new recipes. Sure, lentil + pesto salad is delicious on its own but stuffed into a homemade olive oil crust? Now we’re talking. 

French countryside day dreams aside, these mini hand pies are surprisingly simple to assemble and perfect for taking to potlucks, cookouts, and of course picnics throughout the summer.

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust. Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! #vegan | www.delishknowledge.com

I’m using my trusty olive oil crust for this one because it never, ever fails me. While I could cook every hour of my life and not get tired of it, I don’t feel the same way about baking. Measuring scares me. I can’t use my intuition in the same way, and I rarely have the patience to wait for things to set or rise. 

Olive oil crust is none of that. Mix together, chill for 30 minutes and roll. Even novice bakers like myself can handle a crust like this, which is exactly the effect I was going for. I don’t want you struggling with rolling and cutting, I want you daydreaming of where you will be bringing these hand pies and whom you will be sharing them with.

Because miniature hand pies were definitely meant for sharing. 

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust. Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! #vegan | www.delishknowledge.com

To keep things light & moist (< —- the only acceptable use of the word: when discussing food), I created a 4 ingredient basil pesto to toss with the cooked lentils. This walnut-basil pesto is incredibly easy to whip together, something I find myself doing whenever I need a bit more flavor: to dollop on grilled tofu slices, pasta, or on sandwiches. 

In less than 2 minutes you get a thick, herb pesto that melts ever so slightly in the oven. That means when you bite into these hand pies, you’re rewarded with a creamy lentil filling. And all is right in the world. 

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust. Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! #vegan | www.delishknowledge.com

For this recipe, I teamed up with the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council to create a recipe highlighting one of my favorite foods- the lentil.

Lentils are quite the superstar. Each 1/2 cup serving provides 9g of protein and 6g of fiber; that’s almost twice as much protein as quinoa and a lot less expensive. I can find bags of brown lentils for less than $1.  Besides fiber and protein, lentils are a surprising source of antioxidants! I know that antioxidants tend to be associated with fancier foods like acai and turmeric, but the antioxidant content of lentils is twice that of blueberries, and three times that of pomegranate juice.

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust. Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! #vegan | www.delishknowledge.com

Thankfully, word is spreading about theses inexpensive nutrient powerhouses – so much so that the UN picked 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses! Pulses (lentils and peas) were selected because of their significant health, economic and environmental benefits.

To gear up for 2016, each country was charged by the UN to submit one pulse recipe to represent their country. With your help, these hand pies could be selected as the National Signature Pulse Recipe for the U.S.! I would love it if you would head over to the USADPLC Facebook page, and vote for mine by “liking” this photo.

If I win, I will fly you to France where we can picnic together be really, really appreciative! xo

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust. Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! #vegan | www.delishknowledge.com

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 20 pies 1x

Description

Lentil Hand Pies with Walnut Pesto! Lentil salad stuffed into homemade pie crust.
Perfect for picnics, potlucks or lunches! 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 20 pies 1x
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 20 pies 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup green lentils (can sub brown or black if you can’t find green)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil , reserved
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil Pie Crust:
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other type milk)

Instructions

  1. Place lentils, bay leaf and smashed garlic clove in a sauce pan and cover with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain, remove garlic clove and bay leaf.
  2. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, until onions are translucent and carrots are tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove and combine with lentils, set aside.
  4. Make the walnut pesto: Place the basil leaves, walnuts and garlic clove in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Slowly drizzle in remaining olive oil until combined. Toss with lentil mixture. Set aside.
  5. Make the pie crust:
  6. In a large bowl or stand mixer combine oil with flour and salt. Drizzle with milk and stir until crust forms.
  7. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 30 seconds-1 minute.
  8. To make dough easier to roll, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  9. Use a rolling pin and roll dough out until thin, about 1/4″ thick.
  10. Use a 4″ round cookie cutter to cut out circles.
  11. Add 1 heaping tbsp. of filling to the dough circle. Place another circle on top and press to seal with a fork. Pierce the top of the pies 2-3 times with a fork.
  12. Continue with the rest of the pies and place on a non-stick baking sheet or a pan lined with parchment paper.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

This post is sponsored by USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council however all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting partners that make DK possible. 

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

14 comments
LEAVE A COMMENT
  1. Definitely good flavor for the lentil/pesto/veggie mixture. I found the crust to be pretty dry/crumbly – I’m sure there’s a fix for that? Also, do you have any suggestions for a sauce or dip to serve these with? We used sour cream, but if there’s something else you recommend …

    • Hi Joanna, if the dough is dry, add a tbsp. or two of more water to make it easier to roll. I find that this dough is healthier than a traditional butter dough, but because of that it’s a little harder to roll out. I always knead it together, wrap in plastic wrap and then let it sit for 15 or so minutes in the fridge. I didn’t serve these with a sauce but sour cream sounds great! You could also make more of the pesto to dip in!

  2. I tried this recipe, and the dough kept falling apart too much to roll well, there were WAY more lentils than dough to make the crust, and cutting 5-6″ size pies only made like ten, NOT twenty pies… Also, you didn’t even say what temperature the oven is supposed to be at…?

    • HI Dani, thanks for the comment! The dough is harder to roll than a traditional butter dough but I find that if I chill the dough in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, it’s easier to roll. I will adjust the recipe to make the lentils/dough more even. Bake at 350.

        • I am so sorry that you had difficulty but I’m glad that you enjoyed it! I remade them again today and updated the directions- thanks for bringing that to my attention!

  3. These little hand pies look so delicious! I am totally in love with lentils and a friend of mine is too so I just send this recipe to her! Loving the basil walnut pesto, too. *swoon*

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