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April 28, 2017

Whole Grain Veggie Pockets

by Anne Paddock

Whole Grain Veggie Pockets are the vegan’s answer to the calzone: a medley of fresh vegetables (and beans) cooked and seasoned on the stove and then baked in whole grain pizza dough. Inspired by Rip Esselstyn’s recipe for Village Potato Pockets in Plant-Strong, Whole Grain Veggie Pockets are simple, flavorful, and offer a medley of flavors.

There are two dough options:  either make your own or use store-bought. Both will work. I make my own dough in a bread maker that calls for whole grain spelt flour mixed with all-purpose unbleached flour because the blend makes a slightly lighter bread than a dough made with 100% whole grain flour. The recipe below makes enough dough to make 5 large Whole Grain Veggie Pockets, which are best served about 10-15 minutes after they come out of the oven. You also have the option to make pizza dough with a mixer and knead the dough yourself or buy store-bought pizza dough.SpeltDough

The recipe for the filling is enough for 10 large Whole Grain Veggie Pockets so there is leftover to make fresh Whole Grain Veggie Pockets later in the week. Simply store the leftover veggie filling in the refrigerator until ready to use. Make another batch of fresh dough (or use store-bought) and use the leftover filling to make fresh Whole Grain Veggie Pockets. Or, if you’re feeding a crowd, make enough dough (or buy it) to make the 10 Whole Grain Veggie Pockets all at once. Your choice.

Whole Grain Veggie Pockets

Whole Grain Spelt Dough (makes enough dough for 5 veggie pockets)

  • 2 cups whole grain spelt flour
  • 3/4-1  cup of all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 packet (or 2-1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast

If using a bread maker, pour the water and olive oil in first followed by 1 cup of the flour, salt, sugar, and then the remaining 1-3/4 cup of flour, reserving a 1/4 cup for rolling out the dough. Pour the yeast over the top of the flour.

Set the menu on dough and allow to mix, knead and rise. While the dough is being made, start making the veggie filling (recipe below).

Once the dough has risen (about an hour), remove the dough from the pan and placed on a heavily floured piece of parchment paper on the countertop.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten the dough with your floured hands. Roll the dough out to a 8-10 inch circle.

Gently lift the circle of dough and place on a parchment paper lined large cookie sheet (very important because the pockets will break apart if you fill them and then try to lift and move them).

Place a large spoonful of the veggie filling onto the bottom half of the circle leaving a 1/2 inch of dough along the perimeter.Filling_Whole_Grain_Veggie_Pocket

Gently fold over the top half and pinch the two halves together. Take a fork and press down along the dough to seal. Allow to rest while the oven warms.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Whole_Grain_Veggie_Pockets

Place the sheet of Veggie Pockets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until light brown. Remove and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.Whole_Grain_Veggie_Pocket

Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the Whole Grain Veggie Pockets, cut in half and serve.Whole_Grain_Veggie_Pocket_Interior

Veggie Filling (makes enough filling for 10 pockets)Veggie_Filling

  • 1/2 of a large onion or 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pushed through a garlic press or minced
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 pound of small potatoes (diced) – about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 26-28 ounce box or can of crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh peas
  • 1 6-ounce bag (6 cups) of baby spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro

*Store fresh ginger in the freezer. Use a peeler to remove the exterior skin. When needed, simply remove the ginger from the freezer and grate. The frozen ginger makes for easy grating.

Pour the olive oil in a large pot on the stove and heat to medium. Add the onion and sauté for about 6-8 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and gently stir for about 1 minute.  Add the cumin and garam masala and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the diced potatoes and 2 tablespoons of water. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir to distribute, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.

Add the spinach, peas, and chickpeas, stir, and cook for 2 minutes until the spinach starts to wilt. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.Veggie_Filling

Allow the filling to cool for 30-45 minutes before filling the dough.

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