Here’s the other phyllo recipe I lean heavily on that I mentioned below. I’m going to give you the basic template, then you can find your own way with it. It’s an easy recipe. Even more so than the fennel-olive triangles, this is a real fridge cleaner-outer. For a nice color and flavor, I almost always add some steamed chopped greens, even though the recipe doesn’t mention it.
The basic formula is:
- One umami-rich vegetable to anchor the dish. I get great local organic mushrooms pretty cheap, so I almost always use sliced fried-up shiitakes. Caramelized onions are great too. Roasted or sauteéd cremini mushrooms are also good.
- Root vegetables you roast then make into a paste. You could also steam them, but be sure to let them sit in a colander for an hour or so, otherwise they will be too watery. This paste helps bind the filling into a nice mass.
- Bursts of flavor: herbs, tempeh bacon, garlic, sea salt.
- Phyllo to wrap it all up.
As long as you stick to that formula, you can plug in almost anything you’ve got. If you have marinated artichokes, use them instead of some of the tempeh bacon for a burst of flavor. If you have excess eggplant in the garden, sauté up a whole bunch and use it instead of the mushrooms.
Here’s the recipe I use as a starting point. I have down that it makes about 20-24 triangles.
Vegetable Phyllo Triangles with Dijon Mustard-French Lentil Sauce
1 lb. assorted mushrooms, chopped into medium pieces or caramelized onions (or any umami-rich, roasty-toasty vegetable)
2 parsnips, diced, or any creamy similar root vegetable
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced (or any type squash that isn’t watery)
1 celery root, peeled and diced
lots of fresh or dried sage and/or thyme (you could also do rosemary)
2 packages tempeh bacon (absolutely necessary—fakin’ bacon is, to me, the only palatable veggie bacon)
Grape seed or other tasteless, high-heat-stable oil
2 ts. sea salt
8 cloves garlic, minced (a head or two or five of roasted garlic is even better)
1 package thawed phyllo (it’s best to buy 2 in case one has been defrosted a million times and is all ripped and makes you crazy to use it – it will keep months in the freezer)
olive oil for brushing phyllo
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toss mushrooms with extra virgin olive oil and herbs and sea salt and roast. OR caramelize onions, adding lots of garlic at the end.
- Separately, roast all root vegs, tossed with extra virgin olive oil, lots of dried herbs (if using fresh, add the later), a little apple juice if you have it, and salt.
- Purée all roasted vegs (smash them with a potato masher, purée them in the food processor or stand mixer, etc. If you have roasted any potatoes, don’t put them in the food processor though, they will get gluey and awful. Taters aren’t the best for this recipe, actually.)
- Fry tempeh bacon until crispy, adding garlic at end and cooking for 1 minute.
- Turn oven to 350° or so F.
- Combine vegetable purées, mushrooms or onions, fresh herbs (if using), sea salt to taste, and tempeh bacon and garlic. Cool to room temperature.
- Make phyllo triangles: oil 1 layer of phyllo and layer another on top. Repeat until you have 3 layers (note that these are both thicker and wider than the other triangles—these are more of a dinner triangle, those are more like appetizers). Cut phyllo into 3 equal strips and place 3 tablespoons of filling on each. Fold like a flag, oiling phyllo if it looks dry, to make triangles. (If you have pretty fresh herbs like sage, do that trick where you put a few on the top (first) sheet of phyllo like I mention in the recipe below for the fennel tops!)
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes, until golden brown, turning each triangle over halfway through.
- Serve with sauce…or not!
Dijon Mustard-Lentil Sauce
To be honest, these don’t really need a sauce. But if you want to really gild the lily, serve them with either the Miso Gravy in the Bloodroot book, or with this adaptation of Milennium’s Dijon Mustard-French Lentil Sauce. I’ve made a whole lot of changes to this recipe (mostly taking out what I feel are useless elements) because, like all Milennium recipes, I think it’s a great idea executed fairly poorly. (Kevin from Vegan Brew made it recently with one of his homemade beers, go check that out too.) Here’s how I do it. I have that it makes about 3 cups. I’d double it and freeze some—this freezes really well (as do the triangles).
This sauce seems really weird, doesn’t it? I think it’s good-weird.
½ c French lentils (you know the ones—the pretty, small, speckled ones. Also called Lentilles de Puy.)
2 large onions, finely chopped
A few good glugs extra virgin olive oil
1 (12 oz) bottle of beer, the more bitter and stouty the better
1 ½ c apple juice
½ c-¾ c Dijon mustard
3 Tb. sherry or white wine (or more beer)
¼ c fresh thyme leaves or 2 Tb. dried
½ ts. freshly ground black pepper
2 ts. sea salt
- Cook lentils.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion in extra virgin olive oil until the onions are lightly caramelized.
- Add beer, apple juice, mustard, and 2 1/2 cups water. Simmer until reduced by 1/3, about 30 minutes. (The easiest way to do this is to stick a toothpick or skewer into the mixture, mark off with a marker what level the liquid came to, and keep sticking it back in until it’s 1/3 less than what it was before.)
- Add sherry, lentils, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 more minutes.
- Taste and adjust flavors. Sometimes I blend 1/2 this sauce for a minute, or I just stick the immersion blender in and get it a little less chunky. The original recipe called for a cornstarch slurry which worked to hold it all together a bit, but I prefer the clean flavor of blending part of it instead. (I sort of hate slurries, actually. If I can avoid them, I always do. I feel like they always contribute a muddy flavor to a dish. You can almost always avoid a slurry by puréeing part of anything, you know?)