When you’re gluten– or dairy-free, it can be hard to find elegant and delicious dishes that are beautiful to look at that are also nutritious, filling, and taste great. And when you add in the requirement of skipping meat as well, the task becomes even more daunting. However, with a few clever substitutions, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a delicious savory pie packed with eggs and fresh vegetables that tastes so rich, creamy, and satisfying that you’d never know it was made without a drop of gluten or dairy.
Created by dietitian and recipe developer Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert of Wholly Nourished, this tomato zucchini pie is filled with vibrant, seasonal flavors perfect for a light lunch or dinner or a brunch with friends. Of course, if you want to add the dairy back in, Bachtell-Shelbert says that would be easy enough to do by substituting in the regular versions of the almond-based ingredients. But prepared as written, this tomato zucchini pie packs in so many fresh and scrumptious flavors that you won’t even miss the dairy.
Gather your ingredients
Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients this recipe calls for. Even though this tomato zucchini pie requires a decent-sized grocery haul, it comes together without much fuss at all. For the crust, you’ll need almond flour, salt, baking soda, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning, water, and extra virgin olive oil.
For the filling, you’ll want diced shallots, minced garlic, halved cherry tomatoes, eggs, almond milk, almond-based ricotta, chopped fresh basil, and sliced zucchini. While Bachtell-Shelbert prefers fresh basil with this dish, she says, "You could also use fresh thyme or dried oregano" if you wanted to change out the herbs. Additionally, adding even more veggies could make for a delicious addition. "I wanted to showcase the zucchini and tomato here," Bachtell-Shelbert tells us, "but I think adding spinach would be great! Mushroom and squash would work well too."
Mix up the dough
As you prepare to make the dough for your crust, preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a nine-inch pie pan with olive oil. While the oven comes to temperature, whisk together almond flour, salt, baking soda, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
Once your dry ingredients have been mixed together, make a well in the center of the mixture and carefully add in a quarter of a cup of olive oil and water. Stir the mixture together until a dough forms that you can easily pinch together with your fingers.
Blind bake the crust
Gluten-free dough handles differently than regular pie crust dough, so this almond flour crust won’t require any rolling or chilling. Instead, place the crust dough into the prepared pie pan, and press it into the bottom and sides of the pan with your fingers. Although the dough will seem crumbly at first, it should come together as you handle it.
Once the dough is evenly pressed into the pie pan, it’s ready to head into the oven. There’s no need to poke holes or weigh it down as you might do when blind baking a regular pie crust: "This almond flour crust bakes up perfectly as is," Bachtell-Shelbert says. Bake the crust for 15 minutes until golden and set. Once the crust is baked, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool before adding your filling.
Sauté the veggies
Once the crust comes out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 375 F. Heat a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat with a teaspoon of olive oil, then add the shallots and garlic to the pan and sauté for three to four minutes. Once your shallots and garlic are fragrant and beginning to soften, add the halved tomatoes to the shallot mixture and sauté for another two minutes.
If you’re adding other vegetables such as spinach or mushrooms, add those to the pan after the tomatoes, and sauté for another minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
Combine the filling
In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, milk, ricotta, salt, and pepper, and then whisk the mixture until completely combined. Once your eggs are well beaten, stir in the shallot and tomato mixture along with the chopped fresh basil or other fresh herbs. If you would prefer to substitute just egg whites instead of using whole eggs, Bachtell-Shelbert recommends using two whites per whole egg. Be careful not to stir your filling too vigorously since you want the tomatoes to remain intact.
Assemble the pie
Once your filling is combined, pour the egg mixture into the cooled pie crust. Use a spoon or spatula to carefully make sure the tomatoes are evenly distributed throughout the pie since they’ll have a tendency to pile up in the center when they’re first poured in.
Top the pie with a single layer of evenly spaced sliced zucchini rounds. Make sure the rounds are laid out as evenly as possible since they’re the first thing you’ll see when serving your delicious pie. Bake for 50 minutes until completely set. Slice the pie into wedges and serve.
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons water
- ⅓ cup shallots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves
- 6 eggs
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ½ cup almond-based ricotta
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped (makes 2 tablespoons chopped)
- ¾ cup zucchini, sliced into rounds
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9-inch pie pan with olive oil.
- To make the crust, add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to a mixing bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the crust ingredients, and add a quarter cup of olive oil and water. Stir until a crust forms that you can easily pinch together with your fingers.
- Turn the crust out into the prepared pie pan and press with your fingers to form the dough around the pie pan and up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and set. Let the crust cool before adding the filling.
- Increase oven heat to 375 F.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the halved tomatoes to the shallot mixture and sauté 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the eggs, milk, ricotta, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Whisk until completely combined.
- Add the shallot and tomato mixture and the fresh basil to the eggs. Stir to combine.
- Pour the egg mixture into the cooled pie crust distributing the tomatoes evenly throughout.
- Top the pie with the sliced zucchini rounds.
- Bake the pie in a 375 F oven for 50 minutes until completely set.
- Serve and enjoy.