Recipes for a Cultural Experience: Easy Dinners-Vegetarian Pasties

Vegetarian Pasty
Vegetarian Pasty

As I’ve mentioned, I grew up in Northern Minnesota on the Iron Range. This area is known for its open pit mines. One of the big local cuisines is a Pasty. A pasty is a meat and vegetable filled large hand/type pie. The miners would take it hot into their lunchboxes and it would be still warm by lunchtime.

It was introduced to the area by Cornish immigrants in the early 20th Century. The miners came to both Northern Michigan and Northern Minnesota because of the abundance of mines to work in. They made pasties to keep themselves fueled for a hard day of labor. The pasties consisted of meat, potatoes, onions, carrots and sometimes rutabagas. They would be wrapped in a pie-like crust and baked until golden brown. They packed them hot into their metal lunchbox and it would stay warm for lunch.

My version is a quick vegetarian pasty. It never comes out very pretty but it tastes very good. I’m not very good at making my own dough so I usually use a prepared pie crust. Pillsbury makes a crust you unroll that works pretty well.

Make sure the pie crust is at room temperature when you work with it. I take one of the crusts and cut them in half. Add the filling to one side and crimp it closed. As I said, mine are never very pretty. Making your own dough is much more flexible to work with but takes more time.

Here are a couple of pasty crust recipes:

I use soy crumbles instead of ground beef or pork. (Morningstar, Boca, Beyond Beef, etc.). Mix it with diced potatoes, onions, carrots and mixed vegetables. (Slightly non-traditional). The Iron Range way is to serve it covered with ketchup or occasionally gravy. My family uses ketchup. Make sure you have a big bottle.

This time I had a lot of filling and only one box of pie crusts so I improvised and used pizza dough. It’s sort of a pasty/calzone. I’ll let you know how that one works. I never seem to have butter or shortening on hand to make the pie crust when I need it.


1 sweet onion diced

2 medium potatoes diced (peeled) or 1-14 ounce can diced potatoes

2 carrots diced

1 -12 ounce bag of frozen mixed vegetables (thawed)

1-14 ounce bag of Soy Crumbles (Morningstar, Boca, Beyond, Impossible or Gardein or other) thawed

2 boxes Pillsbury Pie Crusts

3 tablespoons garlic powder

5 grinds of pepper from pepper mill (1-2 teaspoons)

8 grinds from salt mill (approximately 2-2/12 teaspoons)

Pasty Ingredients


Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees

Mix the vegetables, crumbles and spices together. Either use parchment paper or spray your cookie sheet with baking spray. Unroll the pie crust, cut in half. Fill one side of the crust with the vegetable mixture. Use a fair amount. Fold other side over and crimp the edges. Try to close it as much as possible. Continue to fill the crusts. You can make 4 larger ones or cut the dough smaller-in quarters for a small hand pie. Prick the top with a fork to vent. You can brush it with an egg wash or spray it with a butter baking spray to make it brown more.

Bake for about an hour or until browned. Serve with lots of ketchup. A taste of Up North! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Pasty
Vegetarian Pasty

Published by @cjsthought

Artist, Photographer, Cooking, Movie Buff, always on a Fitness Journey

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