roasted veggies in phyllo leaves

(perfect for autumn dinners)

In autumn, we happily turn to our ovens again. A wide variety of vegetables is available, fresh and in season. This casserole combines the satisfying crispness of phyllo pastry with a veritable harvest of vegetables. Tofu adds protein to the dish, creating a nourishing meal to share with friends or family.

2 medium carrots, peeled
1 medium yam, peeled
1 small zucchini
1 medium spanish onion, sliced
5 cups button mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 block tofu, medium-firm, crumbled
1 bulb of garlic, rubbed with oil
1 cup spinach or chard
5 leaves of strudel pastry (also called phyllo/fillo)*
olive oil for brushing between leaves
1/4 cup calabrese or sicilian olives, chopped

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 T sesame seeds
1/4 cup engevita yeast
1 t mustard


preparing the filling

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Slice the carrots, yam and zucchini into thin coins.
  3. Combine the crumbled tofu, carrots, yam, zucchini, mushrooms and onion in the bowl with the marinade. Mix until well coated.
  4. Spread the tofu-vegetable mixture on a baking tray. Place the oiled garlic bulb on the tray separate from the vegetables, or place on its own smaller tray.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350F for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Check periodically. If the vegetables are drying out, cover the pan and continue baking.
  6. Remove stems from the spinach or chard and chiffonade (roll the leaves into tubes and slice them crosswise into fine strips). Place aside.
assembling the casserole
  1. Lightly oil a 9" x 9" pyrex baking dish.
  2. Unroll the phyllo leaves onto the counter. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the first leaf with olive oil and place it in the dish, letting the excess hang over the edge. Lightly brush the next leaf with oil and add another layer. Repeat until there are four layers of dough. (Lightly brushing between layers will make the dough crispy. Omit oil if you wish.)
  3. Place the fillings onto the phyllo in this order:
    • roasted veggies and tofu
    • roasted garlic (squeeze pulp evenly over vegetables)
    • uncooked spinach or chard
    • olives
  4. Fold the excess phyllo over the fillings. Brush one more layer of phyllo and place on top of casserole, folding the dough and tucking in the corners. Brush the outside layer with oil.
  5. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes with a cover (aluminum foil or casserole lid). Remove cover and continue baking until golden, about 5 minutes. Serves 4.

* Phyllo is a thin dough that comes in large squares and has a light, flaky texture when baked. Although the dough is very delicate, it is also quite versatile and easy to use, so we encourage you to try it. You can usually find phyllo in the frozen foods section of the supermarket. Defrost before using. Be sure not to allow the dough to become either too wet or too dry as you work with it. When not in use, cover dough with a lightly dampened tea towel to keep it from drying out. Prepare fillings ahead of time, so that when you assemble the casserole you can work quickly. Read the directions on the box for further tips on using phyllo.

Risa Salsberg has been cooking vegetarian for over 25 years and is a graduate of Dubrille Culinary. She has studied macrobiotics and whole foods in California and trained at Sanko-in, a Buddhist nunnery specializing in shojin ryori (traditional Buddhist vegetarian cookery). Risa is currently studying fine arts in Vancouver. Craig Walker first began cooking vegetarian in tree planting camps. Craig has studied macrobiotics at the Vega Study Center and has cooked professionally in Japan.

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