This festive vegetarian centrepiece has become one of our favourite Christmas dishes of the year. It's absolutely delicious, chock full of wholesome veggies, lentils, capers, and pine nuts. It can easily be made vegan, too. Decorate the ring with your other Christmas sides - we like to fill the centre with sautéed cavolo nero and surround the ring with saffron roasted parsnips or potatoes. For more inspiration, check out our top vegetarian Christmas mains and vegetarian Christmas side dishes.
Festive Filo Ring
- 100g Camargue red rice
- 100ml white wine
- 200ml vegetable stock
- Bouquet garni of bay, rosemary, thyme and oregano
- 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or ½ tin)
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped finely
- ½ bulb of fennel, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 50g puy lentils
- 2 tbsp chopped black or green olives
- 4 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 40g Parmesan style cheese (plus more for the tops)or 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast for vegan
- 25g pine nuts toasted
- 2 red peppers, cut in half, seeds and membrane removed
- 1 aubergine, sliced lengthways
- 300g spinach or chard
- 2 balls Mozzarella, sliced into 6 or 1 quantity vegan cashew soft cheese
- 1 packet Filo sheets
- 75g butter or margarine
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180Fan/Gas6. You will need a 25cm ring mould.
- Place the lentils in a small saucepan half filled with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the rice in a saucepan with the stock, tomatoes, wine and bouquet garni. When tender drain if it is wet. Set the rice aside.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the peppers and aubergines for roasting.
- Place the peppers on a baking tray cut sides down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until soft and slightly charred. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool a little, then peel off the skins and cut each piece into 3 lengthways.
- Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, lay on a baking tray and roast until soft (for approximately 12 minutes on each side) and golden on both sides. Set aside.
- Wilt the Spinach or chard in a saucepan, then refresh under cold water to stop it cooking and drain in a colander. Squeeze as much liquid as possible and chop roughly. Set aside.
- In a frying pan, fry the onion and fennel gently in 1 tablespoon olive oil, until soft and starting to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the cooked rice, lentils, sundried tomatoes, capers, olives, parsley and the cheese. Taste and season well.
- To assemble the pie, melt the butter or margarine to have ready for brushing.
- Line the ring mould with 6-8 sheets of filo depending on the size of the sheet (there needs to be at least four layers encasing the entire pie), overlapping them evenly and allowing an overhang around the edge and inner centre of the mould. Ensure each sheet of filo is brushed well with melted butter, margarine or olive oil.
- Place a layer of pepper slices around the ring and sprinkle half the pine nuts over.
- Spoon half the rice mixture on top of the peppers and press in gently and evenly.
- Arrange a layer of mozzarella slices or the cashew cheese over the rice.
- Cover the cheese with the chopped spinach and season well with salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
- Spoon in the remaining rice, then sprinkle the rest of the pine nuts over. Arrange the slices of aubergine over the spinach and season again.
- Starting with the centre of the ring, carefully fold the overhanging filo pastry, brushing each layer lightly with butter, margarine or olive oil to cover the aubergines. Tuck the edges in neatly to seal. Brush with the remaining butter or margarine, then place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until golden.
- Place a piece of parchment just larger than the pie, and then a baking sheet on top of the pie, and carefully flip over and turn out. If necessary, return the pie to the oven to brown further for 5-10 minutes.
To serve, slide the ring off the the parchment, onto a serving plate and sprinkle the top of the ring with chilli flakes and seeds. You could fill the centre of the ring with either a pile of seasonal sautéed greens or salad leaves.
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