Mister Rogers famously said, “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.” The man known for teaching compassion and kindness to kids was also an avid environmentalist and an ethical vegetarian. Mister Rogers understood that a vegetarian diet was good for his health, more sustainable for our planet, and that it could help reduce world hunger.
Rogers never directly preached vegetarianism on his PBS KIDS show, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, but he did teach the benefits of eating healthy. Tofu and vegetables were among his favorite foods, and there are episodes educating his audience about soy products and how tofu is made.
Below is a recipe I created to honor Mister Rogers — a wholesome, vegan pot pie filled with vegetables and tofu. It’s perfect for chilly weather, when you reach for a warm sweater.
Mister Rogers was also famous for his iconic sweaters. His mother made them for him, and you’ll enjoy this touching clip of him talking about her impeccable, handmade knitwear. Through February 12, you can donate to KCTS 9’s 20th Annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive with new or gently used sweaters and winter gear for those in need.
Vegetable and Tofu Pot Pie Recipe
1. In advance, thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator, clean and chop vegetables, and drain and dry tofu.
2. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high, then stir-fry tofu until golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot on medium heat, then cook leeks for a couple of minutes until soft. Stir in herbs, chili flakes, salt and garlic.
4. Add carrots and sweet potato and cook for a few minutes, stirring until almost soft.
5. Add broccoli, corn, and mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes, stirring until the vegetables are soft but not mushy.
6. Add lemon juice and zest, and deglaze the pan.
7. Add the flour and stir until it coats the vegetables evenly, cooking for 1–2 minutes.
8. Slowly add the broth. Keep stirring and bring the mixture to a simmer until it thickens up, 3–4 minutes.
9. Stir in the cooked tofu and turn off the heat. Taste the filling and adjust seasonings. Let the mixture cool while preparing the ramekins and pastry.
10. Roll out the thawed puff pastry, and cut circles with a diameter that is 1” larger than the ramekin.
11. Divide the tofu and vegetable filling into ramekins, then top with pastry circles and crimp to seal the edges. Alternately, use a pie dish for easy, family-style serving.
12. Chill the ramekins for at least 30 minutes.
13. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, cut a hole in each pastry top to vent steam, and bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve the ramekins hot on a separate plate.
Yield: 4–5 servings