Monday, March 10, 2014

Meatless Monday: Counting Down to Pi Day

Yes! Friday, March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day, the day on which we honor the irrational number pi (π), the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi rounds to 3.14 but goes on forever. It has been calculated to one trillion digits; you can view one million of them here

To celebrate mathematics and to honor π, Pi Day is celebrated on 3.14 all over the world, with pi songs, pi jokes, contests to see who can memorize the most digits of pi, and, best of all, by eating that universally popular circular food — PIE!

Who doesn’t love pie? Pie comes in so many varieties — sweet and savory, fruity and custardy, dense and light. Pie can be a dessert or the main event. And, of course, there is also pizza pie.

I plan to celebrate with a throwback to the past — Garden Vegetable Pie from one of the first cookbooks I ever acquired — Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappé. One of the great things about this recipe is that you get to choose the vegetables you wish to use as the main component of your pie. Whatever you have on hand is fine as long as you have four cups of them.

Frances Moore Lappe’s Garden Vegetable Pie


  • One whole wheat pie crust 
  • Four cups of cooked vegetables of your choice (such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peas). Don’t let them get mushy!
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 lb mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Your choice of herbs (rosemary, tarragon, thyme, etc.)
  • 1/4 lb sliced cheese
  • 2 tbsp toasted ground sesame seeds


  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Sauté the mushrooms in the butter and oil until tender.
  • Add and brown the whole wheat flour.
  • Gradually add the milk and stir until thickened.
  • Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put the cooked vegetables in the pie crust. 
  • Pour the sauce over the vegetables. 
  • Put the sliced cheese on top.
  • Bake until the sauce bubbles.
  • Sprinkle on the sesame seeds.

As Frances Moore Lappé says, “A beautiful dish that can be different each time.”

Happy Monday! Happy Pi Day!

Have a great week!

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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