French Vegetable Pie

This hearty French vegetable pie is bursting with flavour, vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and not too much fat – how much better can it get?

Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4


  • 400g French shortcrust pastry (pâte brisée)
  • 500g Swiss chard or silverbeet
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 30g shelled peas
  • 30g shelled broad beans
  • salt
  • a small bunch parsley
  • a small bunch chervil
  • a small bunch chives
  • 2 tablespoons pitted black olives
  • 3 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • egg yolk
  • 3 pinches sesame seeds


Make 400g of pâte brisée if you don’t have some stored away.

Wash 500g of Swiss chard/silverbeet. Plunge the leaves in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze to extract as much water as possible. Chop them and set to one side.

Wash 1 fennel bulb and 2 zucchini. Thinly slice the fennel. Cut the zucchini in half lengthways and remove the seeds before thinly slicing these, too. Peel 1 red onion and slice thinly. Peel and crush 1 garlic clove.

Heat a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the fennel, zucchini, onion and garlic with the leaves of 2 sprigs of thyme for 10 minutes. Then add the Swiss chard and 30g of shelled peas and 30g of shelled broad beans, salt and cook gently for 5 minutes.

While this is cooking, rinse, dry and chop the leaves of a small bunch of parsley and a small bunch of chervil. Wash and finely chop a small bunch of chives. Crush 2 tablespoons of pitted black olives.

In a bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche with 2 egg yolks (3 yolks required in total for recipe).

After 15 minutes of cooking, take the frying pan off the heat and gradually incorporate all these ingredients and stir well. Also add 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt, if needed.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the ball of pastry in half and roll out each half. Lay one of the rolled-out pieces in a 24cm diameter baking tin. Pile the contents of the frying pan on top in a dome shape, then cover with the other piece of pastry and press the edges together.

Mix the last egg yolk with a little water and brush the whole surface of the pie. Sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. Pierce a hole in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape.

Put in the oven for 30 minutes. Then allow to rest for 15 minutes. Serve in its baking tin.


Check when the pie is done by inserting a skewer or knife into it. It should come out dry. If you make your pâte brisée in advance, begin by placing it in the pie dish and put it in the fridge while you prepare the vegetables.

Recipe taken from Nature by Alain Ducasse

When people think of French food, they often imagine laborious recipes that are loaded with butter and cream, and which can only be mastered with the skills of a sous chef. In Nature, Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, in collaboration with nutritionist Paule Neyrat, rediscovers the pleasure of simple food, and presents delicious French cuisine without the fat or the fuss. With over 190 easy-to-make creations, Ducasse shows the subtle wonders of a wide range of delectable flavours, giving pride of place to fruit, vegetables and cereals, which are sure to leave you feeling great. Featuring delightful line drawings, mouth-watering food photography, and with Alain’s useful snippets of advice peppered throughout the book, Ducasse’s Nature is more than a recipe book: it shows another way to enjoy food that is more natural, healthy and delicious.

You can purchase Nature at

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

Related articles:
French Onion Soup
French-style Chilli Mussels
Chicken and Leek Pot Pies

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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