Hollywood Holidays: Chef Matthew Kenney Makes a Savory Vegan Pie for Thanksgiving Dinner

matthew kenney cuisine - Instagram Screen shot-SQ 2016
Courtesy of Instagram/matthewkenneycuisine

The Plant Food + Wine chef, who recently opened a restaurant at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, shares a vegan-friendly recipe.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and if you're having a hard time figuring out what to bring to Friendsgiving or to cook for your family's upcoming feast, fret not. We've asked fashion, beauty and lifestyle insiders to share their favorite recipes in celebration of the upcoming holiday. Here, Matthew Kenney offers his seasonal forager's pie recipe.

Chef and lifestyle guru Matthew Kenney is bringing his plant-based culinary expertise to Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills and setting up shop with a dining location sharing his name. Now open, the restaurant offers a decadent vegan menu that includes French lentil pate; heirloom tomato lasagna; and butternut squash, smoky shitake mushroom and kale mac n' cheese (trust us, it's delicious).

Kenney, whose eateries include Plant Food + Wine in Venice, Calif., and Miami and vegan pizzeria Double Zero in New York, has authored a dozen cook books and operates a plant-based culinary school (Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen's private chef attended to pick up some tips). He's also participating in a documentary film, slated for a 2017 release, focusing on the human and environmental impacts of animal-based diets. But first, Kenney shares a recipe for forager's pie with wild mushrooms, herb gravy and sweet potato mash in a flaky spelt crust that's fit for any Thanksgiving table.

Serves: 6 / Prep time: 45 min. / Cook Time: 35 min.

Ingredients for Spelt Crust:

1.5 cups spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup filtered boiling water


Place the flour, sea salt and baking powder into a large bowl and mix. Use your fingers to rub the oil into the flour, until the mixture resembles something like fine bread crumbs. Roll out dough until ¼-inch thick. Line pie pan with dough. Trim off excess dough.

Ingredients for Mushroom Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons flour
8 springs of thyme
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
16 ounces mixed mushrooms (shiitake and Maitake), sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are starting to soften. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for one minute. Add the broth, red wine, thyme sprigs and chili flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the mushrooms and let simmer gently until softened. Remove the sprigs of thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Mash:

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste


Put the sweet potato into a medium pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as it starts boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain the water, and put potatoes back into the dry pot (no heat). Add olive oil and salt. Mash the potatoes with a masher, and stir everything together thoroughly. Cover pot with a lid and set aside.

Ingredients for Mushroom Gravy:

1/2 large onion, chopped
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons spelt flour
1 cup red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute onions and mushrooms in oil until tender and mushrooms release their moisture, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to evenly coat. Slowly whisk in wine and then the broth. Simmer until thickened and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Served on the side

Forager's Pie

Scoop the mushroom mixture into the pie dish with crust so that it covers the whole bottom. Layer and spread the sweet potatoes evenly on top of the mushrooms. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving, with mushroom gravy on the side.