My Local Kitchen: Mike McRoberts & plant-based comfort food

Kiwi legend Mike McRoberts stepped into the My Food Bag kitchen to share his comforting Plant Based Portobello Mushroom Pie with foodies. He chatted to us about changing to a plant based lifestyle and his childhood food memories.

mike mcroberts
Mike McRoberts popped into the My Food Bag kitchen to share his mouth-watering plant based pie recipe

What’s the inspiration behind the plant-based pie recipe?

I think one word can sum it up… comfort. This pie is such great comfort food with the beautiful combination of the mushrooms and the lentils and the delicious pastry, it’s a gorgeous winter warmer to come home to. And I love the hearty winter salad My Food Bag has paired with it.

What does going vegan mean to you? Tell us a bit about your journey so far.

I felt the need to change my diet a couple of years ago after suffering a debilitating knee injury which just wasn’t improving after months of treatment. I decided to attack the problem from within, using food to heal. It was a matter of trial and error but eventually I came to the realisation that I felt better on a plant-based diet.

It was a pretty radical change for me having spent a lifetime enjoying our wonderful meat and dairy products, but it just worked better for me not having them. There are so many vegan or plant-based options out there that it hasn’t been a hardship at all. And as someone who loves cooking I’ve really enjoyed learning how to cook different dishes and using our world-class produce.

The My Local Kitchen recipe series is about celebrating local food stories and iconic Kiwi dishes from our childhoods. Do you have a good yarn about growing up on classic Kiwi pies?

Pies are such a Kiwi staple, honestly where would we be without them? I remember fondly my mum’s amazing bacon and egg pie – with peas! Absolutely delicious hot or cold, not that there’d ever be leftovers to have it cold.

mike mcroberts mushroom pie
Mike McRoberts Plant Based Portobello Mushroom Pie with Hearty Winter Greens

What are some of your favourite Kiwi recipes you love to feed your whānau?

I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world and am always looking for recipes and dishes I can make at home. A staple for my whānau is roast vegetables tossed through fresh spinach and served with homemade garlicky hummus and warm pita bread. Another would be alternative ‘meat’ sausages with a mountain of mashed potato and green vegetables served with flavoursome vegan gravy.

What are some of your favourite eateries in Aotearoa?

Auckland is pretty blessed with vegetarian and vegan eateries and many restaurants now offering vegetarian and vegan options. It’s hard to go passed Gorilla Kitchen in Symonds Street, The Butcher’s Son on Jervois Road or Vegan Thai at Khu Khu on Ponsonby Road.

Can you tell us some of your most-loved local produce?

One of the great advantages of not wandering the meat aisle at a supermarket is using that time in the produce section. Pantry staples are always pumpkin, kumara, carrots, beetroot, onions and garlic and our wonderful greens – spinach, kale, broccoli, peas. And the fresher the better!

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