Another cruelty free, better-than-the-original take on a classic! Shepard's pie is one of those stick to your ribs, manly meals that is so perfect for a chilly winter's night. This version involves a thick saucy gravy, protein packed lentils, meaty mushrooms, savory herbs and the best damn mashed potatoes you'll ever have (vegan or not!). It's an indulgent, happy belly dish that I love pulling from the oven.
Now, like all shepard's pie recipes this dish requires a little bit of elbow grease and time, but, with that said, it makes a ton of food! That means your hard work will feed an army OR keep you well fed for multiple meals (it reheats really well) - that is if you have the self control to not eat the entire thing, straight from the pan, at mid-night -I'm talking to you, Dad.
Make this one for the manliest dudes you know and prepare to be praised. I made this recipe for Christmas dinner ... my meat eating family members nearly polished off the whole tray.
Serves: 8-12 people • Prep Time: 40 minutes • Cook Time: 25 minutes
To prep the mashed potatoes:
- 8 medium yellow/gold potatoes
- 1 tbsp. vegan butter*
- 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid
- 1/4 cup unsweetened unflavored plant milk
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp. of rosemary, sage, thyme
- Salt + pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425* F. Peel and dice the potatoes and add to a large pot of cold water.
2. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook till fork tender, drain, remembering to reserve a bit of the cooking liquid in a small dish.
3. While the potatoes are draining, put the empty hot pot back on the burner and add vegan butter, herbs, salt and pepper, let the herbs infuse the butter for a minute or two.
4. Add the potatoes back to the pot with the nutritional yeast and a bit of the cooking liquid. Mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixture for a smoother texture. Add in the plant milk and cooking liquid to your desired texture. Set aside.
To prep the filling:
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2-3 large carrots, diced in 1/2" pieces
- 1-2 large parsnips*, diced in 1/2" pieces
- 2 large stalks of celery, diced in 1/2" pieces
- 8-10 small, meaty mushrooms, diced in small pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas*
- 1/2 cup frozen corn*
- 1 cup green lentils
- 3-4 cups water + 2 low sodium veggie bouillon cubes (I use this brand) OR low sodium veggie broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- Chopped rosemary, sage, thyme
- Salt + pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp. corn starch + 1/2 cup hot water*
1. Chop all the fresh veggies into similar size and shape - add to a large pan with the lentils, tomato paste, seasoning and 2 cups of cooking liquid to start. Sautee on medium-high until the lentils are slightly tender, about 15 minutes, during this time make sure you're stirring and slowly adding more liquid as it is absorbed by the lentils.
2. Turn off the heat and stir in the frozen veggies. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3. Whisk together the cornstarch and hot water, making sure there are no lumps. Pour the slurry directly over the veggie filling while it's still in the hot pan and mix well - allow the liquid to slightly thicken.
NOTE: You can omit this step. I really wanted to create a thick gravy like consistency, reminiscent of the meaty shepard's pie I used to have but if you don't like to use (or simply don't have) cornstarch, this isn't a deal breaker. You could also sprinkle in a little flour, GF flour or simply allow the mixture to reduce a bit more - the gravy is quite savory and rich to begin with.
3. Transfer the entire mixture to a large pyrex casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
4. Top with the mashed potatoes in a smooth and even layer. Use a spoon to create a decorative pattern (shown above}. Dot with butter, sprinkle panko and paprika.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is slightly crisp and golden brown.
- 1 tbsp. vegan butter*
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs*
- 1 tsp. paprika