Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Hey!  I created a new section on the blog, Vegan Recipes!  Check it out!
I just had to share one of my favorite comfort foods, which is great for the colder months, and St. Patrick's Day!  Shepherd's Pie is traditionally made with lamb, but most of us are used to eating it with ground beef.  So when I had a huge craving for this dish during St. Patrick's Day this year, I knew I had to come up with a vegan version.  Instead of just replacing the ground beef with soy crumbles, I used mushrooms and a variety of other vegetables to make the "meat" portion of this meal.  

You can grab almost any vegetables you want, but I usually go with some mixture of:
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Peas, Asparagus, Zucchini, Chard, Spinach, etc.
The first thing I do is saute the mushrooms and onions in the bottom on my dutch over with some oil for a few minutes, slowly adding all the vegetables until they're cooked to my satisfaction.  

Mix together a bit of flour, tomato paste, red wine, and some vegetable broth to make around a cup of liquid.  This is going to be your thickening sauce.  Pour it into the vegetable mixture and let it all simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, we've got to make the mashed potatoes to go on top of the vegetables.  Last time I made this, I didn't really have enough potatoes, so I grabbed a little cauliflower as well because it takes a very similar texture as mashed potatoes when blended. 

Let the potatoes and cauliflower boil for around 7-8 minutes until you can stick a fork through the potatoes.  I like to throw in some greens a minutes or two before dumping the water so that I can blanch some healthy and yummy vitamins to go in the potatoes. 
Drain the ingredients, and then it's time to mash.  You could do this by hand, or with a hand held mixer, or a Kitchen Aid mixer.  I like to add almond milk, Earth Balance butter, and salt and pepper while I mash them. 

Personally, I like my potatoes a little chunky so I stop once they are mostly smooth.  I also like to add fresh green onions if I happen to have them (seriously, there's nothing like freshly cut green onions!), but I didn't during this particular process.  

After the potatoes are ready, spread them right on top of the vegetable mixture in the dutch oven, and pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Yum!

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