In many ways Shepherd’s Pie is a humble dish. But, it is also one of the best loved go-to comfort foods, which earned it one of the top places on the epicurious most popular recipes list. Although meat features prominently as a key ingredient, I have recently tackled this meat-lover staple and transformed it into a hearty and healthy vegan feast.
Trust me, making Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is easy as a pie. The recipe below does not require any fancy equipment or fancy ingredients. To save time and money, I recommend using frozen vegetables – they are a great and inexpensive alternative to fresh. These days many grocery store chains also offer pre-washed, pre-chopped, ready-to-use vegetables. I tend to stay away from those as I find them to be overpriced and don’t offer much more (or different) than the frozen veg!
One recent discovery I made, which I must share because it’s one of those things I did not know that I would like before I tried it, is crushed garlic in a jar! I’ve been ignoring this product, mostly because I am a bit of a garlic purist, but once I tried it I am not going back, at least for dishes that cook and simmer for a while. Raw garlic is still a must for all the raw applications or when having sliced garlic is preferable to minced. If you want to go deeper into the jar vs. fresh garlic discussion Nava Atlas, a vegan and vegeterian blogger and writer, had a great post on the topic.
If you are wondering what’s the highlight of this dish for me, I have to say it is using coconut milk for mashed potato topping. It adds incredible creaminess and a subtle flavor that is further enhanced by placing your pie under a broiler for few minutes at the end. But more on that below.
So, arm yourself with an armful of vegetables and let’s get cooking!
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
What you’ll need:
For the filling
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, cut in rounds
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cups frozen peas (use fresh if you prefer)
2 cups frozen corn (use fresh if you prefer)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cup vegetable (vegan) low-sodium cooking stock
For the topping
2 lbs (1 kg) Russet (white) potatoes
1 cup light coconut milk
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
What you’ll do:
- Spray the bottom of your Dutch oven, or any other pot that can go from the stove top straight into the oven, with the cooking spray and turn the heat to medium high. Add onions, carrots and celery. Let cook, with occasional mixing, for 5 min, until golden and soft.
- Stir in tomato paste and thyme, and let their flavors develop for 1-2 min.
- Add the stock, and use your wooden spoon to scrap up all the caramelized flavors from the bottom of your pot.
- Next, peas and corn all go in. Mix it in and let everything simmer for 20-25 min. (Don’t think you can take a break at this point, as you do have mashed potato topping to make!)
- Wash and peel your potatoes. Cut them in smaller pieces as this helps them boil faster. Put them in a pot with enough water to cover and boil for 15-20 min, until soft.
- Drain the potatoes and let them cool a bit. Add coconut milk and garlic, and mash away until nice and smooth.
- Top your Vegan Shepherd’s Pie filling with mashed potatoes, spread to cover and use your spoon to make the traditional crosshatch pattern on top. Spray with a bit of cooking oil to help with browning.
- Put your pie into a 375F (190C) oven and cook for 20 min or so. Then turn on your broiler on HI, and broil for 5 minutes until the top gets nicely browned!
- Voilà, you made it. Time to share and enjoy!
Note: as you may have noticed I don’t use extra salt in my recipes, and the stock I use is low-sodium. You will now best what your taste buds and your body can handle, so I leave it to you to decide whether you need salt or not. In my view, most dishes are just fine without any added salt and I bet you will be too!!!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017