When the weather turns a little chilly, I instantly start to crave comfort food. I want dishes that fill me with warmth and remind me of my childhood, and Shepherd’s Pie does exactly that. My Mom used to make it for us growing up and I’m not sure that I fully appreciated it then, but now, I adore it’s simplicity and combination of flavors.
Obviously, the traditional Shepherd’s Pie was not vegan. It is made with either ground beef or ground lamb. In order to achieve a similar texture and appearance, I decided to try using lentils instead of meat, and it turned out fantastic. Even my husband, who deemed himself a connoisseur of sorts when Shepherd’s Pie is concerned, loved it. It has all the elements you want– the mashed potato topping, the fresh herbs and vegetables, and the warm, filling center.
This dish truly makes the perfect fall dinner.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie
- 1 Onion Diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 2 lb Russet Potatoes About 5-6 Medium/Large Potatoes. Peeled and quartered.
- 3 Carrots Peeled, Sliced
- 3 Celery Stalks Sliced
- 1 c. Dried Lentils
- 1/2 c. Sweet Peas Frozen
- 1 c. Coconut Milk
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme Chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Italian Parsley Chopped
- 1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tsp Tomato Paste
- 2 1/2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour Unbleached
- 1 2/3 c. Vegetable Broth
- 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 3/4 Tsp Pepper
- 3 c. Water
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- In medium size pot, add the dried lentils and cover with 3 c. of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until they are tender. Once they are tender, remove from heat, and drain any excess water.
- In large pot, add the peeled and quartered potatoes, cover with water so that there is at least 2 inches of water above potatoes on all sides. Add a pinch of salt, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly, but be sure the water is still boiling and let the potatoes cook for 25-35 minutes. You want the potatoes to be soft, and give no resistance when you puncture them with a fork. This will make your mashed potatoes nice and creamy. Once they are finished cooking, drain and let cool slightly.
- Once the potatoes have cooled slightly, place in a large mixing bowl, add 1 c. of coconut milk, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, and 2 Tbsp of vegan butter. With an electric mixer, whip the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy. Season to taste with S&P. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In medium pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat (if you are trying to cut back on your oil intake, you can substitute vegetable broth for the oil). Add diced onion and garlic. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add carrots and celery. Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, Worcestershire, flour, rosemary and thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper. Stir to evenly coat all vegetables.
- Add cooked lentils, frozen peas, and 1 2/3 c. vegetable broth. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes or until the vegetable mixture is thick then remove from heat. *Taste the vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Grease a 9x13 pan. Add vegetable mixture to pan and spread evenly.
- Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the vegetable mixture starting at the edges to prevent spill over in the oven.
- Place in the oven, cook for 25-35 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the potatoes begin to brown on the top. (You may want to add a sheet pan on the rack underneath in case it bubbles over).
- Serve in a deep bowl, with chopped Italian parsley sprinkled on top. Enjoy!