Vegan Shepherd's Pie
It's hard to think of anything more comforting than some vegan meat topped with buttery mashed potatoes, with a good ol' drizzling of some brown gravy, and the good news is this is as delicious as it is easy to make!
Alright, I don't remember eating a ton of Shepherd's Pie before going vegan. I was more of a Chicken Pot Pie guy, but now that I've been eating it for the past week, I have no idea why that was the case! I mean, meat and potatoes and gravy? Those were my favorite foods! But, the good thing is as vegans, we don't gotta miss out, so I'm making up for lost time!
And since this is a classic, rustic dish, it's pretty simple to put together. We are making some buttery mashed potatoes, a delicious meat filling with some veggies and herbs, and then optionally but highly recommended is some brown gravy.
We are making this in a cast iron skillet but you can use a casserole dish as well. This should be enough to make 10 - 12 servings, so it's great for a Holiday Main Dish!
I prefer Yukon Gold over Russets, but use whatever you like, or even a combo.
Pick potatoes that are roughly the same shape, this will make it easier to cut them into quarters and ensure even cooking.
Wash them after peeling, and start them off in a pot of cold water.
Add plenty of salt and a few cloves of lightly crushed garlic to the cooking water.
Cook until fork tender, drain, then return to the pot over low heat to cook out any excess moisture.
Use a POTATO RICER! Not only does it do an amazing job of mashing the potatoes, but it's super fun to use too!
In this recipe I'm only using salted vegan butter as I wanted to try that out, and I really liked it! If you want a recipe that uses vegan milk and cream cheese, check out the Moist Maker recipe I got RIGHT HERE.
Make sure the butter is room temperature. You can throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it too.
You can use store-bought plant based meat, or lentils, or you can make some vegan ground beef with tofu using THIS RECIPE.
Use whatever veggies you like, you can even use some frozen veggies as a shortcut.
For the veggies we'll be doing 1 cup of mushrooms, celery, carrots and shallots (or onions) diced. So dice up enough to fill 1 cup for each veggie.
I didn't have rosemary on hand but feel free to add some.
If you don't wanna use red wine, you can sub with the same amount of grape juice and a splash of vinegar.
Season to taste as always!
You can also add a sprig of rosemary, thyme etc to infuse some herby flavor into it.
Add a splash of something like Gravy Master if you can, it really plusses the gravy up!
here's a HANDY DANDY video too!
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Makes about 10 - 12 servings
MASHED POTATOES METHOD
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
4-5 cloves garlic (lightly crushed, skins removed)
1/2 cup room temperature salted vegan butter (more to taste)
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper to taste
Skin and wash the potatoes. Depending on the size you may want to halve or quarter them. But make sure to cut them into equal sizes. Add the potatoes to a pot of cold water, making sure the water is just covering them. Add in a few big pinches of salt and the crushed garlic.
Add to stovetop and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a heavy simmer and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes or so. Drain the cooked potatoes and then return them to the pot and cook on low to get rid of any excess moisture.
Mash the potatoes (ideally with a POTATO RICER) don't discard the garlic, it will be cooked down enough that it'll be smooth once riced.
Add the 1/2 cup (1 stick) of salted vegan butter, and gently fold in. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more butter if you like (I added in 2 Tbsp more).
MEAT FILLING / PIE METHOD
1 1/2 pounds plant-based meat (like Beyond or Impossible)
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1 cup mushrooms (diced)
1 cup carrots (diced)
1 cup celery (diced)
1 cup shallots or onions (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp fresh sage (chopped)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp vegan worcestershire
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup vegan beef broth or veggie broth
1 cup frozen peas
In a cast iron skillet, add the plant-based meat over medium high heat and cook until browned and no pink remains. Remove from the pan and reserve.
Add in 2 Tbsp of vegan butter and melt, then add in the mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until they've released some moisture and have shrunk down. Then add in the carrots, celery and shallots. Cook for an additional 8 - 10 minutes or until they have softened and have a bit of color.
Add in the garlic, sage and thyme. Stir and cook for 1 minute, then add in the tomato paste and worcestershire sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute and add in the flour. Stir and cook for another minute (there's a theme here) and then add in the red wine (you can sub with grape juice and a splash of vinegar if you don't use wine). Stir to combine and cook down the wine until it's mostly been absorbed / reduced, about 1 - 2 minutes.
Add back in the reserved meat and stir to combine. Next, pour in the vegan beef broth and stir to combine. Then add in the frozen peas and combine. Cook for a minute then remove from the heat.
SHEPHERD PIE METHOD
Smooth out the meat filling in the cast iron with the back of a spoon, pressing down but not mashing, until it's level and compact. Then spread the mashed potatoes on top, spreading them as evenly as you can.
Use a fork to draw lines into the mashed potatoes to create a craggy texture, this will help it brown at the end when we broil the top, and create some nice crispy bits on top. Do whatever kind of design your artistic heart desires!
Add the cast iron skillet to a preheated oven at 375 F or 190 C for about 20 minutes. Then broil the top for about 3 minutes or until it's browned to your liking. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
Now the hardest part of the recipe, you need to let it rest at least 20 minutes, but 30 is better. It will be way too hot to eat and it needs to set a bit too. But you can use that time to make some gravy, recipe below!
1/4 cup vegan butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 - 3 cups vegan beef broth or veggie broth
1 tsp browning sauce like Gravy Master (optional)
1 Tbsp Mushroom Seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste (if needed)
In a skillet, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour 1 Tbsp at a time. Once all flour has been whisked in, cook for one minute to get rid of the raw flour.
Dissolve mushroom seasoning into the vegan beef / veggie broth. Whisk in the broth about 1/2 cup at a time.
Whisk to combine and then reduce to desired consistency (although for me the consistency was great out of the gate). Taste and adjust for seasoning.