Friday, April 10, 2009

Vegan Shepherd's Pie


It's Good Friday! And do you know what that means? It means that unless you planned ahead, you'll be driving to gas stations in Quebec to buy booze with a bunch of other disorganized Ontarians. And if you're lucky, your boyfriend will buy you a Lisa Simpson key chain while you're there. 

So yeah. The Man of Science and I spent all of our driving-around energy on the aforementioned booze and key chain run, which left me with no ambition to truck around town trying to find dinner ingredients. Next year I'll remember about Easter, I swear. Luckily, the House of Science had enough in the pantry to make this delicious shepherd's pie. 

I know a lot of vegan cooks like to make their shepherd's pie as traditionally as possible, but I for one am always disappointed when presented with a meal of TVP in tomato sauce topped with potatoes. I'm not a big TVP fan and besides, that meal needs more vegetables. 

So, dear readers, I present you with this recipe for a more vegetabley version of the humble shepherd's pie. It was the perfect way to soak up the beer in our bellies. 


Vegan Shepherd's Pie

5 large white potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 cup brown lentils
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
3 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup corn
1 heaping tbsp light miso
1 cup water
salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Boil and mash your potatoes as you normally would. Remember the holy trinity of salt, oil, and unflavoured soy milk.

Cook the lentils with the bay leaf. I used three cups of water to the one cup of lentils.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet or frying pan, saute onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add celery, rosemary, basil, and wine vinegar.

Dump in the lentils and whatever cooking liquid is left in their pot. Remove bay leaf.

Add corn and let mixture simmer for a minute.

Add miso and gradually add water. Mixture should now have some liquid in it, but not be overly soupy.

When celery is softened, add parsley and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Spread mashed potatoes over top of lentil mixture and bake in the oven until the filling gets bubbley, about ten minutes. I put some soy parmesan, pepper, and basil on top of my potato crust before putting it in the oven.

You can let it sit under the broiler for another three to five minutes if you want the potato crust to brown up nicely.

shepherd's pie

Some Notes:

-One of the very practical tips I learned from watching Jamie Oliver on TV is this: when you are doing a mish mash dish like this with a lot of ingredients, cut everything up to be around the same size so it is more pleasant to eat. For this one I tried to cut up my onions and celery to be small like the corn and the lentils.

-For mashed potatoes, I always add a few cloves of garlic to the potatoes during the boiling period. When it is time to mash them, the garlic is soft and just gets mashed in too. It gives them a nice, subtle garlicy flavour.

-The Man of Science had three helpings of this, proclaiming its deliciousness multiple times.



eileen said...

in nyc, the way you remember it's major religious holiday weekend is by the eerie emptiness of the train at eight in the morning. so weird and yet so nice.

also, PIE.

The Voracious Vegan said...

My hubby loves shepherd's pie and your picture looks delicious. I will definitely be trying this soon!

Laura Payton said...

I always forget about stores being closed on Good Friday, which left us in a desperate scramble for a vrtucar and a search for grocery stores in Gatineau yesterday.
I'll definitely have to try this recipe!

A_and_N said...

Seriously...who needs meat when you have hearty vegetarian eats like this! Looks wonderful :)

Jo Stockton said...

Eileen: It's quiet in our neighbourhood, too. We live near lots of loud university students and I love it when they go home for the holiday weekends.

VV: It's a very manly meal :)

LP: It's so much more civilized over there in Quebec, isn't it? ;)

A&N: I agree. This is one of those dishes that I would serve to a meat eater who claims that vegetarian food won't fill her/him up.


Sophie said...

This looks great, I especially like the clever use of the lentils--they are tasty and so full of protein!

Amber said...

I cooked this for supper tonight and MUCH prefer it to the sketchy ground beef that is usually the base of Shepherd's Pie. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Keith Logan said...

Sorry to burst your bubble but it aint a shepherds pie - it traditionally was called a shepherds pie because it was all the components of a shepherds diet. It traditionally had guiness stock gravy, with potato and lamb. Im vegitarian, but it simply aint a shepherds pie - its a lentil and potato pie

sarah said...

OOO- Yum! I just found your blog - hurrah for hearty veg fare.

I just made something similar, but was saddened how lacking in protein mine was (carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and leaks) - I love the addition of the lentils (as opposed to sneaking soy protein powder into the potato topping).

stephanie said...

fabulous! very hearty and amazingly tasty. my carnivore hubby liked it, too.

Cathy said...

Looks great. I've been working to perfect my shepherd's pie with seitan. The lentils are a great idea, too!

The Glossy Editor said...

Holy sh%t! Just made your vegan shepherd pie and it was delicious! My BF (The Man of Tattoo's) ate 3 servings (including the one I was hoping to freeze). Technically it wasn't vegan (added cheese on top) but amazingly good. Thanks! Keep up the great work:)

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

That is awesome to hear. This is my most popular recipe and it never fails!

Anonymous said...

Just made this dish tonight. It was so delicious! My boyfriend loved it too. Thanks for the recipe. -Liz, Miami

Anonymous said...

I am going to make this tomorrow in my slow cooker- just come home from work and broil the crock in the oven for a bit to get it nice and crispy on top. I think I will throw in some carrots and maybe parsnips (wish I could add bell pepper too, but it gets really soggy when cooked for too long). A side of freshly steamed green beans and that is just about the perfect winter dinner!

Kelly said...

Made your Shepherd's Pie last night, was delicious! Thought spring was here, but winter is back in Montreal, so this dish was perfect. Tasted eerily similar to the meat variety I remember having as a kid.

Jill & John said...

We're a group of 7 wondering when to add the parsley? Garnish? Dinner party Shepard's pie!!!

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Oh no! I hope the dinner party didn't end in disaster! It's been a while since I made this, but I think the parsley should go in with the lentils when you're adding them to the mix.

GC said...

Zoom and I tried this recipe the other night as we continue flirting with veganism. It was delicious! I used a dark miso because I couldn't find light but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. There are some new ingredients to stock up on and I'm going to have to find a good store to get these supplies (recommendations welcomed). I found miso (dark) and almond meal at Kardish. Almond meal??? yes for the Award Winning Dark Chocolate Almond Cupcakes... they're up next!

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Way to go, GC! I'm glad the shepherds pie worked for you and Zoom. It is a good recipe to start with because it doesn't us "fake meat" or anything like that, instead relying on the good old power of lentils. As for ingredients, I really like Rainbow Foods on Richmond if you're up for a bit of a trek. The Wheatberry also has a great selection of quality ingredients, as does Market Organics. And if you ever can't find almond meal you can just grind almonds in your coffee grinder or blender. Works like a charm!

Amani said...

I like to reduce the starch factor in my shepherd's pie and go 50/50 potato and cauliflower for the topping. It's virtually undetectable. And delicious! More veggies!

Tamara said...

Hi there. My Canadian husband has been craving Shepherds Pie like no tomorrow. The problem is we keep a (sorry) dairy/vegetarian home. Ironically, he's from your part of the world but reluctantly moved to LA for us to get married - yes, we too got married in Vegas. He grew up in Hull, was in Ottawa when we met and his mom lives in Gatineau. So...thanks for the Shepherd's pie recipe and also, besides "The Table", any other good veggie restaurant options these days?? His fave place is The Table but would be nice if there were more options :)

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Hi Tamara!

There are lots of vegetarian options in Ottawa these days! I'm actually working on a separate tab for the top of my blog for lists of veg-friendly places here in town, but it's a big project and it's taking me a while!

IF you're up for a fancy dinner, Zen Kitchen is a great high end vegan restaurant that is always lovely. There's a vegan/ mostly raw food restaurant right in Hull called La Belle Verte which has delicious food. I'm also a big fan of Ceylonta (not entirely veg, but very veg friendly) and The Manx (ditto).

Enjoy that LA sunshine.

Lynda said...

Quick note for reader Sarah: to "beef up" (sorry, couldn't resist) the protein in this great recipe, try adding some tofu.

Freeze the tofu first, and then squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. Braise it in veggie or faux beef broth and maybe a little thyme. Then mix it in with the lentils. Alternatively, grind some seitan and toss it in with the lentils. Neither will mess up the taste of this dish (IMHO).

Amber said...

Just wanted to let you know that I tried this on Christmas Eve (I made cottage pie for most of our guests, but wanted to feed my vegan sister-in-law and vegetarian brother-in-law something equally hearty) and it was a huge success (almost everyone tried the vegan pie and they all liked it, even people who insist that they have meat in every meal). Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe!

Becky said...

I just made this for dinner tonight and it turned out great! I added some carrots and peas...and made enough to go in a 9x13 pan. Really good! Thanks!

Hanna Thomas said...

I've made your recipe a few times before and due to lack of will to go and purchase red wine vinegar, I always end up just using red wine! It is soooo good! I simmer all my vegetables in butter, then add copious amounts of wine until it is pretty evaporated. Then throw in the lentils (soaked overnight + cooked beforehand of course)
I also include carrots and zucchini instead of corn. If I don't have any parsley, I'll use another green like kale or chard.

This recipe is so warming on a cold day, and leaves me feeling oh so happy.

helen said...

This came out really well! It was pretty and delicious (pretty delicious)! It's still chilly in North Lansing, NY and we'll appreciate it as a lunch all week long. Love your blog!