Traditional Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
December 26, 2010

Traditional Vegan Shepherd's Pie | The Full Helping

Hey all! Hope you’re recovering from a wonderful Christmas celebration (or from a nice day of rest). My day was cozy and quiet, just as I was hoping it would be. And it was all the nicer because I’d been able to share a vegan dish with my mom for Christmas even dinner: vegan shepherd’s pie.

For the last five years or so, I’ve taken the liberty of cooking Christmas dinner for my Mom and me. I’ve always enjoyed the meals, and for the most part, Mom has too. There have, however, been a few meals she didn’t relish: I’m thinking, for example, of the raw beet ravioli with cashew cheese and massaged kale salad we split two years ago. It all tasted good, she said, but it was a little “cold.”

Of course it was cold. It was raw.

Looking back, I see that I have a tendency to bombard my mother with food that I like, but I’m not certain she’ll like. Given that eating 100% vegan on any holiday is already a concession for her, I decided that this year, I’d focus more on her palate than on mine. I’d find a dish she loved, and veganize it. The choice wasn’t very hard: my mom has one favorite comfort food dish that stands out above all others, and it’s shepherd’s pie.

Traditional shepherd’s pie is, as you probably know, made with ground beef, carrots, and beans or celery, and it’s topped with mashed potatoes and then baked. When I was growing up, my mother made a very traditional version for parties and entertaining friends. I still remember the sight of her putting dots of butter on top of the potatoes before it all went in to the oven. My mom was always adamant about the fact that her shepherd’s pie was a “special treat” dish—too much of a production, she said, to serve on just any old night. Now, all these years later, I hope I’ve persuaded her that it can be done without too much fuss, and with plant-based ingredients.

Traditional Vegan Shepherd's Pie | The Full Helping

Traditional Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe Type: entree, holidays
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free optional, soy free, nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 3/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, divided
  • 1/3 cup soy or almond milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 ounces baby bella or button mushrooms, stems removed and slices
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small rutabaga or celery root, peeled and diced
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon crushed thyme)
  • 3 tablespoons chickpea or all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together broth and wine. Stir in dried porcinis and set aside to plump up; give it at least 20-30 minutes. Strain mushrooms, reserving liquid.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil in a large pot. Add the potatoes. Boil for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add two tablespoons of the Earth Balance and the soy or almond milk. Use a potato masher or ricer to mash the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the mashed potatoes aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
  4. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 8 minutes, or until the onions are clear and the carrots are tender. Stir frequently and add water by the tablespoon if the vegetables start to stick. Add the garlic and baby bella or button mushrooms, along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms have released all of their juices and reduced in size (about 7 minutes).
  5. Add the parsnips and celery root to the pot. Next, add the porcini mushrooms. Whisk the flour into the reserved broth and wine, then add the liquid to the pot, along with the sage, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the vegetables for 12-15 minutes, stirring often. When the parsnips are tender and the broth has reduced significantly, season the mixture to taste with extra salt, pepper, and herbs. Transfer it to your prepared casserole. Spread the mashed potatoes over the vegetable layer.
  6. Transfer the dish to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are bubbling and the potatoes are gently browning. Serve.
Notes
Leftover pie will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Traditional Vegan Shepherd's Pie | The Full Helping

Traditional Vegan Shepherd's Pie | The Full Helping

 

As you can see, there’s lovely texture contrast between the hearty, mushroom-filled vegetable mixture and the soft, creamy potatoes. To serve, you can add a fresh green salad to the meal (or whatever green veggie sides you love).

IMG_4350 (500x333)

 

Traditional Vegan Shepherd's Pie | The Full Helping

The pie was is so good: earthy, comforting, very flavorful, and bursting with root vegetable goodness. It’s perfect for preparing in advance and baking the day of your holiday gathering, or even for freezing ahead of time. It serves a crowd, and it’s guaranteed to please eaters with different tastes. By the end of the night, Mom seemed thrilled with her eats. And I, in turn, was thrilled to have given her a meal that she loved.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I wish you all a happy holiday, again!

 

 

xo

Categories: Gluten Free, Main Dishes

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    40 Comments
  1. Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better!

    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him.

    Pretty sure he will have a very good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I tried this today and it was AWESOME and I DON’T COOK!
    I substituted sweet potatoes for the white ones (made half white potatoes) and the sweet potatoes were better in my opinion.
    My only criticism is that all of the chopping takes a long time (did I mention that I’m not a cook?). My husband gave it 9/10 and that says a lot for a girl that hates cooking 🙂 Thx for a great recipe!

  3. Yes… divine is the perfect word for this tasty/earthy Shepherd’s Pie!!! It is everything Gena says it is. Made a trial run of this recipe today in hopes that I would love it and could serve it for Thanksgiving! Well, after eating it, watching my husband go back for seconds, and listening to my meat-eater neighbor rave over every bite and make several great comments my decision was made! Boy are we going to love Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I don’t think anyone will miss Tom… Turkey. I know I won’t. Went strictly by the recipe and wouldn’t change a thing. This Shepherd’s Pie could easily be served in any Fine Dining Restaurant in the country and would definitely be a repeat favorite!!!
    Gena, you’re A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. 🙂

  4. I made vegan shepherd’s pie for xmas dinner too! It is so easy to make and it always seems to please the omnivores – especially when served with miso gravy. Good thing I have leftovers 🙂

  5. Shepard’s pie is meal that brings comfort here at our home too, both my son and husband like it a lot (my son loves mashed potatoes!). And I always make it vegetarian too, much the way you do, but I like to add lentils to the vegetable portion sometimes, it makes it really delicious, gives it an even heartier feel and taste/flavor – but I may be bias, I love lentils!
    I like your pie, looks delicious!!
    Ana

  6. (1ST time posting) First of all LOVE your blog! I am inspired everyday reading it to try to stay with my veganism (1 yr vegan with some speed bumps) and to try to incorporate more raw dishes. I have a question which I hope you wont think of as silly. Since I am new to the concept of raw dishes, I was wondering if you are suppose to eat the raw soups you describe (like the one above) cold? I know raw means not cooked, but I was wondering if you even just warm them at all?

  7. This pie looks delish!!

    I have a question could you reccommend any restaurants with vegan options near penn station? going to dinner with 2 friends but can’t be too much $$$.

    thanks!

  8. Yummy recipe and always a great winter staple.
    Greens are the main fuel that runs my body. As we age we need all the nutrition we can get to keep metabolism high and to stay healthy and encourage all hormones to keep on firing!

  9. Hi Gena! I thought I’d share with you that I made the caesar kale and white bean salad for myself on Christmas Eve and absolutely loved it. That is my kind of comfort food. I was able to do this because it was just me and my parents that night and they had the traditional spread of Italian seafood dishes. My mom kept eyeing my plate and I had to keep giving her bites because she enjoyed it so much!

    Christmas day my mom made stuffed shells, meatballs, and sausages. She also made broccoli with olives and pignolis that is totally vegan and one of my favorites. To mesh with the theme, I brought my own jumbo brown rice shells and tofu/cashew ricotta (her tomato sauce is vegan which I smothered it in). My sister-in-law is dairy and soy-free so I made her an all cashew ricotta (your recipe!) and she brought a salad. My sis was about to die she thought the cheese was so fantastic! The desserts were totally vegan because I made them – gingerbread cookies, pumpkin pie coconut ice cream, and red velvet cake with pistachio cream cheese frosting.

  10. This year I brought a few vegetarian items like salad, fruit salad and some empanadas, but mostly I quietly didn’t eat the meat based dishes. One family member this year rather rudely asked my very health conscious mother in law to ‘not have too many healthy foods.’ It really upset me, but also made me aware that I don’t want to demand the flip side from my family and make the host do extra work to cater to me. If they are gracious and generous enough to provide a huge meal for a lot of people, the least I can do is be grateful and make up my dinner plate from the veggie tray and salad. Christmas is about much more than the food.

  11. Oh, I’ve been craving shepherd’s pie; thank you!
    I made vegan chocolate truffles for Christmas and they were a mad hit. People were raving about them and no one detected the truffles were vegan. Score!
    Love Fritz; is he a Schnoodle?

  12. I see where you get it from now. Your amazingness that is. Spell check informs me that “amazingness” is not a word, but I assure you, it is. I think your mom is pretty spectacular to eat vegan for you. And I think you are pretty incredible to stray a little from what you normally eat and to bake for her. (That is baking, by the way.) Being a little uncomfortable to be with the ones you love. That IS what Christmas is all about, right?

    • Haha, high-five to Mama Pea. It wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a token split second of discomfort. Luckily my holiday was far more pleasant than unpleasant, so I won’t complain. 🙂

      Kudos to you, Gena, for striking a gracious balance, and I shall put the rest of my comment in an email! xo

  13. Raising my hand as one of the raw foodies who doesn’t love green soup. But I do like green smoothies, so we’re even. 🙂 And I am not that thrilled about raw beets, so I can see where your mom is coming from. I win a lot more over with cooked vegan main dishes, but I do have a lot of success with my raw desserts. More so than with cooked ones!

    Fritz is as adorable as they come for brothers. What a cute mustache he has.

  14. For Christmas, my mom made the shepherd’s pie from the recipe you based this off of, and it was delicious! There’s still more in the fridge–I can’t wait to have some leftovers.

  15. Scrumptious-looking pie, it’s always hard to know what to cook for the ‘uninitiated’! The other night I whipped up a warm, creamy potato salad using avocado as the mayonnaise, romaine, chives, pickled onions etc. So good, and the whole family liked it! I don’t think they even realised it was all veggies 🙂

  16. Wonderful post and the shepherd’s pie looks great, like a recipe my hubby and I could enjoy. My mom is the same way about veggies, she doesn’t understand how I can eat so much spinach at a time. 😛 The celery soup also looks wonderful! And Fritz is a cutie!

  17. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I plan to make it this next week.

    Regards, Howard

  18. Your Shepherd’s Pie looks delicious – perfect for a Christmas meal. We made a baked risotto with porcini mushrooms last week and I love them. I think my husband would love this pie, too. I’m with you on the raw green component with every meal. Something cold and fresh to round out the hot, hearty dish.

    Fritz is so cute!

    I always bring a couple of vegan dishes to holiday meals with my family…usually something with quinoa and lentils. I also bring veggies to steam since most of the veggie sides are casseroles which include dairy. This year, I brought some vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, too.

  19. The celery soup sounds delectable.

    It sounds like you’re having an amazing journey in terms of learning how to communicate your love for your mom as well as your passion for vegan food, and putting them together in her world. Sounds like you’re having great success too–which is a great gift to you both.

    I tend to skimp on my own foods and use available time to ‘crowd-please.’ However, this Christmas I made a whole bunch of raw/vegan/gluten free/very-low-sugar treats (my husband’s daughter is also avoiding sugar and gluten atm, which helps me to feel ok about going that way). And everybody loved everything and didn’t even necessarily realize that it wasn’t ‘the real thing,’ which is amazing, since most of the folks up here are very ‘mainstream’ and suspicious of alternatives. Made me feel good! Trying to get some pics up on blog right now.

    Thanks for sharing yours. And Fritz is adorable!
    love
    Ela

  20. Uh, Fritz is the cutest!!

    We went to a friend’s house for dinner where I knew there would be meat (which I eat) and a lot of rich sides, but no greenery. So I made an avocado/lemon/miso massaged spinach salad and coconut oil sauteed brussels sprouts, along with orange maple whipped sweet potatoes and a dairy-free pumpkin/peanut butter crustless pie to take with us. My contributions were much appreciated and I loaded up on what I brought plus a little of everything else and was very satisfied and not left feeling overly bloated or too stuffed. It was great. 🙂

  21. What a food and family filled day you had miss, Gena! Love how you accustomed your eats to more of your mom’s likings– that’s what I do when I cook for my family as well. It’s not always about us and our safe foods and routines on Christmas, but about our loved ones around us.
    I had a lovely Christmas and definitely had up my usual routines and safe foods. Flexibility is definitely a hard task, especially as a foodie 🙂

  22. i’m far from vegan, but i love healthier comfort foods such as this. i made an awesome vegetable pot pie from the candle cafe cookbook that reminds me of this in its heartiness and all. yum! glad your mom enjoyed.

    i’ve been eating out this holiday season as i’m vacationing in vermont. i did find out about a new vegetarian restaurant in town where we have reservations at in an hour. looking forward to what should be a delicious belated holiday meal!

  23. You covered so much ground in this post Gena:
    the shepards pie..not something I would have ever thought to make, but what a lovely, hearty, comforting recipe for those days when we just need some lovin’ and warmth and heavier foods in our tummies!

    The celery soup…looks like a great way to get more veggies in (altho according to your mom you dont need anymore…lol)

    And the lemon bundt cake….that’s where it’s at for me: cake! But I am w/ you, I’d go more for raw/choc stuff but hey, cake is cake 🙂

    Glad you had a nice, chill, holiday!

    🙂

  24. Your mom has great taste, and you are such an amazing cook! Shepherd’s pie is one of my favorites. I just love something hearty made of meat and potatoes, but this looks just as decadent and delicious without the meat.

  25. Everytime you have a recipe with almond milk do you homemake it these recipes look awesome but almond milk raw is hard to make. Thanks

  26. Your shepherd’s pie looks divine (and I’ve added it to my recipe file!)

    My husband and I decided to stay in NY this year, just us, and it was perfect. He veganized mashed sweet potatoes and dressing for me, I made a veggie “meat” loaf (“Vegan Comfort Food” recipe), we enjoyed sauteed garlic-spinach-almonds and he was on his own with his turkey breast (blech).

    Congrats on your “brother”! Adorable.