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.
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).
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!