Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

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shepards pie

Cooking a dish that both meat eaters and vegetarians will compromise on can be difficult.  I was once in a predicament where I hosted someone who neglected to mention that she was a celiac and a vegetarian. Normally, I would prepare something extra for my vegetarian guests but I was only informed about this at the least minute. Suffice to say, this poor girl did not have many options. I tried convincing her to eat some chicken so she wouldn’t starve throughout the entire meal but no avail. A guest leaving hungry is every hosts nightmare.

Most meat eaters I know are reluctant to try vegan dishes, especially those that require tofu. Tofu is persona non gratta  in my household.   We tend to eat vegetarian dishes during the week and save meat/chicken for the weekends,holidays, and special occasions. I generally prefer Shepherd’s pie made from ground meat. I one time ate a vegetarian version using ground soy beef. It didn’t work for me. I came across another version that even the meat-and-potato- types will appreciate. Like any other Sheppard’s pie, this vegetarian rendition is just as filling and plentiful. I made  a sweet potato puree for the topping.  I know people (some of whom are related to me) who have an aversion to sweet potatoes. I like the contrast of sweet and savory flavors combined. If you don’t, however, feel free to use red potatoes,Idaho potatoes, or rustic potatoes. Just omit the cinnamon and ground cloves factor. I used lentils in lieu of tofu.  While lentils need 45 minutes to cook, I suggest that you grant yourself some time to prepare for this dish.

As a professed red blood male and a carnivorous meat-eater (that bit was exaggerated although he does like his meat), my hubby gave this recipe a thumbs up. In fact, we had to refrain ourselves from eating this entire dish.  As we are in Holiday season,some of you may be hosting guests,friends, or family members with dietary restrictions. Even though, meat is traditionally served in most holidays, its nice to prepare something festive that  vegetarians and vegans will enjoy as well. After all, isn’t Holiday season all about being nice and accommodating?

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 3-4 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  2. 1/2  cup of soy,almond, rice or unsweetened coconut milk
  3. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  5. 1 cup of cooked brown or green lentils
  6. 1 cup of diced carrots
  7. 1 cup of diced celery
  8. 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  9. 1 large onion chopped
  10. 2 cloves or garlic minced
  11. 1 cup of dry red wine
  12. 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  13. 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  14. 1 teaspoon of cumin
  15. 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  16. Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Place potatoes in a pot with water.   Bring to a boil on the stove top  then reduce heat to medium to the potatoes continue to simmer. Let the potatoes cooks for about 20 minutes till fork tender.Once the potatoes have been cooked, drain them and add the non dairy milk, cinnamon, and cloves. Using a masher or a hand blender, puree till smooth.  The puree should be a little watery. Set aside.  In a cast iron skillet  over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of  olive oil. Add in onions and saute till translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes util vegetables are fragrant and tender .  Season with salt,pepper,cayenne pepper,cumin, and parsley.  Add the lentils and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Then pour in the wine.  Cook for another 10 minutes until liquid is reduced. Transfer vegetables to a 9 inch greased baking dish. Spread evenly sweet potato puree over vegetables.  Place the dish in the oven and let it bake for about 40 minutes till the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown. Increase heat at the end of cooking for more browning, if desired. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped parsley on top of the pie to garnish. Serve hot.

Yields 8 servings

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3 thoughts on “Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

    Ester said:
    January 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Chavivah,
    This post was included in the Shvat Kosher Cooking Carnival. Ask your readers to check it out – http://www.kosherfrugal.com/2013/01/kosher-cooking-carnival-shvat-edition.html
    Thanks!

    Prag said:
    January 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    looks good on the picture, but I’m reluctant to try it without meat, was there anything in the taste that suggested meat or at least some sort of substitute?
    pragmatician@gmail.com

      challahmaidel responded:
      January 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Some people use ground soy meat which I personally would not use. To me, lentils are a great vegan/vegetarian alternative to soy and tofu, especially for this recipe. I suppose you can use spices that you would normally use in meat dishes to give it that meaty flavor.

      I have a meat version of this recipe:

      http://challahmaidel.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/shepherds-pie/

      I used ground turkey but you can use any ground lean meat.

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