Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

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I love it when my mother comes to visit for so many reasons, and one of those is that we always wind up creating some new and delicious meal together which then becomes a family favorite. My mother recently watched a Rachael Ray show during which Rachael prepared a meatless shepherd’s pie. Armed with her excellent handwritten notes, we set out to recreate this dish for dinner last night.

The result was stunning–the ultimate comfort food! Alex and Zander were skeptical at first, but both wound up eating multiple portions. In fact, Alex dubbed it “addictive.” Between the four of us, we managed to polish off the entire dish last night, with no leftovers for today’s lunch (boooo–I was looking forward to those leftovers!).

Here is how we made it:

VEGAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

Ingredients:
NOTE: all quantities below are approximate

one small onion (diced) (we used several Tbsp of dried onion flakes instead, because Zander is on an onion strike)
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups of portobello or crimini mushrooms (diced) (we used criminis)
1 cup carrots (diced)
2 cups kale (we used frozen chopped kale, because we didn’t have any fresh kale on hand)
2-3 cups mushroom stock (depending on how many veggies you use and how soupy you want it)
8 small red potatoes (diced, not peeled)
1 head of cauliflour (diced)
Diaya vegan shredded cheese
Earth Balance vegan margarine
sea salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: Instead of a plain mashed potato topping, we decided to enhance the nutrient (and flavor) profile by doing a half/half mixture of potatoes and cauliflower. Yum! You could, of course, choose to only use potatoes if you like.

Instructions:

Boil the potatoes until almost done, then add the diced caulifower near the very end (because cauliflower takes less time to cook). Once the potatoes and cauliflower are tender, drain the water and mash them all together in a large pot using a potato masher. Season with vegan margarine, sea salt, and pepper as desired. Then set them aside for later.

NOTE: For this next part, I recommend using a cast iron skillet if you have one, because you can prep the bottom layer of veggies in the skillet on the stove top, then add the topping and pop the whole thing into the oven without dirtying multiple dishes–hooray!

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until clear, then add the mushrooms and carrots (we cheated and microwaved our carrots in water for about 2 minutes to soften them). Sauté for a bit longer, then add the mushroom stock and kale, reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes–or until all veggies are well-cooked. Add sea salt and pepper as desired.

Once the bottom layer of veggies is cooked and seasoned to your liking, simply turn off the stove-top, scoop the mashed “caulipots” on top, and spread everything out smoothly with the bottom of a large spoon. Add shredded cheese if you like (or not) and then transfer the cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe dish) into the oven.

Broil your shepherd’s pie for as long as it takes to melt the cheese and/or lightly brown the top (I recommend checking on it every 2-3 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn).

We enjoyed our shepherd’s pie with a side of black-eyed peas cooked only the way my mother can cook them. Dee-licious! I hope that you will like this, too! 🙂

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About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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