Packed with vegetables and beans, then topped with creamy mashed potatoes, don’t tell the carnivores in your family this is meatless. They won’t miss the meat. Serve it as a comforting, casserole-style main dish for dinner or as a side dish to roast chicken.
Traditional Versus Vegetarian or Vegan
Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pie is made with a filling of lamb. This vegetarian version replaces the lamb with colorful, healthy vegetables – onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, green beans, corn, peas, and both red and white kidney beans. The vegetable filling is then topped with creamy mashed potatoes.
Of Potatoes, Dairy and Prep Work
For mashed potatoes I use Yukon Gold’s, not russets. And for fluffy textured potatoes, I use a tool called a ricer. For the creamy part, stir in sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (more tang), then add a little butter.
Another option for topping your Shepherds Pies, use whipped sweet potatoes instead of gold potatoes. They are a healthier option and beautiful color, not to mention nutritious. Basic recipe is here.
For a vegan version, use vegan sour cream by Follow Your Heart products and Earth Balance buttery vegan sticks in the mashed potatoes. I started using these products while cooking for dairy-free clients and loved the results. The taste is wonderful with a nice tang from the sour cream. You’ll never know its not regular dairy.
Of course regular dairy works fine. Do what works for you.
Knife Skills and Organization
There’s a bit of prep work for the vegetables which gives you a chance to practice your knife skills. Assemble all of your prepped vegetables and ingredients in little bowls. I like to put mine on a half-sheet tray before I start cooking the filling. Try it. You”ll be more organized.
Cook the Filling
Sauté the vegetables together, stir in the beans, then spoon the filling into individual or one large casserole dish. Spoon on or pipe the potatoes over the top. I pipe my potatoes for nice presentation, but you can simply spoon the potatoes on a swirl for a nice look
Bake and Serve
To serve, bake the dishes in the oven until the filling is hot. A few minutes under the broiler will brown the tops but be careful not to burn the potatoes. If you’d like, gently brush with a little olive oil, melted Earth Balance or butter mixed with a little granulated garlic for extra flavor before browning.
A note on dishes – I like to make individual Shepherd’s Pies. For a main dish serving size, use 10 ounce ramekins. For a side dish try the 6 ounce size. You can also use a variety of mini casseroles. It’s fun for everyone to get their own little dish.