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.
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 more 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, but if you have not tried going dairy free occasionally, you might be surprised how good it can be.
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
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.
Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
Servings: 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish (this halves easily for two main servings)
- 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams)Yukon gold potatoes
- 3/4 cup (170 grams) or more, vegan sour cream (note below) or regular light sour cream
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) Earth Balance (or butter)
- 1 1/2 (20 grams) tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 of a large onion, chopped fine
- 2 large ribs of celery, chopped fine
- 3 small carrots, chopped fine, about 3/4 cup (100 grams)
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) tomato paste
- 1 cup (240 ml) of water
- 1 teaspoon each (1/2 gram) dried basil, oregano and thyme
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1- 14.5 ounce (411 grams) canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup corn kernels (135 grams), thawed if frozen
- 1 cup of peas (135 grams), thawed if frozen
- 1 cup (130 grams) finely chopped raw baby green beans
- 1-15 ounce can (425 grams) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15 ounce can (425 grams) Cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
Heat oven to 350 degrees
- Make the mashed potatoes. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters or eights. Aim for the same size so they cook evenly. Place in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add 2 teaspoons of kosher or sea salt. Bring the potatoes to a simmer over medium heat and cook until very tender when a paring knife easily pierces the potatoes.
- Drain potatoes well and place back in the hot pan (heat off). Cover and allow to steam dry for a few minutes. Next, push the potatoes through a ricer. Alternatively use a hand masher or hand mixer. Add sour cream and butter and stir. Season with salt and pepper. The texture should be creamy and firm, not runny. Set aside.
- Next, assemble all of your prepped vegetables and ingredients in little bowls. I like to put mine on a tray. You”ll be more organized.
- In a medium saute or fry pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste, water, dried herbs, paprika, tomatoes, corn, peas and green beans. Cover and cook until the green beans are tender and some of the moisture has cooked down, a few minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and taste. Gently stir in the kidney and Cannellini beans. Distribute mixture between 4 – 10 ounce ramekins or a medium casserole dish. Swirl mashed potatoes over the top with a spoon or pipe mashed potatoes to cover the vegetable-bean mixture.
- Place the casserole (s) on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until hot or when a digital thermometer reads 160-165 degrees. It should take about 3o minutes. If the potatoes are not brown, bake under a to broiler just until browned. Serve immediately.
Note – You can prepare this a day or two ahead. They hold well in the refrigerator. Allow to stand at room temperature for an hour before baking. They are done when the internal temperature read 160-165 degrees with a digital thermometer.
Seasoning – to give this a Southwestern taste, used smoked paprika, smoked pepper and add some chili powder.
Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks information here
Follow Your Heart vegan sour cream (and I love the Vegenaise), information here
Nutrition information on kidney and Cannellini beans (white Italian kidney beans)
10 ounce white ramekins on Amazon
Thermoworks Thermapen, the best digital thermometer.
Half sheet rimmed baking pan, great to organize prep work on and for a thousand other uses
OXO Potato Ricer, on Amazon
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