My parents were both British, raised during the depression and lived through WW2 so I learned from an early age the value of not wasting any food (or anything else for that matter). As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I was also raised as an omnivore and one of my favourite meals was shepherd’s pie. Back then it was made from any left-over meat from our Sunday roast dinner (beef, lamb or pork); always ground up with celery, onions and carrots in the left-over gravy and topped with mashed potatoes.
When I became vegetarian and later vegan, shepherd’s pie was something I missed but being the adventurer that I am, I created a vegan version which is always met with requests for seconds by vegans and omnivores alike. Most of my recipes reside in my head so when I transfer them to paper, I try my best to get the measurements right. Please feel free to add or subtract amounts and ingredients to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. The easiest way to get the following ingredients to the right texture is with a food processor but if you don’t have one, just finely chop them by hand.
6 large potatoes
1-3 cloves of garlic (can you tell I LOVE garlic?)
½ tsp course ground pepper
½ tsp of sea salt (or to taste)
8 oz of plain Daiya cream cheese style spread or ½ cup unsweetened cashew milk
½ tsp of smoked (or regular) paprika
1 cup chopped celery
2-5 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup of diced white turnip
1 cup diced unpeeled zucchini
1 cup of diced plum tomatoes (or 1 small can)
½ lb of asparagus chopped
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of chopped fennel
1 can of black beans, lentils, chickpeas or black eyed peas
3 Tbsp Avocado oil (or any other tasteless cooking oil)
2 tsp Montreal Steak spice
¼ cup of Braggs or soy sauce
¼ cup of water (reserved from cooking potatoes)
½ cup of dry vermouth or white wine (optional)
¼ cup of arrowroot flour or cornstarch
Peel and dice potatoes, cover with water and boil gently until tender. Mince the garlic. When potatoes are tender, drain, reserving ¼ cup of water for filling. Add minced garlic, salt, pepper, Daiya or cashew milk and beat all with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Save the paprika to sprinkle on top after it is spooned onto the vegetable mixture. Set aside.
In heavy pot, over medium heat add oil and stir fry onions, garlic, shallots, celery and fennel. Stir until onions are transparent. Turn off heat. Add the rest of the vegetables, spice and potato water. In a separate cup, to the Braggs and wine, dissolve the arrowroot flour and add to the vegetables, stirring well. You can gently heat this just until mixture begins to thicken. Spoon all of it into large oven proof casserole dish. Cover the top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
Heat oven to 350F or 175C. Place casserole dish onto cookie sheet (to prevent spills as this has a tendency to boil over) and bake on bottom shelf uncovered for 1 hour or slightly longer. The top should be golden brown with gravy bubbling up. Enjoy!
Susan Hollingshead is our resident vegan. Susan has been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for 3. She has researched both lifestyles extensively and is constantly exploring new recipes, add her own twist. She is a long time Spud customer, and now our very own resident vegan blogger!