Shepherd’s Pie, Plant-Based Style
By Nancy Eisman
Comfort and joy are priorities during the holiday season, offered in the gifts we give and the food we serve our family and friends. Comfort foods almost always conjure up good memories, provide a positive feeling of fullness, and help us slow down and regroup in a fast paced world.
Usually full of fat, carbs, and cholesterol-laden ingredients, health is not often considered when seeking out those favorite foods, but it absolutely can be and should be. For this month’s recipe, I picked something hearty and seasonal from Melissa’s “DYPs, The Perfect Everyday Potato Cookbook”
- Shepherd’s Pie (pgs. 176-177), a dish that makes many top comfort food lists. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie certainly fits the comfort food requirements of being filling, simple, warming, satisfying, and covered in a thick layer of mashed potatoes (lol).
It was easy to make a plant-based version of this classic casserole, omitting the meat, upgrading the vegetables, and turning up the umami volume with mushrooms, and both soy and teriyaki sauces. You can also boost the nutrition by adding cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or another white vegetable to the mashed potatoes, and up the protein content with some cooked lentils or your favorite legume, but as-is it’s still a vitamin and fiber rich, completely comforting, and delicious dish.
Have I mentioned this recipe is easy, e.g., cooking the potatoes while roasting the veggies, receptive to substitutions, and adaptable to expand or contract to feed any sized crowd? It’s also special enough to fill small ramekins, bring out your presentation “A” game, and serve as an entrée to those kooky plant-based guests (like me) at your holiday table. Whichever way your serve it, this Shepherd’s Pie is sure to bring comfort and joy to all, and to all a good night.
Makes 6 servings
5 cups DYPs
, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons Butter* or Olive oil
½ to ¾ cup Milk**
4 cups cubed Portobello Mushrooms
4 cups peeled and cubed Butternut Squash
*** or Sweet Potatoes
2½ cups trimmed and chopped Brussels Sprouts
2 cups peeled and chopped Cipolline Onions
Olive Oil for drizzling
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
¾ cup Vegetable or Mushroom Broth
1 tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce
1 tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1½ tablespoons Red Wine (optional)
1½ tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 tablespoons minced Fresh Parsley
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Place the DYPs in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the DYPs are fork tender. Drain the DYPs and return them to the saucepan. Add the butter or oil and milk and mash together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, place the mushrooms, squash or sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and caramelized. Remove from the oven.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the broth, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, and optional red wine and cook until heated through. Whisk in the flour to create a gravy. Stir in the thyme and turn off the heat.
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Add the roasted vegetables to the dish, and then cover with the gravy. Top it all with the mashed DYPs, using a fork to create small peaks. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through, and then place the dish under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until some of the peaks are golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley and smoked paprika. Let stand 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
*I used Earth Balance “butter”
**I used unsweetened almond milk
***I used Turban Squash