Being from a French-Canadian household, shepherd’s pie was pretty much a given at our place every few weeks, especially in winter weather. Of course, I was such a picky eater as a child that the whole concept freaked me out. Yep, even though I loved ground beef (once upon a time), mashed potatoes and corn, having them together? Well, it was a little too much for me.
As I grew older, of course, I outgrew that stage, thanks largely to the miracle of ketchup. By the time I was in university, shepherd’s pie was my favourite thing to get sent back to my dorm with. For me, it’s the ultimate in “makes me feel like I’m right at home with Mom and Dad!” food.
Of course, my Mom and Dad aren’t exactly the most vegan-friendly parents, so I’ve had to do my own rejigging of this recipe. Like a traditional shepherd’s pie, this contains rich and fluffy mashed potatoes and savoury protein crumbles, but unlike traditional shepherd’s pie, the base is made from high-fibre lentils and nutrient-rich mushrooms. I also added in sweet potatoes mixed with the regular potatoes, but you can go with one or the other depending on how traditional you like your shepherd’s pie.
Lastly, I finished off with a port gravy. We love adding port to gravy for a tiny bit of tanginess (and sweetness) to mix with the salty, rich gravy. If you don’t have port, a red wine will do, but if neither are an option for you I’d recommend adding a small shot of cranberry or grape juice or even a tablespoon of a nice, dark jam.
While this recipe isn’t one of my standard 30 minutes or less recipes, it comes together surprisingly quickly, especially if you have more than one set of hands in the kitchen. Enjoy!
Cozy shepherd’s pie with port gravy, makes an 8″x8″ pie
- Soy-free option*
- Sugar-free option**
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 55 minutes (40 minutes active)
* For a soy-free option, use coconut aminos instead of tamari, and use a soy-free vegan butter like soy-free Earth Balance or Culchered
** For a sugar-free option, sub the shot of port/wine with a shot of unsweetened cranberry or grape juice, or a tablespoon of unsweetened cranberry, strawberry, raspberry or grape jam/jelly.
- 2 fist-sized Yukon Gold potatoes and 2 fist-sized sweet potatoes (or four of each kind)
- 1/4 unsweetened plant-milk of your choice (plus more as needed)
- 2 tsp vegan butter
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils
- 2 cups mixed mushrooms (we used crimini, shiitake and portobello), roughly chopped (chop smaller depending on how much you like mushrooms)
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp (heaping) tomato paste
- 2 tsp low-sodium tamari/liquid aminos
- 1/2 large yellow onion (or one whole small)
- Two cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- One shot (2 tbsp) port or red wine
- 1 tbsp low-sodium tamari/liquid aminos
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1-2 tbsp flour of your choice (oat flour, sorghum flour, wheat flour, etc.)
- Preheat your oven to 390 degrees.
- Cook the lentils on the stovetop (at least two cups of water) until desired firmness (30 minutes)
- While the lentils are being cooked, cube and boil the potatoes until fork tender (about 15 minutes). Mash, adding the plant milk and vegan butter, and set aside.
- Sautée the mushrooms on medium-high. Once the mushrooms become tender and rich brown, add the cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, and tamari. Sautée for another five minutes until fragrant and evenly spiced.
- Drain the lentils and add to a large mixing bowl. Add in the mushroom mixture and mix to combine.
- Spread the mushroom mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ casserole dish. Add the potato mash on top, and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the pie is baking, start the gravy by sautéeing the onions in about 1 tbsp of olive oil for about five minutes until translucent and fragrant. Once the onions have browned, dust on the flour (the oil/onions will become pasty).
- Add in the vegetable broth and bring up to a very low simmer.
- Once simmering, add in tomato paste, port, tamari and dijon. Stir slightly until it begins to thicken slightly.
- Once it’s thick, reduce your heat and keep warm until ready to use.
Phew, I haven’t posted a recipe with that many steps in a long time. But believe me, friends, it’s worth it. Nothing makes me feel quite at home and comfortable quite like a yummy, warm shepherd’s pie.
What’s your favourite “at-home” recipe? Have you ever tried to veganize it? Let me know in the comments!