15 March 2017

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie (with Vegan Substitutions)

I have to admit, that I'm used to making this pie with meat. However, since my wife can no longer have meat, I made the leap to the "other side" and made it using vegetables. Many recipes you find out there give the proportions for making just one pie, however, I feel if I'm going to go to the trouble of prepping all the veggies, I might as well make several pies instead of just one. The recipe that follows will make 3 (9-inch) pies; you can eat one now and then freeze the others for a later time. This recipe can also be easily converted to a Vegan recipe; I will provide the alternatives throughout. So, since you came here for a recipe and not a story on why I'm making it with vegetables, let's get on with the recipe.

photo of shepherd's pie
Interior of the pie
What you need:

For Potato Topping:
  • 1 bag of potatoes (10-pound bag. I used Russet potatoes) I told you, it will make more than one pie :)
  • 8 Oz's. low fat cream cheese
    • Vegan option:  Tofutti, Follow Your Heart (both made with soy), or GO Veggie!® (made with coconut oil and soy
  • 8 Oz's Buttermilk
    • Vegan option: You'll have to make your own... take 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar and add it to 1-cup of soy or almond milk; Stir and let it set for 5-10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine (1 stick)
    • Vegan option: Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 1 tsp salt to start. (Add more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper to start. (add more to taste)
  • Cheddar Cheese (optional)
    • Vegan option: Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, GO Veggie!® Cheddar Cheese Alternative, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheddar Cheese

For Veggie Portion:
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 8 carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or 1 tablespoon of minced)
  • 1 packet of mushrooms, about 8 Oz's (I used cremini)

  • 2 cups Lentils
  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 2 cups of frozen corn
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp Vegetarian or Vegan Worcestershire sauce (since the regular Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil (for sautéing veggies) 
  • Salt and pepper
Putting it Together:

For Potato Portion:
  • Peel and quarter potatoes and place in large pot
  • Add enough water to cover potatoes 
  • Add salt or other seasoning you like and boil until fork-tender (about 20-25 minutes)
  • Drain water and put potatoes back into pot
  • Mash potatoes with masher
  • Add salt, pepper, butter/margarine (or Vegan Substitute), cream cheese (or Vegan Substitute), and buttermilk (or Vegan Substitute)
  • Using a hand mixer, whip potatoes until they are nice and fluffy
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly
  • Cover and set aside until needed
For Veggie Portion:
  • Prep all veggies:
    • Dice onions
    • Dice celery
    • Peel and dice carrots  (small, restaurant-style, pieces)
    • Wash and chop mushrooms
  • In large pot, over medium heat, add olive oil
  • When oil is hot, add onions and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes) (be sure to season the onions with salt and pepper)
  • Add garlic, thyme, celery, carrots, and sauté an additional 15 minutes
  • Add mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and sauté and additional 5 minutes
  • Add lentils and broth
  • Cover pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft
  • Add tomato paste and stir in well
  • Add peas and corn
  • Mix in well
  • If the broth is still very runny, you have a few options:
    • You can drain the excess broth and then add a few ladles to each pie to keep them moist This is what I did...I know: lazy 😉 )
    • Drain the excess liquid; make a rue to thicken it; then add back to the veggies
Next, divide the veggies between the 3 pie pans and then top with potato mixture. You want to be sure to seal the veggies with the potatoes (kind of like you would do with a meringue). Top with cheese (optional). For pies you will freezing, do not add the cheese. Just Wrap with plastic wrap, foil and freeze.

If Eating Right Away:
  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Once heated, place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted
To Heat from Frozen:
  • Remove from freezer and place pie in cold oven
  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Once oven reaches temperature, bake for 35-60 minutes, or until heated through (times can vary depending on how deep the pie plate is. At the 35-minute mark, add cheese or cheese substitute to top (optional). Continue heating until pie is heated-through and the cheese is melted. 
To Thaw and then Heat:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Add cheese or cheese substitute to top (optional) and place thawed pie in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through
Close-up photo of the veggies
The yummy veggies :)

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